Don Obe was an award-winning contributor to the Canadian magazine industry as an editor, writer, teacher and mentor. As a faculty member at Ryerson University he taught and mentored many of Canada’s brightest journalists. One of those he mentored, also an award winning journalist, said, “Don was one of the great characters of modern Canadian journalism. He could be funny, biting, sweet, profane, hard-assed and kind, sometimes simultaneously.
He was, for decades, the kind of journalist about which movies are made: hard-drinking and irascible with a soft heart. He was an important mentor of mine, as a writer, editor and, especially, as a teacher. But do you know what really matters? I owe everything I know about the soul of journalism to him.”
Another award-winning journalist said of his mentor: “I still hear him in my head: ‘Magazine writing is an intellectual exercise: it involves a lot more thinking than anything else; if you can’t write better than other people talk, you’re in the wrong business. Style at the expense of clarity is a waste of words.’ But quoting his advice does nothing to capture his passion for journalism and writing, especially narrative non-fiction, or his love of sharing that passion.”
“Lots of people, including me, learned so much about teaching journalism from Don,” said Ryerson professor Tim Falconer. “He really was a mentor to so many journalists in this country and that’s quite a thing to say about someone.”
Tom and his brother Ray, known as “Click and Clack,” hosted National Public Radio’s Car Talk show and changed radio talk shows forever. Their off-the-cuff banter, interaction with callers, and ability to make fun of themselves became a model for dozens of radio personalities. Prior to their influence NPR radio was marked by formal, polite, and cautious talk.
Tom’s infectious laugh as he tried to deal with caller’s worries about their automobiles, made the show a hit with both car buffs and those who knew nothing about automobiles. “Tom actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”
Tom became everyone’s car mentor. One listener said, “I know nothing about cars, but when I was responsible for my very own, you and Ray helped me figure out what to listen to and how to communicate it to the person who could fix the problem. As a young woman with a car, you gave me the confidence to deal with others in the car world. You have always been like family to me. You were the crazy, yet helpful uncle that was able to give you that advice that nobody else could give. You have made me a better person, and I will always be grateful for that. I wish you peace and am sending all my love to your family. Thank you for always being there for me.”
Mademoiselle Souvestre founded the girls’ boarding school Allenswood, outside London, where her most famous pupil was Eleanor Roosevelt who went on to become one of the most respected women of the 20th century.
Eleanor’s early life was marked by an alcoholic father and a vain and distant mother (both of whom died before she was ten), and she was sent abroad to boarding school.
Mademoiselle Souvestre was the headmistress of the preparatory school to which young Eleanor was sent. Fortunately, Mademoiselle Souvestre’s goal for her students was to expand their minds and attain intellectual independence. The school used French in many classes. Eleanor turned out to be better prepared than most for Allenswood, due to extensive French tutoring prior to enrolling.
According to Elizabeth Pearce of MentorResources, it was during this period that Eleanor lost her shyness and acquired the self-confidence which would stand her so well in later life. Mademoiselle Souvestre mentored Eleanor, and they made field trips to Venice and Paris, with Eleanor making the arrangements. Mentoring introduced the teenager to the lifestyle of an independent woman. Eleanor always credited Souvestre with forming both her character and her intellectual outlook. The First Lady’s newspaper column on politics and social issues, My Day, was read daily by millions.
Author, researcher, and entrepreneur, Dr. Emoto’s passion was teaching his “Messages in Water.” He trained over 350 instructors from around the world to teach new generations about the truth and sacredness of water as he outlined in his book, Hidden Messages from Water and the Universe.
His followers and those he mentored believe their lives were changed personally and collectively by his pioneering research which they believe resulted in a wave of transformation, awakening and shift in collective consciousness around the planet.
Those he mentored believe he gave them a greater sense of themselves and an ability to create positive change by shifting their thoughts, words, emotions and intentions. Louise Hay said his work “gave me a new respect for water. I began blessing with love every glass of water I drank. Labels with positive words and affirmations soon appeared on my faucets, showerhead, garden watering cans, the toilets, every other water source I had, and all the many bottles of water I carried everywhere.”
His last words were “Arigatou”. (“Thank you” in Japanese), which in Japanese means to be grateful for our own existence.
Throughout his career, Seamus Heaney was a conscientious and inspiring teacher. He held teaching positions at Queen’s University Belfast, Carysfort College, Harvard University, U.C. Berkeley, and Oxford University. In addition to giving lectures all over the world, Mr. Heaney mentored now famous Irish poets, including Paul Muldoon (who said of his mentor: “he helped all of us develop our imaginative powers”), Ciaran Carson, and Medbh McGuckian. Known for his gentle, respectful personality and encouraging manner, it is no surprise that Heaney maintained lifelong friendships with many poets and students of all ages. Heaney was also a teacher to the countless readers who never met him but read his prose. Heaney’s own mentor was writer Thomas Flanagan (1923-2002), about whom he once said, “If I did something that was quick Tom would say, you’re better than that Seamus.”
Seamus Haney’s last words to his wife, were “Don’t be afraid.”
(Thanks to @UlfKirchdorfer for providing this tribute.)
While Dr. Basrur was Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, she witnessed the arrival of the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, and immediately moved into problem-solving mode. She worked three weeks straight after the first cases were discovered. She led the team that charted the SARS course, trying to build firewalls between the infected and those who were vulnerable to its path. Health workers were dying along with SARS patients.
As reported in the Globe and Mail, “a female co-worker remembers bumping into Dr. Basrur one day during the crisis as she emerged from a washroom. The co-worker told Dr. Basrur that she looked wonderful and the doctor responded by saying she felt tired. The co-worker said, ‘Sheela, you’re great. The whole city loves you and is counting on you. And this morning on the radio I heard the host of the morning show say that he knew it was okay to go out because the little doctor with the glasses said it was.’ Dr. Basrur laughed and hugged the woman in delight and went off to try and save more lives. Several years later, the co-worker e-mailed Dr. Basrur and asked if she remembered the incident. She said ‘yes, but I believe he said cute little famous doctor with the glasses.’”
Colleagues described Dr. Basrur as a mentor for clear communication. One public health official said Dr. Basrur’s gender, height, skin colour, and articulateness acted as a catalyst for her own choice of public health as a career.