Great Canadians | Canadian Humanitarians Tribute


Canadian Humanitarians


Brief Foreword



Great Canadians | Canadian Humanitarians Tribute


There are a series of pictures and paragraphs which are sorely missed on this page, but because of the uncertainty about copyright. Some of the great names which should be mentioned are:
Henry Norman Behune : Canadian physician, medical innovator, and noted anti-fascist. A prominent Communist and veteran of the First World War, he wrote that wars were motivated by profits, not principles. Statues in his honor can be found in cities throughout China. Dr. Bethune effectively brought modern medicine to rural China and often treated sick villagers as much as wounded soldiers.
David Takayoshi Suzuki (born March 24, 1936) is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist.
Richard Marvin "Rick" Hansen (born 26 August 1957) in Port Alberni, British Columbia. He is a Canadian Paralympian, activist, and philanthropist for people with disabilities.


Great Canadians

Charlie James Wilson [aka Charlie, Champ, Papa, Poppa]

John Hartig Tribute to "The Champ":

This time next week, I will be 74 years old. Some of our seniors in the church still consider that young. Rod Stewart, who sings, “Forever Young”, has edged me out by one year, at the age of 75.

Marjorie and I went to Poppa’s celebration of life at the Tallman Funeral Home yesterday, on Saturday. He was 95. Poppa’s ashes were on a mantel in the Fireside Room, in two and a half litre paint cans. There was, of course, no paint in the cans, and I don’t think Poppa cared about the colour. He was a fixture at Granny’s Boot Antiques, husband to Madge, who ran the shop with daughter, Deb, who also managed the website. Sometimes Deb and I talked computers. I got to know them years ago when they had their original shop on the corner of Victoria Ave and Hwy. 8. Whenever it rained, and I was somewhat depressed, I took my camera over to the shop and they let me take photographs of combinations of their antiques, which lifted my spirits. Madge and Deb had an eye for arranging their old antiques just so. A real visual treat.

Poppa [Charles James Wilson] was in the Canadian Air Force between 1943 and 1946. 1946 was the year in which I was born. He and Madge Garbutt got married in 1948, tallying up a total of 71 years together. Poppa was a volunteer with Saint John’s Ambulance, a member of the Mason’s and Shriner’s. He loved fishing. He kept busy in his 80s and 90s sanding wood and painting pieces for the Grevpode Folk Art which was part of Granny’s Boot Antiques. I still remember him riding his bicycle only a decade ago up Victoria Ave towards the Rittenhouse Library.

When I die, I think I’d prefer a celebration of life like Poppa had. I don’t need a fancy urn; maybe, a glass jar from Costco, emptied of all the jelly beans. That would do. I don’t like the idea of being displayed in a coffin...too fancy and too costly. I also don’t like a procession of people.

I wrote a novel some years ago, where the photographer died, was cremated and his urn thrown over Ball’s Falls during a private ceremony of friends. You don’t apply for a park permit for something like that. Maybe it’s littering; maybe the fellow’s ashes should have been sprinkled over the falls without the urn being chucked in too. It’s the idea of a celebration of life among friends that really counts and not the fanciness of the container that the Cosmos wouldn’t care about

“You know,” said Symon. “I’d appreciate it if you accompanied my wife to the top of Ball’s Falls. I’ve always said I’d like to be sprinkled over the Falls and just become part of Nature back there. Wait until it’s a sunny day though. I hope we still get those in November. I hate rain.”
-- “Love and Faith Trilogy”, Bk Two
by John Hartig on Amazon and Kindle


Poppa's Photo Bio:
Tribute by Debbie and Madge Wilson




Great Canadians

Bette Jean Kalailieff made living in Port Colborne a real joy. She is an unsung hero whom people need to know about.
A real powerhouse in a small community!

Sadly, Bette died on November 6, 2019 at the age of 87. She gave years of her life as a volunteer to both the theatrical and sports activities in Port Colborne. She was a moving force in the Port Colborne Operatic Society and also in the town's girls and women's softball leagues. When she volunteered as business manager for the Port Colborne Operatic Society, she was, responsible for an endless number of things: hiring orchestras, renting costumes and even being part of the auditioning committee.

Bette’s interests were "eclectic" to say the least. She founded the girls’ softball league in the town as far back as 1960, becoming head coach of the Port Colborne Comettes, who went on to win the provincial championships in 1964, 1969, 1975 and 1988. Bette’s name was added to the Canada Softball Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Ontario Women’s Softball Hall of Fame in 2016. She was commissioner for Softball Canada from 1977 to 1985 and in 1985 was the first woman elected as Vice-President of Softball Canada. More locally, she is listed on the Welland Softball Wall of Fame.

Bette was editor of the Port Colborne News and covered the opening of the Portal Village Retirement Home years ago. She always said, she'd like to live there, and she did, sadly for only three months when she passed away. Bette and her husband, Ed, would have been married 69 years July 2nd, 2020.

Bette’s husband, Ed Kalailieff, is also a great volunteer in the community. He played viola for many years in Port Colborne’s annual operatic productions. Ed also plays viola in the Peninsula Orchestra, a group of amateur musicians who hold concerts in seniors’ homes and churches within the Niagara Region.

Bette Jean Kalailieff had what it takes to participate actively in local theatre and in sports, even achieving national status. She was a real contributor that makes it a joy to live in a small community like Port Colborne.

The Review - The Tribune
Nov. 13, 2019, article by Kris Dube, "Port Colborne loses key theatre + softball figure"




Great Canadians Peter Goehle is a real humanitarian. Why? Because he has seen a lot of life at the age of 81 where he knows that older people need something to keep busy. "I started playing hockey with people 25 years younger than me years ago," he says, "and I noticed that the older ones didn't enjoy the game as much any more." That's when Peter decided to help get a league going for seniors which he called "senior men's pond hockey."

There are two groups now going strong in the Nagara area. One in St. Cathzrines for 65 and older; and one in Niagara Falls for those 70 and older. Peter is a shaker and mover in this age group, and he is even thinking about the possibility of creating an 80+ age group. "After all, Vancouver has hockey for 90 year olds!" What he likes about hockey for seniors is that it is non-agressive but still quite active. "Goals are not important. We don't even keep score," he says.

Peter learned how to skate at the age of 21 after he came to Canada. He immigrated on July 30, 1956 to be exact, from Germany. He spent 10 days on The Arosa Star, the ship in which he crossed the Atlantic Ocean to come to Canada. Hockey didn't enter his vocabulary in those days. It was soccer, but in the late 50s, he got hooked on hockey, and mastered skating after being laughed at around the local outdoor rinks for being too clumbsy on skates. "Soon, they didn't laugh anymore," he recalls after he got better at it than the other guysl. He was an avid Maple Leafs fan in those days when names like Punch Imlach, Frank Mahovlich, Carl Brewer and Tim Horton were household names. "The player I admired the most," says Peter, "was Bobby Orr. I also saw the Rocket score his goal, number 544 before retirement." "In those days," he recalls, "you could buy the best seats at Maple Leaf Gardens for $4.50!"

Peter was born in Germany and about 4 years old when World War II broke out. He recalls the bombing raids over Frankfurt, both day and night. The Americans made their bombing raids during the day, and the British planes during the night. "In 1944," he recalled, "they'd shoot at anything that moved." He was put in charge of his siblings to get them into the cement bunkers when the planes flew overhead. "I'd have to grab some groceries too," he said, "and then get us kids to safety." He tells a story about how he lost a stick of butter on the way to the bunker, and turned back to get it when a bomb exploded right and left of him. "As a kid, in those days, it didn't disturb me a bit," he says. He remembers too an airplane streaming down on him just short of the woods where he was headed for safety. "I saw the face of the pilot," he recalls, "but it didn't matter that I was a kid...taka, taka, taka...the bullets chewed up the dirt around me before I ducked into the woods, but thank goodness the guns couldn't swivel, having to shoot straight from the wings. They missed me just two or three yards away."

Peter's opinion about war, about any war? "There are good guys and bad guys on either side. People on both sides do atrocities...but you don't shoot at kids!"

Well, Peter has a different life now in Canada. He is a true humanitarian, and he is doing something good for the seniors in the Niagara area, organizing senior pond hockey.

E-mail Peter Goehle

Personal Interview
at the Quadplex Arena
St. Catharines, Ontario


John Hartig Photo
Great CanadianTerrance Stanley "Terry" Fox (July 28, 1958 - June 28, 1981) was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. He, along with Rick Hansen, is hard to categorize because he was an athlete, a hero and a humanitarian. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$650 million has been raised in his name.

Fox was a distance runner and basketball player for his Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, high school and Simon Fraser University. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, though he continued to run using an artificial leg. He also played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. He hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada's 24 million people. He began with little fanfare from St. John's, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario; he made numerous public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his efforts to raise money. He was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

He was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman and was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.



Back To Top


Great Canadians Jim Estill pledges over $1 million for 50 refugee families. Estill is CEO of the Danby Appliance Company in Guelph, Ontario. He says, "If you have to ask, people will give. You just have to ask." He adds, "If you're going to sponsor one family of Syrian refugees, why not sponsor 50?"


Q and A with Jim Estill

Why are you going to do this?

In short, it's the right thing to do. You see what's going on, it's a crisis and we're Canadian. We should do the right thing.

Where did the idea come from?

It really was just seeing what was happening and seeing that things were so slow and that nothing was happening. It needed to be done so that's why I'm doing it.

Was it always your plan? Did you think 'I'm going to sponsor multiple families' or is this the sort of thing that snowballed?

Over a one- or two-week period you look at it and see this is world crisis that needs to be dealt with. I guess I didn't even think 50 families was that big of a deal. I mean statistically if you take the population of Guelph and take the population of Canada and figure out how many families you should take, I just figured we needed to do it. I didn't think it was as big a deal as everyone else thought it was.

Why did you want to sponsor so many families?

You look at the number of people who need help in this crisis, 50 is a drop in the bucket, it is almost none. It's completely absorbable in a city the size of Guelph. In a sense some things are actually easier to do with a group of 50 families than with one because if you go and arrange housing, well, one house might be appropriate for one family and not for another.

All I did was called local clergy, including Salvation Army, Lakeside Church, the Catholic church, Sister Christine's drop-in centre, the Muslim society and basically convened a meeting. We had one meeting and I said this is not about a bunch of meetings, this is, 'Will you be on board and back it?'





Back To Top


And Waiting in the Wings:

Mennonite Disaster Services [MDS]

Great Canadians | Canadian Humanitarians Tribute

Great Canadians