W. J. L. Clark

I was just watching a trashy TV show feeling what an utter waste of time it was. So I thought I’d put my time to better use by posting about my father, who passed in 2003 and whose birthday is today, December 26th.

Dad was a great guy who was an outstanding teacher at Ryerson Polytechnic, which soon became Ryerson University. He taught and co-authored a textbook on marketing, a branch of business, consulted on how to bring Chargex (Now Visa) into Canada, and served as the Dean of Business at Ryerson. Before that he worked for a couple of major companies. This was before I was born, however, and I’m not sure about the names. Probably Cheesborough Ponds and Procter and Gamble.

Dad did very well in those companies but was stationed in Western Canada and then Nova Scotia and missed his old summer homestead at Georgian Bay. So he left the business world to teach at Ryerson, which is in Toronto, just about 100 miles away from the island at the Bay.

After retiring Dad did professional volunteer work with a variety of peoples and causes, from the First Nations of the far Canadian North to Eastern Europe, where he was trying to help out formerly communist-occupied Europeans who didn’t understand how to make a living with their newly found freedom. The old Iron Curtain had just fallen, you see, and Dad joined forces with CESO to try to teach the former communists how to create something of marketable value. I guess when a tyrant ruler metes out bread and water – at best – in extended food lines, it’s a huge shock when suddenly you have to figure out how to earn a living for yourself.

So that’s what Dad did.

This photo of him in Poland always makes me laugh. He looks a bit like a James Bond character but Dad was anything but. Dad was the most honest – bordering on naive – guy I ever knew. God bless him. I’m sure he’s very happy now. He led a decent, hardworking life, which gave his kids a firm example of how to make a good living without compromising the basic human values of honesty, integrity, and if necessary, putting your nose to the grindstone instead of wandering around, looking for handouts.