From city slicker to country boy, Michael embraced life in Mountsberg

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

"You don't have to agree with me. I just want you to think about things."

That, in a nutshell, was M. Kurt Michael's philosophy of life, his wife Dawn Hewins said last week.

The Mountsberg resident, known by many as the author of the former Flamborough Review column, The View From My Side Of The Desk, died February 12 in hospital. He was 61.

Residents of Mountsberg and the wider Flamborough community continue to mourn his death while celebrating his life. They are quick to pay tribute to the man who showed a passion and dedication to the rural Flamborough community that he called home for the past 11 years.

"We really, really are going to miss him," said 88-year-old Roy Rintoul, a friend and neighbour who got to know Michael and many other men in the community through a remarkable group known simply as The Grandfathers Club or The Mountsberg Men. Rintoul founded the group about 11 years ago when he realized some people in the community didn't know their next door neighbours. It now attracts about 15 to 20 retired men to his home every two weeks. Among its members are Dr. Bill Kellington, Dick Wildeman and Rev. Mel Hillmer, former pastor of Mountsberg Baptist Church.

"Kurt was very much a part of that group," Rintoul said. "He was a tremendous guy. He liked to organize and get things moving, and keep things moving."

Being a former teacher and school administrator with the Peel Board of Education, Michael had exceptional organizational abilities that were quickly recognized by others.

"He could also type," Rintoul observed, another ability that stood him in good stead with The Grandfathers Club and came in handy when he submitted his weekly column to the Review.

Arend Kersten, executive director of the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and former editor of the Review, described Michael as "a man who had a great deal of respect for the opinion of others and wasn't reluctant to share his own." He regularly championed political accountability and accessibility in his column which had many loyal readers. He gave up his column in the fall of 2004 to devote more time to other interests.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1944, Michael was the only child of German parents, Aloisia and the late Kurt Michael. He immigrated to Toronto in 1951 and got his post-secondary education at Toronto Teachers' College, Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) and the University of Toronto. For more than 30 years, he worked for the Peel Board of Education.

He spent his early childhood in Toronto and later lived in Mississauga. He met his wife, Dawn, at Mohawk Raceway and a common interest in horses - "She raised them and I liked to bet on them occasionally," he once wrote - blossomed into romance. They were married in 1995 at Maple Bank Farm.

Michael willingly gave up his "city slicker" lifestyle and moved to the 100-acre farm on Campbellville Road where his wife's family has lived since the homestead was established in 1834.

Hewins, a descendant of one of the original settlers of Mountsberg, said Michael was "sort of a city boy coming to the country." But, "he fit in just right," she added.

He learned to appreciate the sense of community that exists in Mountsberg and looked forward to the camaraderie and coffee that always flowed at The Grandfathers Club. Michael was an animal lover. He enjoyed the company of Axel and Reggie, the two German Shepherds at Maple Bank Farm, as well as the farm's two indoor cats and nine strays. He also enjoyed Jaguar, the horse.

He had a strong affection for tigers, his wife said. He was concerned about their extinction and collected tiger memorabilia, including paintings, statues, books and stuffed toys. He recently started to collect clocks.

After retiring from writing his newspaper column, he put together a 44-page collection of short stories written by men who live in the area. It was appropriately titled, Men of Mountsberg: In Their Own Words.

Besides his wife and mother, Michael is survived by his son, Richard Michael, who traveled from Germany to attend his dad's funeral on February 16. Interment was in the Mountsberg Methodist Cemetery, where six generations of the Hewins family lie.

From city slicker to country boy, Michael embraced life in Mountsberg

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

"You don't have to agree with me. I just want you to think about things."

That, in a nutshell, was M. Kurt Michael's philosophy of life, his wife Dawn Hewins said last week.

The Mountsberg resident, known by many as the author of the former Flamborough Review column, The View From My Side Of The Desk, died February 12 in hospital. He was 61.

Residents of Mountsberg and the wider Flamborough community continue to mourn his death while celebrating his life. They are quick to pay tribute to the man who showed a passion and dedication to the rural Flamborough community that he called home for the past 11 years.

"We really, really are going to miss him," said 88-year-old Roy Rintoul, a friend and neighbour who got to know Michael and many other men in the community through a remarkable group known simply as The Grandfathers Club or The Mountsberg Men. Rintoul founded the group about 11 years ago when he realized some people in the community didn't know their next door neighbours. It now attracts about 15 to 20 retired men to his home every two weeks. Among its members are Dr. Bill Kellington, Dick Wildeman and Rev. Mel Hillmer, former pastor of Mountsberg Baptist Church.

"Kurt was very much a part of that group," Rintoul said. "He was a tremendous guy. He liked to organize and get things moving, and keep things moving."

Being a former teacher and school administrator with the Peel Board of Education, Michael had exceptional organizational abilities that were quickly recognized by others.

"He could also type," Rintoul observed, another ability that stood him in good stead with The Grandfathers Club and came in handy when he submitted his weekly column to the Review.

Arend Kersten, executive director of the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and former editor of the Review, described Michael as "a man who had a great deal of respect for the opinion of others and wasn't reluctant to share his own." He regularly championed political accountability and accessibility in his column which had many loyal readers. He gave up his column in the fall of 2004 to devote more time to other interests.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1944, Michael was the only child of German parents, Aloisia and the late Kurt Michael. He immigrated to Toronto in 1951 and got his post-secondary education at Toronto Teachers' College, Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) and the University of Toronto. For more than 30 years, he worked for the Peel Board of Education.

He spent his early childhood in Toronto and later lived in Mississauga. He met his wife, Dawn, at Mohawk Raceway and a common interest in horses - "She raised them and I liked to bet on them occasionally," he once wrote - blossomed into romance. They were married in 1995 at Maple Bank Farm.

Michael willingly gave up his "city slicker" lifestyle and moved to the 100-acre farm on Campbellville Road where his wife's family has lived since the homestead was established in 1834.

Hewins, a descendant of one of the original settlers of Mountsberg, said Michael was "sort of a city boy coming to the country." But, "he fit in just right," she added.

He learned to appreciate the sense of community that exists in Mountsberg and looked forward to the camaraderie and coffee that always flowed at The Grandfathers Club. Michael was an animal lover. He enjoyed the company of Axel and Reggie, the two German Shepherds at Maple Bank Farm, as well as the farm's two indoor cats and nine strays. He also enjoyed Jaguar, the horse.

He had a strong affection for tigers, his wife said. He was concerned about their extinction and collected tiger memorabilia, including paintings, statues, books and stuffed toys. He recently started to collect clocks.

After retiring from writing his newspaper column, he put together a 44-page collection of short stories written by men who live in the area. It was appropriately titled, Men of Mountsberg: In Their Own Words.

Besides his wife and mother, Michael is survived by his son, Richard Michael, who traveled from Germany to attend his dad's funeral on February 16. Interment was in the Mountsberg Methodist Cemetery, where six generations of the Hewins family lie.

From city slicker to country boy, Michael embraced life in Mountsberg

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

"You don't have to agree with me. I just want you to think about things."

That, in a nutshell, was M. Kurt Michael's philosophy of life, his wife Dawn Hewins said last week.

The Mountsberg resident, known by many as the author of the former Flamborough Review column, The View From My Side Of The Desk, died February 12 in hospital. He was 61.

Residents of Mountsberg and the wider Flamborough community continue to mourn his death while celebrating his life. They are quick to pay tribute to the man who showed a passion and dedication to the rural Flamborough community that he called home for the past 11 years.

"We really, really are going to miss him," said 88-year-old Roy Rintoul, a friend and neighbour who got to know Michael and many other men in the community through a remarkable group known simply as The Grandfathers Club or The Mountsberg Men. Rintoul founded the group about 11 years ago when he realized some people in the community didn't know their next door neighbours. It now attracts about 15 to 20 retired men to his home every two weeks. Among its members are Dr. Bill Kellington, Dick Wildeman and Rev. Mel Hillmer, former pastor of Mountsberg Baptist Church.

"Kurt was very much a part of that group," Rintoul said. "He was a tremendous guy. He liked to organize and get things moving, and keep things moving."

Being a former teacher and school administrator with the Peel Board of Education, Michael had exceptional organizational abilities that were quickly recognized by others.

"He could also type," Rintoul observed, another ability that stood him in good stead with The Grandfathers Club and came in handy when he submitted his weekly column to the Review.

Arend Kersten, executive director of the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and former editor of the Review, described Michael as "a man who had a great deal of respect for the opinion of others and wasn't reluctant to share his own." He regularly championed political accountability and accessibility in his column which had many loyal readers. He gave up his column in the fall of 2004 to devote more time to other interests.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1944, Michael was the only child of German parents, Aloisia and the late Kurt Michael. He immigrated to Toronto in 1951 and got his post-secondary education at Toronto Teachers' College, Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) and the University of Toronto. For more than 30 years, he worked for the Peel Board of Education.

He spent his early childhood in Toronto and later lived in Mississauga. He met his wife, Dawn, at Mohawk Raceway and a common interest in horses - "She raised them and I liked to bet on them occasionally," he once wrote - blossomed into romance. They were married in 1995 at Maple Bank Farm.

Michael willingly gave up his "city slicker" lifestyle and moved to the 100-acre farm on Campbellville Road where his wife's family has lived since the homestead was established in 1834.

Hewins, a descendant of one of the original settlers of Mountsberg, said Michael was "sort of a city boy coming to the country." But, "he fit in just right," she added.

He learned to appreciate the sense of community that exists in Mountsberg and looked forward to the camaraderie and coffee that always flowed at The Grandfathers Club. Michael was an animal lover. He enjoyed the company of Axel and Reggie, the two German Shepherds at Maple Bank Farm, as well as the farm's two indoor cats and nine strays. He also enjoyed Jaguar, the horse.

He had a strong affection for tigers, his wife said. He was concerned about their extinction and collected tiger memorabilia, including paintings, statues, books and stuffed toys. He recently started to collect clocks.

After retiring from writing his newspaper column, he put together a 44-page collection of short stories written by men who live in the area. It was appropriately titled, Men of Mountsberg: In Their Own Words.

Besides his wife and mother, Michael is survived by his son, Richard Michael, who traveled from Germany to attend his dad's funeral on February 16. Interment was in the Mountsberg Methodist Cemetery, where six generations of the Hewins family lie.