Barry Erskine, 73, on Feb. 14, of complications from dementia. Erskine hosted Sunday morning show “Let’s Talk Gardening” on CHQR Calgary for 30 years, also representing Calgary’s Ward 11 as a city councillor from 1992 until 2007. Erskine was one of the first councillors to raise environmental issues. He served three terms, with the last starting in 2004, winning his seat by acclamation twice. He also ran as independent candidate provincially in 2008 and took a run at the mayor’s chair in 2010. With horticulture his lifetime passion, Erskine was also involved with the Calgary Horticultural Society and Calgary Home & Garden Show. Erskine’s family plans to set up a fund in his name at the University of Calgary for continued research into brain diseases.
Ursula Thomas, 98, on Feb. 11. Thomas was a CBC pianist and accompanist, who appeared as “Paulie” on radio school broadcasts, designed to supplement classes. Thomas also taught singing, organ and piano at Jericho Hill School, a boarding school for the deaf and blind, where she founded and directed Canada’s first blind children’s choir, among other musical endeavours. In 2009, she received the Joyce O. Maguire Award from the British Columbia Choral Federation, in recognition of her long-term service as a choral accompanist.
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