Gwen Hyne

October 20, 1936 - May 12, 2016


Barbara Gwendolyn (Hyne) Magee at the Farmers' Market August 13, 2011

Gwen Hyne, another child of Port Hope, was young when I was young. She was born two years before me and we went to different elementary schools, but I remember her at high school and from her job at her father's drugstore. She never heard of me till she stumbled on porthopehistory.com in 2004 and asked if I was a brother of the Phil Clayton she'd known at PHHS. We kept in touch after that and we'd meet when she and Doug came to town. Gwen's manner was warm, her disposition serene. She had confidence in her opinion and an unyielding determination when she wanted to get something done. She seemed able to recall all the good things that ever happened to her.

Sixty years after Gwen left town, she came back to live in Port Hope, and on April 7, 2014 moved into the Community Nursing Home on Hope Street, about two blocks from Bloomsgrove, the beloved Avenue where her life began. After only three days she was taken to the hospital in Cobourg and for some reason deprived of her blood-thinning medication. On April 17th, either in the ambulance on the way back to Hope Street, or shortly after arriving there, Gwen suffered a deep stroke that paralyzed the left side of her body, leaving her physically disabled and permanently bedridden.

She didn't lose the power of speech, was lucid, and had the use of her right arm throughout her ordeal. Though her short-term memory was affected, her long-term memory was retentive as ever. Gradually, over several months, she regained the ability to eat solid food and drink normal liquids, but never progressed beyond this point.

In December 2014 her left leg was amputated above the knee. She lay helpless thereafter, uncomplaining and outwardly cheerful, making plans for reunions that would never take place.
On May 4, 2016 she had another stroke which left her able to do little more than open her eyes.
On May 12th Gwen quietly passed away, freed from pain and the neglect of most of those who knew her, and from the indifference of old friends she thought she had. No rage against the dying of the light.

Gwen, I'm thankful that you let me get acquainted with you and Doug, and the late great and very amusing John Hozack. I wish we'd met years before. I cherish the talks we had, and prize the encouragement of this website you gave so generously.
There'll be no more trips to the chip truck for you and me, no more Saturday mornings at the Farmers' Market, no more reunions.
Goodbye my friend, knowing you was a pleasure and a privilege.


Gwen moved with her family to Ontario Street in 1939, she went to Toronto in 1955 to attend Ryerson University and stayed there for most of her life, but she never truly left 'The Avenue' till the day she died.
Her family had Gwen's ashes buried in the grave with her father in Union Cemetery, a most fitting place.

Gwen's death has cut the last physical tie of the Hyne family to Port Hope. The death of her father at age 42 was a blow to the town and its prospects, and a tragedy for Gwen. Her dying has gone unnoticed, unlike the death of Bruce Hyne for who's funeral the local merchants closed their doors for two hours. I haven't heard of anything like that happening here before or since.

from Gwen's memories of her time at PHHS 2005
My father, E. Bruce Hyne (Hyne's Pharmacy 68 Walton Street), attended PHHS in its early years, classmate of Charles Haultain, father of Barbara, who became a classmate of mine. My dad died in 1947 at age 42 and I never knew he was on the PHHS newspaper until the 100th Anniversary information came out and I received a photo of him and the others of the staff. We just lost my mom, almost 93, in May 2001.

I have very fond memories of PHHS in the '50s for I spent most of my time with school activities, French Club, Girls' Athletics, Basketball, Cheerleading, School Newspaper and Yearbook, Student Council President in 4th Year (Grade 12) and giving the farewell address to Mr Brackenbury when he retired as Principal and Mr Bigelow took over. I know Jim Money [click here] says PJ wasn't liked but I always found him to be understanding, firm and fair, like the father I didn't have for long. I was also fond of Mr Hogle and did take Latin and English from him. I took Spanish with Miss Foy as well as Grade 9 English and art... all of which helped me in later activities.

I ran many school dances, most remembered one was the Blue Moon Ball, held in the upper room that used to house the typing room and business classes of Miss Frances O'Brien. We had to clear the room of all that equipment before even starting to decorate. We had booked Jack Bongard and his Band for the event and he played great dance music of the '40s and '50s. We had all the food set up in the Gym and it was a night to remember for all those who had spent the magnificent sum of $15.00 for tickets.

Mr Mumby was another of my favourite teachers, although I was terrible in Geometry, and Trig was worse. He managed to pull me through Algebra and let me get my Grade 12 Diploma. That allowed me to go on to the wonderful Grade 13 year where we were all huddled in the Library for home room with Mr John Hill as our leader. He did have a variety of tweed coats with leather patches and made English something you really wanted to study, especially at 9:00 a.m. most days.

We were the last Class to graduate from the Old School and there were about 9 or 10 of us as I remember. Liz Ross was a special friend, Marg Dayman, Barb Haultain, Shirley Pointer, Bruce Ballett, Gord Plummer, Danny Dotzko, Larry Scully, Bob Richards and Phil Clayton were part of a very special group.


Picture taken from the hill in front of the PHHS, Pine Street 1955
cursor over a face

In those days, only a few had TV and Steve Allen was just beginning his Tonight show. We would all go to Richards' house to watch. Most of us had been together in school since Grade 1 with Myrtle Long at Dr Powers Public School.

I went to Ryerson in '55 and Graduated in '58 in Furniture and Interior Design. Doug and I married in '59 , had Kris in '61 and Kevin in '66. I went to work in Hockey for the MTHL when Kris was playing and stayed for 21 years. I am currently serving in my fourth year as a Director on the Board of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. That takes care of the winter activities for I work games days at St. Michael's for the Ontario Hockey League Majors and I have a small catering and craft business as well.

I do a lot of folk art painting for the craft shows and have been going to the Farmers' Market in Port Hope with items to sell. We have Summer Festival tickets for the Capitol and do the market whenever we have Saturday tickets. Lots to keep us on the go. Will be helping with the Reunion plans and sure hope to find and meet with some of those who were around when I went to PHHS.

from My Port Hope Remembered 2007
The date of August 31st has just recently brought to mind one of my favourite 'love stories.'
That day marked what would have been my folks 75th Wedding Anniversary... there was a total eclipse of the sun that day in 1932, and it was so hot that Mum had to get ready in the basement of their High Park house. My folks were each from a small community, E. Bruce, an only child, born in Port Hope, to John and Laura (Johns) Hyne and Marion A., a twin to Mildred G., born to Joseph and Mary (Branch) Vansickle in Havelock. A Port Hope Sanitary Moulder, a seamstress, a CPR Trainman and a teacher. Bruce and Marion grew into young adults and met at a Young Peoples' Convention in Smith's Falls. They kept in touch via letters and each moved to Toronto for further education.

Dad finished at PHHS in the mid '20s and went to Ontario Pharmacy College, and Mum and her twin went to Shaw's Business & Secretarial School. Upon completion of Pharmacy, Dad had to serve an apprenticeship, which he did with Liggett's Pharmacy chain and mother went to work for Sunoco Oil and then Mathers and Haldenby, Architects. All the while, planning to set up a business in Port Hope as soon as money and timing worked out.

It was about that time that my Grandpa Hyne died and that may have forced the decision to return to Port Hope. They bought the building at 68 Walton Street in Port Hope and began working to make it into 'Hyne's Pharmacy' (now Watson's Drugs). During these early years, they lived in the Somerville House on Walton Street, just west of the Burnham House at Pine Street. By 1936 they moved to 'The Avenue'... so called by all, since it was the only one in town. Now you know it as Bloomsgrove Avenue. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it. However, they rented a house [number 25] from Margery and Brodie Thompson of Thompson Shoes, a fellow merchant and a neighbour, just two doors away, on The Avenue. The Pharmacy was doing as well as could be expected in the '30s and I arrived in October of that year. I was so privileged to be raised with the kids on that street and several are still my best friends today, even though I have been gone from Port Hope since 1955.

Across from our house lived the Palmers, George and Vivien, longtime Port Hope residents, with three children, Betty, Patsy and Douglas. Palmer's Dry goods was just down Walton from the Pharmacy, before you got to Thompson's Shoes. Next door to Palmers were the Lents, Abbott and Helen, transplanted from Belleville by a bank transfer. They had Owen and Elaine. On Palmers' other side, lived Jim and Margery Moore with John and June. Mr Moore was in jewelry and she was a nurse. A few doors up resided the Trawin Clan, Harriet, Norma and Bob and across from them, the Welsh family with their cousin, Lynne. Past the Lent house were George and May Knight with Irene (who became a teacher at PHHS on Pine Street, brother Teddy came along later)and next to them, Fred and Emma O'Neill with the twins, Betty and Peggy and brother Kenneth. Mr O'Neill was also in the banking business... maybe not so good in those years.

Anyway, with about 16 kids of all ages in those few houses, you know we had a good time. I was the baby and always had someone to play with or look after me. Now remember, there was no TV, a few radios, not so many cars as to make the street too busy and lots of imagination to go around. Of course we had the usual kids' illnesses; measles, mumps, chickenpox, which we shared and the winters of sleds and snowball fights across the street. We had trikes and bikes and skinned knees in the summer and I was allowed to play on the veranda and watch as the others played hide-and-seek and kick-the-can during warm spring and summer evenings.

[In talking about a picture taken on The Avenue long ago, Gwen once told me: That winter outfit was a dreadful salmon-pink colour with leggings and hat matching (no wonder I hate pink and never wear it or buy anything that colour). The white bunny muff was nice tho' and of course, the regular doll in arms. Owen was a great stand-in big brother and Elaine [his sister] was generous in sharing him. His outfit for winter was dark brown, I think, and the breeches were supposed to be warm. Doug had those too. Lots of snow in those days of winters on the Avenue. We are in front of 25 Bloomsgrove which was owned by Thompsons but rented to us.]

By the time I was three, my folks had collaborated to build the house of their dreams on a lot on Ontario Street. They had purchased the lot sometime earlier from Mrs Wragg, a widow who no longer needed the large garden she had and was willing to have us as neighbours. The house plans were mostly Mum's ideas (remember, she had worked for an architect) so the layout was her idea, but the use of the latest in materials (quite gutsy, considering the times) were from Dad, with lots of advice and input from the chosen builder, Thomas Garnett and Sons, who did the construction. George and Flossie Garnett lived a few doors north and on the opposite side of Ontario where it met Ellen Street. George was the on-site construction man and oversaw all the details.

I found the working plans for that house when clearing up Mum's home in Florida a few years back and still have a look at them once in a while. Consider how radical it was to have a second washroom on the main floor, and beside it a 'Cloak' room for coats and boots, umbrellas, etc. We had a 'breakfast nook' with built-in benches and a made-to-order table. There was a side entrance with a milk box and an indoor place to hang your laundry and then push it outside to dry in cold weather. All the woodwork was 'Gumwood', quite a beautiful open-grained wood, which would never need varnish or any other finish.

There was a 'Cedar' Closet in one of the four bedrooms, to store winter woolen garments during the moth season, a balcony across the back of the house, over a sun porch, and we had a built in linen closet with drawers and shelves which was a marvel of storage even by today's standards. There was a ladder in another bedroom closet which one could climb to lift a part of the ceiling up and view the attic. No floor but rafters with insulation and pieces of plywood which allowed for storage of Christmas decorations, etc.

Hours of thought and planning went into that house and there were no magazines or TV shows to give constant advice. I marvel at all the 'extras' that were actually incorporated that long ago. We moved in on November 30th, 1939 and it was warm enough for the movers to just be in shirt sleeves. It snowed the very next day and we had a wonderful white Christmas to look forward to in our new house at 104.

My folks loved the house and so did I and we three shared it until 1942 when baby Virginia Ruth came along to join the family as my birthday present that October.

Thanks for the ramble through the past. I feel as though I just walked in the front door and toured the house of my childhood. Do you think my choice of Ryerson's Furniture and Interior Design Class after leaving PHHS might have been influenced by the memory for detail with which I have been blessed?

To be continued...  [but it never was.]

Bruce Hyne and Marion (Vansickle) Hyne in Quebec City 1939, and Gwen as I remember her at the old Port Hope High School



from The Evening Guide Thursday May 15, 1947
DEATH
Suddenly at the Port Hope Hospital on Thursday, May 15th, 1947, Edward Bruce Hyne, beloved husband of Marion Aileen Vansickle, aged 42 years.
Resting at the family residence 104 Ontario street. Funeral service in the United Church on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Interment Union Cemetery. The casket will be open in the Church from 1:30 until time of service.

from The Evening Guide Thursday May 15, 1947
SUDDEN DEATH OF BRUCE HYNE THIS MORNING IS SEVERE SHOCK
The entire community were shocked today to learn of the sudden death early this morning of Mr E Bruce Hyne, well-known citizen and druggist.
In the prime of life, already with a successful business career to his credit and a high place in the esteem of his fellow-citizens, Mr Hyne apparently had recovered his health and had resumed some of the public responsibilities he had held in the life of the town.
Last evening he is understood to have had a brief outing in the country and returned to his home at 104 Ontario Street. Later in the evening he felt ill, medical attention was called, and he was removed to the Port Hope General Hospital. There he failed to rally and died at two o'clock this morning.

For some time, commencing about a year ago, Mr Hyne received medical attendance and was under rigid examination both here and in Toronto Hospitals. After prolonged treatment he was discharged and gradually resumed his business life. During this time he withdrew from his post as Chairman of the Merchants' Division of the Board of Trade and from other responsibilities in the Lions Club, of which a few years ago he had been president, and from other connections. These he had recently resumed. Last Sunday he took part with Mrs Hyne in the ceremony of baptism of his infant daughter, at the United Church, of which he was a member.

The late Bruce Hyne was born in Port Hope 42 years ago, the son of the late Mr and Mrs John Hyne. The family lived for many years at 79 Charles Street. The home was sold only a fortnight ago following the death of Mr Hyne's mother early in December last.

Mr Hyne grew to manhood here, passing through the Port Hope schools and later attending the Ontario School of Pharmacy, from which he graduated in 1929. For a time he was in drug work in Toronto, but opened his own store here about 13 years ago [In his younger days he worked at Watson's drug store, which recently closed after 133 years as a family business]. Since that time he has been one of the most progressive of the town's young business men, taking part in many movements and organizations with marked public spirit. He was active in the Board of Trade, the Lions Club, and was a Past Master of Hope Lodge No. 114, A.F. & A.M.

Mr Hyne is survived by his wife, the former Marion Vansickle of Toronto, and three small children, Gwendolyn, aged 11, Virginia aged 4, and Catherine aged about one year.

from The Evening Guide Monday May 19, 1947
BUSINESS AT STANDSTILL AS COMMUNITY TRIBUTE
MASONS, LIONS ATTEND
The final tribute to the memory of one of Port Hope's most popular and esteemed young business leaders, the late Edward Bruce Hyne, on Saturday was attended by the complete cessation of business activities in the town, all retail establishments being closed for two hours while the burial rites were in progress.
Since his sudden death early Thursday morning the casket had rested at Mr Hyne's late residence on Ontario Street, where a remarkable tribute was in evidence in the form of banks of floral pieces.
The service Saturday afternoon at the United Church, where Mr Hyne had been baptised and had continued as a member, was in charge of the minister, Rev J W Gordon. It brought an attendance which filled the main auditorium, composed of men, women and children of all ages and classes, including Mr Hyne's brother druggists, the mayor and municipal council and Board of Trade officials.

Masons, Lions
An imposing delegation of members of Hope Lodge No. 114, A. F. & A. M. of which the deceased was a member and a Past Grand Master, attended, accompanied by many visiting brethren of Ontario Lodge No. 26, A. F. & A. M.
Also attending in a body was the entire membership of Port Hope Lions Club, of which Mr Hyne was an active member and a Past-President. An impressive sight indeed came as the service closed when the Masonic brethren lined up at the doorway and the Lions Club members, acting as flower bearers for a man who had been friend and leader among them, stood respectfully with their tributes across the rear of the auditorium as the casket was removed.
In his appreciation of the departed, Rev Mr Gordon recounted simply the development of an active young life from childhood to the position of influence and leadership which Mr Hyne had attained. The minister spoke, too, of his more intimate family affairs and of his devoted attention to his mother only recently deceased.
At the graveside in Union Cemetery the service was Masonic, with Mr Arthur Mark, Hope Lodge Secretary, reciting the solemn burial ritual.
The pall-bearers were Messrs George Palmer, Dr Douglas Walden, Brodie Thompson, Don McFarlane, Garnett Fitzsimmons and Thomas N Rutherford.

Appreciation
In the course of his remarks at the impressive service, Rev Mr Gordon spoke of the tragic summoning of a close friend to so many, of Mr Hyne's long fight to regain his health, of the apparent improvement and the "characteristic courage with which he slowly once more assumed many of the activities and responsibilities through which he had made such a notable contribution to the welfare of his native town."

Describing Mr Hyne's last day as typical of his life, the speaker continued:
"Here in this town he was born. In this church he was baptized. Here he went to Sunday School and here he was an active worker especially among boys until the call of his profession took him to college and apprenticeship in Toronto.

"To his own town he returned to engage in business and to make notable contribution to various forms of community welfare. He had great executive ability and he gave to every cause which enlisted his sympathy and interest that remarkable organizing drive and clear understanding judgment which inspired confidence and respect in all who worked with him.
"His willingness to undertake difficult perplexing tasks often led to responsibilities which the rest of us only too willingly allowed him to carry, but his great courage, independence of spirit, careful judgment and the remarkable impetus which he gave to every cause with which he was associated invariably ended with the achievement of satisfying success. Where he led, others gladly followed with confidence.
"Surely there is some lesson here for us all. Surely there is something there for us to learn. What has happened to our brother can happen to us. You know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh. Let us walk humbly in the presence of God and follow reverently and with contrition and obedience in the way Our Master and Lord Jesus Christ walked when here upon earth."

Among those from out of town attending the funeral of the late E Bruce Hyne were: Mr Stuart Ellis of Collingwood, formerly of Port Hope; Mr and Mrs Donald McFarlane, Mr T N Rutherford, Mr D Wright, Mr Stan Pearson, Mrs Lloyd Peacock, Dr and Mrs Herbert Hill, Mr N A Current, Miss Viviene Philp, Miss Marjory Cline, Mrs J C Vansickle, Mr and Mrs S D Kennedy, all of Toronto. Mr and Mrs Nichols, Mrs R Mortimer, Mrs E Hayes, Mr and Mrs J R Moore, all of Peterborough; Mr and Mrs Hugh Coleman, Mrs Meadows, of Oshawa; Mrs Latimer of Belleville. Also many classmates of the '29 Class in Pharmacy.



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