David T. Nicholson R.I.P.

Written by  //  April 27, 2018  //  Absent Friends, Wednesday Nights, Wednesday Nights Meta  //  Comments Off on David T. Nicholson R.I.P.

MONTREAL, QUE.: October 27, 2010– in Montreal Wednesday October 27, 2010. (THE GAZETTE/Robert J. Galbraith).

9 April
Dear Friends,
David died peacefully on Sunday night after being admitted to emergency in late afternoon with a very high fever and very low blood pressure. At the hospital he was comatose and did not respond to my presence, but he was not in pain.
He did not suffer and I am grateful that he did not have a long slow descent into dementia.
We were so fortunate that he lived on a plateau of Alzheimer’s for a very long time.
He broke his hip in February and was successfully operated on. Recently, as I could not give him the professional 24/7 care that he needed, he went to a long-term care facility for physio, but he really only wanted to come home.
Fiona spent a wonderful evening with him last Wednesday and I was with him on Saturday evening for a quiet couple of hours.
The doctors believe he was felled by C. difficile.
His brain is to be donated to the newly-established brain bank http://publications.mcgill.ca/reporter/2018/01/canadian-brain-bank-network-to-advance-research-on-alzheimers-disease/  which is led by our good friend and David’s doctor, Howard Chertkow.

David Taylor Nicholson
March 27, 1932 – April 8, 2018
RCAF Pilot Instructor, Stock broker, technophile, gifted photographer and video editor, webmaster – above all, Chairman for over 35 years of the storied Wednesday Night Salon – David defies description. He was a one-off event. Creative, insatiably curious, stubbornly innovative, constantly evolving in his thinking, loyal to his friends and champion of their causes. Incurably politically incorrect, he was the quintessential non-conformist who loved tradition.
Born in Montreal, the only son of Mary Taylor and David George Nicholson, he attended Sedbergh School and Lower Canada College before joining the RCAF. After 8 years of service, he returned to Montreal which was his home forever after.
David leaves his wife, Diana Thébaud Nicholson and their children, Fiona Nicholson of Calgary, Marc Thébaud Nicholson (Jean Low) of Singapore and their children Maya and Tebo.; James (Jamie) of Vancouver and David of Whistler BC, stepdaughter Jeannette Whitton of Vancouver and her children Joelle and Ryan. Friends of all ages and around the globe join them in cherishing his memory.
Thanks to the entire orthopedics team of the Jewish General’s C-8, and heartfelt appreciation for the devoted care given over many years by Dr. Howard Chertkow and his amazing research team at the JGH Memory Clinic. Special thanks to Beth Canapi for looking after David and Diana so well.
A celebration of David’s life followed by a reception will be held at 3pm on Friday, April 27th, 2018, at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex/Complexe funéraire Mont-Royal , 1297 Chemin de la Forêt, Outremont, QC, H2V 2P9, 514-279-6540.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Howard Chertkow Alzheimer Research Foundation c/o the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
Montreal Gazette 21 April 2018

A Man for all reasons

Curious, creative and erudite, he cut an elegant figure. Sporting, as he often did, a red jacket and his trademark ascot, he remained a dignified presence and gracious host even after his mind began to falter and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
He died on April 9, twelve days after his 86th birthday.
“He was very generous, very well connected, a kind of multi-talented guy,” said family friend former Senator and McGill University Chancellor Michael Meighen, “He did well as a stockbroker. He and his wife were certainly a power couple and he was into computer science as well as an excellent photographer.”
David Taylor Traill Nicholson, a chartered accountant’s son, was born in Montreal March 27, 1932. His parents divorced when he was still a child and his mother shipped him off to Sedbergh School, a Spartan boys boarding school in Montebello and then to Lower Canada College. Ron Robertson., Canada’s former ambassador to Finland, a family friend since childhood recalled David’s nickname as a boy was “lizard,” because of his ability to slip out of difficult situations. “He was extremely inventive, extremely creative. The basement in his house on Rosemount Ave. was the most amazing space. It had thunder and lightning, a river, a waterfall and rain. It was an extraordinary, playful and inventive space.”
When David was 18 he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he became commander of the training school for NATO Pilots. There he expanded his horizons and developed his life-long interest in international affairs. He left the air force and flew as a commercial pilot with Trans Canada Airlines. In 1960 Nicholson joined Greenshields as a stock broker where he became a portfolio manager who proved to be so successful he wrote an investment advice column for the Gazette and went on to become one of the prime movers behind the founding of the options market at the Montreal Stock Exchange. More

See also David T. Nicholson R.I.P. – Messages

The Venerable David Oliver
David Nicholson
First, I was privileged to attend a few Wednesday night salons. Then I became a regular. Eventually, I ended up with a nickname, as typical with David, way over the top. “Now, we’ll hear from “God”. Finally, I became a friend. I had promised that I would say some words in the event of David’s death. I am not in the country, this Friday, but I send you all my love.
The obituary covers many of the delightful and sometimes infuriating facets of David’s life and personality. I’d like to try to take a single tack at sailing to the centre of this man I knew and grew to love.
How did David and Diana do it? How did they create this thing called Wednesday night? How did it become for so many the place for really interesting discussion — not free-flowing, mind you, David in his prime would bark at anyone who presumed to jump in without a nod from him. Yet Discussion it was, sometimes even discourse. First of all, there was a hierarchy. Awarded unilaterally by David. Your words or your position won you the right to be heard. If you were important, gorgeous, or had the knack of making comments that enhanced the conversation, then David would get to you and give you the nod.
Outrageous, you say, undemocratic, not Robert’s Rules of Order. Yet it worked. How many times do you return from an evening where someone held the floor and went on until others drifted away and tuned out? David watched his group and made sure that it was never boring. Someone went on too long, David would bring in another point of view: “Ambassador, would you speak to this point?” a well-versed academic from Greece might be asked to intervene. “Give us your perspective on this issue.”
Using video clips to start topics, the world’s top stories, the financial markets, or something local that touched one of the regulars’ interests or achievements. David would work for at least a day to ensure that topics were interesting launched with a particular zing.
Over the years, Diana has taken the lead more and more, but it was the combination of her kindness and generosity and his brash harshness that kept Wednesday nights the place you wanted to be.
A legendary man created a legendary salon. (With massive contributions from Diana and many others.)
In the process we saw a mind active, alert, with a desire to know and understand the world and to share that knowledge with others by creating an unique 20th century Canadian contribution to the world of the salon.
Diana’s father was a man of the sea, so you will forgive me if I return to my role as clergy within the Wednesday Night family and end with this prayer.
Blessed are all thy saints, O God and King, who have travelled over the tempestuous sea of this mortal life, and have made the harbour of peace and felicity. Watch over us, who are still in our dangerous voyage; and remember such as lie exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations. Frail is our vessel and the ocean is wide; but as in thy mercy thou has set our course, so steer the vessel of our life toward the everlasting shore of peace and felicity, and bring us at length to the quiet haven of our heart’s desire, where thou O our God, are blessed, and livest and reignest for evermore.
Adieu, David, mon ami!

Krystyne Romer: What to write about David ?
In almost fifty years of friendship – a lifetime – I can only say that I am happy to have known him.
We shared some moments of our youth – our first drink at the Maritime Bar in the Ritz in Montreal -with his white dog at our feet !
That day he met Dee … he was strolling on Sherbrooke street, and I introduced them.
And later, a few Parisian dinners where “carré d’agneau” was his favourite, followed by a soufflé au Grand Marnier … it was my favourite bistrot and the French waiter was curious about this Monsieur, anglais, “très chic” …
David, always stylish, always elegant – both in dress but also in his slightly ‘nonchalant’ demeanour, reminded me that he could have been a Romanov at another time in history.
He was warm, and friendly, and always interested in what others were up to – at the same time, he was an early internet ‘buzz head’ – tucked away in his small office, where he was cocooned in multiple wires and devices that I had never seen or heard of, much less could understand.
To this day I feel that he put me on Google – who else would know how to enter that internet space?
In the basement playroom at 33 Rosemount, I think he introduced me to my first “water bed” where we swayed or swished around in front of a huge screen, on which he projected undetected conversations at various sixties parties ! (our social spy?…)
David was unique, a true original, and I am happy that I saw him last autumn, ensconced in his corner armchair, like the gentleman in some Crown teleplay, asking me about the Mayan pyramids, or wanting to know how long it took to fly a single engine Cessna to Mexico … I loved him.

 Don Johnston To Dee, Fiona and Marc, and the extended family and friends, let me convey our condolences and sad thoughts to all of you.
The published obituary of David was such a pleasure to read as it so well captured the David I had known since becoming a neighbor in the Four Winds apartments on Ridgewood in the late 1960s. It in part read:
“Pilot instructor, stockbroker, technophile, gifted photographer and video editor, webmaster above all, Chairman for over 35 years of the storied Wednesday Night Salon David defies description. He was a one-off event. Creative, insatiably curious, stubbornly innovative, constantly evolving in his thinking, loyal to his friends and champion of their causes.”
I knew him first as a pilot but he was already a Hi Fi technophile producing ranges of sounds and accompanying ambience far beyond anything I could hope to achieve with my simple equipment and primitive skill set.
He was also generous with his time and expertise and frequently would open his door to permit some of my guests to marvel at what he could accomplish.
I seem to recall that before becoming a stockbroker he was a pilot with Quebec Air where I had the privilege of flying with him in command.
The Wednesday Night Salons is an example of that creativity complemented by curiosity and evolving thinking on important economic and social challenges, and he and Dee together found much fertile ground for stimulating exchanges amongst informed friends, acquaintances and experts on current controversial issues.
I was able to participate in numerous Wednesday salons before prolonged absences due to political duties as the MP for St Henri Westmount, then President of the Liberal Party of Canada and finally as Secretary General of the OECD based in Paris. However, I continued to receive positive feedback from friends like Kimon Valaskakis and Eric McConachie, both of whom have sadly left us.
Keeping the Wednesday Salon Flame alive all those years is a remarkable accomplishment of the Nicholson Team.
As the French would say, David was truly an “original” who will be missed by so many whom he touched in his various pursuits.
With sadness but with wonderful far reaching memories

Clare (Schapiro): Dear Diana, Fiona & Marc,
On this 27th day of April 2018, one month following David’s Birthday, and the day of the celebration of his incredible life, I send you my thoughts, and my love [from Singapore]……
My first vivid memory of David was in the orchestra pit of Expo Theatre in 1979 during the dress rehearsals of Children’s Creations’ (CC) inaugural production of Les Pensées des Jeunes/Young Dreams featuring over 400 kids. He moved about quickly, stealthily totally focussed on getting expert shots with his very professional looking still-camera of the 45 young musicians, and then turned his attention to the stage where the 300+ cast members tried to navigate their way on the mammoth set.
I had no idea who he was and doubt he had asked permission to jump in there with us but I could tell that he was a man on a mission with a profound purpose!
His candid photos were later chosen to adorn the covers of the three Radio Canada International record albums of the production in English, French & Spanish.
Since that day, David became a keen supporter of CC …. I received invitations to attend the lauded Wednesday Nights where David would ask provocative questions about our mission and funding and sustainability! He & Diana introduced me to many influential people as they opened their home and hearts to Creations.
And most importantly they shared their vibrant, talented, precocious 10-year old son Marc, whose 8-year active participation in the company as a young Board Member & actor/writer, impacted 1000s of kids (local, national & international) and me personally.
Marc has brought us full circle as I currently work with his two children and hundreds more at the newly founded Singapore Creations.
It has been a privilege to be included in the engaging conversations on politics, religion, art, the environment, and so much more with David & guests. He was truly an opinionated individual, a healthy rebel and he has left an indelible mark on us all.
Dear David, I raise my glass, my spirit and my heart to a life well-lived! Wherever you may be now, I know you are raising hell, with a profound purpose
May the 27th of April be a day filled with fond memories, laughter and eyes wet with tears of admiration.
Bless you Diana, Fiona & Marc … I am with you in spirit….
Mille bisous et courage,

Needless to say David’s death brought a flood of wonderful memories to my mind: the election campaigns of 1972 and 1974; the hospitality which you both offered so generously to me and many others in La Malbaie; the Wednesday nights in your basement on Rosemount etc,etc. Kelly and I send our love and sympathy to you, Marc and Fiona. I expect to be there to pay tribute to David on the 27th- no doubt with many, many others. Michael Meighen

The Chairman has died…Long live Wednesday Night!
David Taylor Traill Nicholson, long time chairman/host of the Wednesday Night salon
By Wanda Potrykus, OWN
(Westmount Magazine) “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. ”Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and several steps in my Sicknes, Meditation XVII, John Dunne, 1624
The Captain’s bell has rung… the Chairman’s long reign at the helm of Wednesday Night (WN) is over. He has passed beyond. He will no longer welcome at the door: us, the economists, the market watchers, the analysts and investment specialists, the professors and teachers, the students, the politicians, the lawyers, the scientists, the medical and other doctors, the business men and women, the engineers, the ecologists, the geologists, the miners, the marketers, the consultants, the architects, the artists, the singers, the musicians, the filmmakers, the communicators, the actors, the authors, the editors, the journalists, the young, the old, the eager, the curious, the wanderers, the debaters, the conversationalists, the agitators, the listeners, the wonderers, the wise men (and women) and even the idiots.
Mannerly and magnetic to the end, the David T. Nicholson many knew so well had morphed into a thinner, less expansive, somewhat less “hail fellow well met” character in recent years, but believe you me… a character he still was, even though the ravages of ill health and Alzheimer’s disease had wrought their unkindly changes. Even in the last few weeks of a long life, he challenged himself and others. The wacky sense of humour was still there, his eyes beamed out the love he’d always felt for the world as well as for his special people in it. Read full story


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