WHITNEY, Joseph Bevan Robertson - 1928 to 2016 We are deeply saddened by the death of Professor Emeritus Joseph Whitney at Princess Margaret Hospital on September 2nd.
Energetic, well loved, full of projects and stories, optimistic, fun loving and a scholar, he will be sorely missed by his wife Diana Baxter, his children Michael, Kaaren (Rick), Daniel (Dayna), Joanna (Randy) and Sue and grandchildren Devin, Lukas, Elke, Holly, Emma and Katie, as well as his many friends, relatives and students.
Joe was born in England, educated at Cambridge (MA) and University of Chicago (Phd).
He came to the University of Toronto in 1969 where he finished his career as Chair of the Geography Department from 1988 to 1993. He was the first to introduce the study of China to the department and his research focused on the environment particularly soil erosion, waste management and rural energy use in China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Sudan. Working with the Ford Foundation he established the Institute of the Environment in Khartoum in Sudan and organized the first "women and the environment" conferences there and in Vietnam.
After retirement he was Coordinator of Urban Environmental Management at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. He is fondly remembered by his students in Hong Kong where he lived and taught for 12 years in his 20s. His teaching methods were exciting and challenging and included taking students on work camps to assist Japan after the war. Similarly, through his influence and teaching he inspired many students to work in South East Asia and he led a number of projects in that region. Always on the go, even after retirement Joe was engaged in academic projects and travel.
He was chairing a committee to sponsor Syrian refugees for Senior College at University of Toronto, he recently completed a publication on the impact of Canadian funding to China and beyond and he was researching the Whitney family connections in Japan in the 19th century. He fascinated friends and family with stories of his life, including meeting Gandhi and Sibelius as a youth and travelling around Scandinavia on a 25 pound scholarship at age 16. He was a kind, humble and gentle man who was well liked for his humour and ability to relate to everyone.
A precious memory is of him mounting his bicycle at age 87 and heading off to the university wearing his pink helmet.
A memorial service will be held at the University of Toronto Faculty Club, 41 Wilcocks St. on Wednesday, October 12th from 4 to 7 p.m. Condolences and memories can be sent to aftercare.org (press tribute and Joe's name).
In lieu of flowers, please support the scholarship at University of Toronto in Joe's name - the JBR Whitney Award at donate.utoronto.ca.
On Monday, April 25, 2016, 'Gus', surrounded by his family, passed away peacefully in his 92nd year. He was born in Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland in 1924. He flew in World War II with the RAF and immigrated to Canada in 1946. As one of twelve children, he is survived by his sister Eileen Hickey. Devoted husband to Dr. Vera Solowska for 60 years. Loving father of Helen (Marc Carere), Tom (Anne) and Peg (Tom Best). He will be greatly missed by his grandchildren Matthew, Emily, Andrew, Dominique, Luke, Jeff, Richard, Melanie, Amy, Colin, Jenna and his great-grandchildren Anna Bella, Sophia, Cosmo and Kiana. He was always a mentor and loving advisor to his children, their peers and his grandchildren. On May 2nd, friends may visit at Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre, 375 Mount Pleasant Rd. (East Gate entrance) from 10-11 a.m., followed by a memorial service in the Chapel at 11 a.m - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestar/obituary.aspx?n=andrew-duane&pid=179788240&fhid=17702#sthash.yZVARBov.dpuf