Mother, wife, sister, teacher, friend. Born April 16, 1943, in Toronto, died Aug. 20, 2013, in Toronto of cancer, aged 70.
To those who knew her best, Merle Taube was a youthful-spirited, energetic and vibrant woman who enjoyed life to the fullest. To those who were fortunate enough to meet her, she was a memorable face in the sea of people we encounter on a daily basis.
Merle was born in Toronto. Her family, the Alexandroffs, helped found the Congregation Knesseth Israel, or Junction Shul. (Boris, her grandfather, was the synagogue’s first president.) She grew up in St. Catharines, Ont., with her parents, Dr. Max and Rhona, and her brother, Alan.
School was something she always enjoyed. She loved to learn each and every day. She cherished her high school and university teachers, and made many long-lasting friendships throughout her academic career. She earned a BA in English from the University of Toronto, and ultimately found her true calling as a teacher.
Merle taught English as a second language at Toronto’s Bloor Collegiate, and later as a volunteer at Frontier College. Some students joked that she was a tough-as-nails drill sergeant – and a few may have feared for their lives! In reality, she had remarkable patience and great determination as an educator. She was excited and proud when her students made great strides in their reading, writing and diction. She was always interested in hearing their life stories. They became her friends, and an important part of her life.
Even at home she loved to use her teaching skills. Copious numbers of hours were spent helping with homework and using those dreaded “flash cards” for math and vocabulary.
Her passions included art history (she took lessons on the old masters and French Impressionists) and music (from classical to 1950s rock ’n’ roll). She loved to walk great distances. She consumed the daily newspapers, particularly medical stories, and had a never-ending supply of novels by her bedside table.
Late in life, she took up horticulture and helped design flower displays in front of her condominium, which residents appreciated as a valuable and important contribution.
It was Merle’s family that brought her the most joy and pleasure. Her husband, Stanley – a lawyer, author and lecturer at the University of Toronto – was the love of her life. They had a wonderful marriage for 46 years, and raised two children, Michael and Marlene. She cared about their spouses, Rosa and Jeffrey, and loved her three grandchildren, Andrew, Joshua and Leah. Her one great wish was that she could spend more time with them to watch them grow.
Merle was a devoted wife, mother and friend, always thinking of others above her own needs. Our memories of her will always remain strong, and her dreams and passions will always serve as a source of inspiration to those who loved her – and still love her – so much.
Michael Taube is Merle’s son.