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VICTOR BATZEL (published on January 07, 2009)

VICTOR M. BATZEL 1935-2009 Vic Batzel, died January 1, at Victoria Hospital, of pulmonary fibrosis. Born April 6, 1935 in Dodge Center, MN, elder child of Margaret McGowan and Merlin Batzel. Predeceased by his parents. Survived by his wife Brenda (Clarke), of 44 years; son John (Joanne Haffey) and daughter Ella, of Calgary; son Geoffrey (Rudayna Abdo) and sons, Marwan and Ramzi, of Abu Dhabi; daughter Nichola and son Aidan; sister Helen (Les Harwick), of Rochester, MN; aunt Ethel Field, of Rochester; mother-in-law Ruth Clarke; sister-in-law Judy Clarke, of Calgary; brother-in-law Brian Clarke (Adele), of Surrey, BC; nieces and nephews and their families, in Canada and the USA. Educated in Rochester; University of Minnesota (BA); University of Connecticut (MA); University of Iowa (PhD). For 35 years, Vic was a professor of history at University of Winnipeg. Teaching was his first love and he thrived on the stimulation his students gave him. Although on paper a specialist in 19th century Britain, he never let himself be confined by that and ventured into the fields of European and Eastern European history and the philosophy of history. He was interested in the broad sweep of history more than the minor details.' His lecture style was highly kinetic. We joked that if you cut off his arms he wouldn't be able to say a thing. In 1971 he received the first Clifford Robson Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition he served in many administrative roles at U. of W., with terms on the Senate and Board of Regents, as CAUT president and as Chair of the History Department from 1988-1992. He became a Fellow of U. of W. in 1999. Among his favorite courses were his History Through Music courses. In these he explored the events and ideas of particular eras through the medium of his own large record collection. It was a natural extension from this to his labour of love for 13 years, the writing of program essays for Virtuosi Concerts. He was there at the beginning of that venture and served as chair of the Virtuosi Board from 1994-2004, when he became Chair Emeritus. It was a sad day for all when he had to give up baking his poppy seed cakes for the concert receptions. A bookish boy, not known for his athletic exploits, though always a sports fan, he had a vicarious second childhood through the sporting activities of his kids. He served as president of Windsor Community Centre in the 1970s and segued from that into organizing youth soccer, first for the community club, then the district, then as president of Greater Winnipeg Minor Soccer and finally, as president of the Manitoba Soccer Association from 1986-1992. He then served on the Canadian Soccer Association board from 1992-1997, and particularly enjoyed the perks of that job: trips to Mexico City, Cuba and Trinidad, as Head of Delegation for various national teams. In 1999 he was honoured by the CSA for contributions to Canadian soccer and in 2002 made a life member of the MSA. More surprising than his administrative activities was the fact that he coached soccer. Hardly the conventional image of a coach, he chugged up and down the sidelines, a large, somewhat paunchy guy with cigarette dangling. His teams gave him great pleasure over the years and occasionally, they won. On the domestic front he was an intrepid handyman keeping a large, 1910 era house going. True to form he was never intimidated by a lack of formal qualifications, but devised ingenious ways to get things done. The neighborhood children learned (or expanded) their vocabulary of salty language when Mr. B's' projects refused to go according to plan. In retirement he gave many volunteer hours to the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, continued to do committee work for the MSA and gave lectures for Creative Retirement. His teaching skills took a different direction when Nickie recruited him (and he, in turn, recruited two other U. of W. retirees) as a volunteer at Champlain School. His family will miss their husband, father and grandfather, in countless ways. We will miss his voice in the often boisterous discussions at family gatheringsthe Batzel boys' en masse can be an intimidating bunch according to the daughters-in-law. We will miss him in our summer gatherings at Hillside Beach where the patience he never displayed on building projects was bestowed on large, difficult jigsaws and small, complicated airplane models. We will miss his passion for books ( Why borrow a book you could possibly buy? ) and for recordings (ditto) even though it might be described as an obsession. His ghost will happily haunt the local Fyxx, Starbucks and Robins where he and Brenda spent many contented hours reading. Friends who wish may contribute in his memory to The University of Winnipeg Foundation, designating either Virtuosi Concerts or the U. of W. Library: The University of Winnipeg Foundation, 705-491 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E4. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 10 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary's Road United Church, 613 St. Mary's Rd. The Coutu family in care of arrangements: E. J. COUTU FUNERAL DIRECTORS 680 Archibald St. 253-5086

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