SGML: Memory of Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996)

SGML: Memory of Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996)

Derived from Yuri Rubinsky Insight Foundation: Newsletter

From Quintin Yardley's eulogy, January 27, 1996:
Almost thirty years ago in that river city town of Sarnia, Ontario, I was a happening kind of guy with brown bell bottom pants and paisley shirts. One day in May of '66 or '67, I was at the Sarnia Public Library doing what I loved best, avoiding homework by browsing through the book stacks. I bumped into another browser, a fuzzy-haired young man and we became engaged in the most animated conversation that ranged from poetry to political science. When we finally got down to introducing ourselves, we were in for a shock.

"You're Yuri Rubinsky?" I said. "I heard about you, everyone says I talk just like you."

"You're P.Q. Yardley?" he replied. "People have been telling me that I remind them of you."

We agreed that everyone was wrong, we were each unique, only vaguely like each other and thus became the best of friends.

I didn't know then, but that was the day that I was collected by Yuri. For Yuri was a collector. A collector of post cards and pithy commentary, images and ideas; but mostly a collector of people. In Sarnia, St. Catharines, London, Toronto, Banff, Kaslo and all around the world, Yuri connected and collected.

He chose people to befriend who interested, amused or informed him. He had broad tastes. He surrounded himself with the literate, the articulate, the artistic, the creative and the humane. He broadened his life experience by recognizing, celebrating and absorbing the experiences of others.

Yuri was an unbiased collector. He prejudged no one on the basis of age, gender, sexual preference, income level, educational background, race, physical ability or religious beliefs. He looked into people for their light of life and gathered those whose beacon beckoned.

He gathered you. He gathered me.

He appreciated us for our qualities. He respected us for our skills. He loved us for our humanity.

We have all been enriched by our relationship with Yuri, a person who could turn walks into parades.