Obituary: Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996) [The Globe and Mail]
From: email@example.com (Murray Maloney)
Subject: Obituary: Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996)
Keywords: Yuri Rubinsky SoftQuad Obituary
Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 22:45:09 GMT
The following is the text of an obituary which appeared
in The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, January 24, 1996.
It is reproduced here without permission.
'Renaissance man' developed software programs
By: Val Ross
The Globe and Mail
Yuri Rubinsky - founder of the Banff publishing workshop and designer
of a software program [the Panorama
SGML - Standard Generalized Markup Language - web browser]
used by clients ranging from publishers to the
U.S. department of Defense - died at his home in Toronto on Sunday
evening. Rubinsky had a massive and unexpected heart attack. He was 43.
"He was a Renaissance man," said his friend, Marc Giacomelli,
Rubinsky's co-author on the 1993 novel 'Christopher Columbus Answers
All Charges'. Ryerson University magazine teacher Lynn Cunningham, who
met Rubinsky at Banff, described him as a "really smart, really funny,
gnomish guy. He was petite, with a beard, quick moving, quick
thinking. A guru. I adored Yuri."
Selwyn Wener, chief financial officer at Rubinsky's software company,
SoftQuad, also described him as a "guru." Rubinsky was president of
SoftQuad, a company of 100 employees, which posted $5-million in
revenues for the first three-quarters of 1995.
Rubinsky co-founded the company a decade ago with partners David
Slocombe and Stan Bevington. The three were looking to cut output costs
at Toronto's Coach House Press; what they developed were software tools
to let one text be communicated among many users and many output devices.
SoftQuad's clients have ranged from Standard & Poor's, the U.S.
credit-rating service, to McClelland & Stewart, to Rubinsky himself:
Using his programs on his novel 'Christopher Columbus Answers All
Charges', Rubinsky was able to bring out a Braille version before The
Porcupine's Quill brought out its print edition.
Rubinsky's Wife Holley, a Journey Prize winning writer for short
fiction, says that her husband was never motivated primarily by
business interests; it was his software's capacity to help visually
impaired readers that kept him committed to the work. Rubinsky was born
in Lebanon in 1952. Three years later, his family moved to Canada, and
he grew up in mid-sized Ontario towns of St. Catharines and Sarnia.
After graduating from Brock University, Rubinsky studied architecture
at the University of Toronto, where his imagination soared beyond mere
buildings: according to Brown, one of his projects involved redesigning
the Monopoly board.
He took odd jobs such as working on the Whitehorse Star and driving a
tour bus in the Yukon. In the summer of 1978, Rubinsky attended the
Radcliffe publishing course at Harvard and resolved to adapt the
program for Canada. Two years later, he convinced the Banff Centre for
the Arts to launch a book and magazine publishing course.
"He founded the program to make a difference," Cunningham said, "and
that has been the case: Both the book and the magazine business are
crowded with people for whom that course was a life-transforming
experience." Now in its 16th year, the summer program boasts more than
Rubinsky was also a prolific writer and publisher. His works have
ranged from playful parody - 'Not The Globe and Mail', a one-issue
journal that sold more than 20,000 copies and 'The Wankers' Guide to
Canada (1986)'. And he and his wife packaged and published 'Butcher ,
Baker: The Faces of Kaslo', a photographic celebration of Kaslo, B.C.
"He was a delightful man, an intellectual will-o'-the-wisp who
brightened every room he entered," said McClelland & Steward publisher
Rubinsky leaves his wife Holley her daughter Robin Ballard; his parents
Andre and Anna; and his sister Kathryn Akehurst.