In a shockingly tragic turn of events late on Thursday, June 7, songwriter, broadcaster and an intellectual giant with an encyclopaedic knowledge of history, mathematics and science, Ted Rusk passed away in hospital at 61 years of age two weeks after suffering a massive coronary.
As we reported earlier, it had appeared that Ted —who suffered the heart attack May 24 while in Owen Sound near his home in Sauble Beach and had to be resuscitated and flown to hospital in Kitchener— was making progress after an induced coma was ended a week later, when his breathing, heart and circulation began working on their own.
His brother Richard reported on Facebook on June 1 that Ted had been conscious, alert and able to speak earlier that day and it appeared that while he would have to spend several weeks or possibly a few months in hospital, that he would come out the other side of the devastating medical crisis.
A bandmate in Ted’s latest musical endeavour (the The Great Canadian Swampstompers Roots-Rock “Stompin’ Tom meets The Ramones” combo) and longtime friend Dylan McMullin, however, told TorontoMoon.ca this morning that earlier in the week Ted had been moved from the St. Mary’s Hospital, where he was initially taken and stabilized, to a hospital closer to home in Wiarton.
Apparently the past week had seen ups and downs in Ted’s condition.
“There was hope, followed by setbacks,” McMullin said, so “he was moved to Wiarton after they couldn’t do anything more for him in Kitchener” a few days ago.
At that point “there wasn’t much hope for recovery is the impression I got” from Ted’s romantic partner of several years, Jill Baker, who received the call of his passing on Thursday night, Dylan said.
“They were making him comfortable” in Wiarton and making it easier for his son, Max who lives in Owen Sound, to visit without having to drive back and forth to Kitchener every day or stay in hotels.
In addition to his son and brother Richard, Ted is also survived by another brother, Bill and a sister, Mary Lee and several nieces and nephews. A GoFundMe campaign set up by Ted’s niece, Katie Rusk-Hall, to help Max be able to the afford daily trips to Kitchener from Owen Sound, will now be used as a benefit for Max during the only child’s grieving process.
An online memorial and condolences site has been set up by the Downs & Son Funeral Home of Hepworth, Ontario, which is handling final arrangements, although no details about a service have been posted as of this writing.
There will be at least two public acknowledgements this weekend of the passing of the towering six-foot-five-inches-or-more, left-handed upside-down Fender and acoustic guitar player and singer. On Sat. June 9 the Full Throttle Motor Speedway in Varney, Ontario —at which his “Full Throttle Speedway Bound” song is played before every race since TGCS recorded the tune on its 2016 Driving Into The Sun album— will make an announcement about his death, McMullin informs us.
And McMullin, who, like Ted, since last autumn has been doing a monthly episode of the weekly Georgian Bay Roots radio show broadcast Sundays on CFOS 560AM radio out of Owen Sound (and available as podcasts on soundcloud.com) will of course be paying tribute to his late pal of seven years during this week’s 4 p.m. broadcast, also available online at http://www.560cfos.ca/.
For more about Ted’s accomplishments, background and activities see also the article I wrote earlier in the week. I’ll also have more details about his astonishing breadth of activities —including a passionate interest in nature photography of his beloved beachfront backyard and an experimental rock garden— as well as his prodigious musical output, engagingly thoughtful radio shows and reminiscences and reflections by others who knew and loved him, to share along with memorial information once details become available.
Of course Ted Rusk will also have a prominent place in our forthcoming Musical Legacies Online Museum once sufficient support has been received from the music community to enable its launch.