Art Vogt died September 4, 2006, of a stroke. He was approaching 90.
He was a musician, bridge player, math teacher, raconteur – an irrepressible spirit. His passion was music: church organist, choir leader, high school music teacher, bandleader, vocalist, director of many stage musicals, composer, and arranger.
He was also a fellow Meteorological Officer in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), that amazing Canadian contribution to the garroting of Hitler in WWII, when Canada was the Aerodrome of Democracy, having built at forced draft a chain of air bases and flying schools clear across our country, wherein thousands of Allied aircrew were trained as pilots, navigators, air observers, gunners, radio operators, engineers, etc., etc., and also, perforce, trained in meteorology.
Art’s job and mine, as well as that of a myriad of our fellow metmen was to teach aviation meteorology to air crew in class, as well as provide forecasts, and brief air crew, for their many training flights.
Art stands out in my memory for his vivacity, his ebullience, his booming voice, his joie de vivre, his wide-ranging enthusiasms, his lack of side, his warmth, his friendliness to one and all.
He was a prince among fellows. Perhaps his charm derived from the art of being Art.
He was married to Ruth Johns (born in China) for 65 years – a stunning tribute to both these kindred souls, and to their children and to their families.
Art and I kept in touch down the years, but not enough, sadly. When the war ended, Art left meteorology to return to his true love, music, whereas I remained a federal meteorologist for the next 25 years (1943-1968) and a TV weatherman for 30 years (1952-1982).
My fellow metmen recall with glee, laced no doubt with spite, the notorious occasion when, while I was working in our office at Met HQ on Admiral Rd., Toronto, one warm and sunny summer day, the windows wide open, I suddenly spotted a tall man striding down the street, a figure I instantly took to be Art.
Without a second’s hesitation, I leaped to my feet, thrust my tousled head (I had hair then) through the open window, and yelled at the top of my voice, “Is that you, Art?”
Of course, it wasn’t. In great embarrassment, I quickly drew my head back in, smacking it soundly on the window frame. Ouch!
Covered in confusion, shame, and pain, I was met with a roar of derisive laughter, which has not altogether dissipated, lo, these sixty years since.
Is that you, Art, indeed! Dammit all, Art, why wasn’t it you?
You walked tall, Art. A good man. A good wife. A good family. Walk proud, man, walk proud.
I wish you were still here, Art.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Angels sing thee to thy rest!