Columnist Lew Tauber’s fun approach will be sorely missed

By Jesse Robitaille

Lewis Tauber, long-time columnist for both CCN and Canadian Stamp News, died suddenly from a heart attack. He was 88.

Two days after Tauber’s death on Aug. 3, a graveside funeral took place at Anshe Sholom Cemetery in Hamilton, Ont., where the noted numismatist and fun-loving philatelist lived since moving to Canada from the U.S. in the mid-1960s.

“Everything happened so fast so I’m still in shock, but collecting was such a big part of his life,” Tauber’s wife, Lori Dessau, told CCN.

Born in New York on July 1, 1931, Tauber lived in many cities across the state throughout his childhood, when his father worked as a research chemist.

By the late-1950s, Tauber was pursuing a four-year doctorate from Indiana’s Purdue University in clinical psychology, which he followed with a two-year post-doctorate internship at the Menninger Clinic in Kansas. Upon completing his internship in the mid-1960s, he moved to Hamilton.

“He liked living here very much,” said Dessau, who added Tauber worked as an academic psychologist at McMaster University as well as a clinical psychologist at the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital, which was known as the Ontario Hospital before 1968 (and as the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane earlier).

Although he collected both coins and stamps for most of his life, Tauber also maintained a private practice of counselling and psychotherapy throughout his career, which commanded much of his attention before retirement.

“When he was in his teens, Lew helped out a sailor, who gave him a few coins in return and said to start a coin collection, so that’s what he did, and he kept at it for the rest of his life.”

In the ensuing years, he gradually became interested in research and writing, but it wasn’t until he retired – in 1991 from the hospital and 2005 from his private practice – that he could “completely enter into the world of stamps and coins,” Dessau said.

“He started writing in about 2001 – so almost 20 years – and he loved it,” she added.

“He was a passionate collector of coins and stamps but also books and art.”

As for numismatics, he enjoyed medals and tokens, “specifically the art and design rather than just collecting by country or year,” Dessau said.

“With his writing, he wanted to encourage people to have fun with the hobby and see beyond its material value. He liked the human-interest aspect of coming across a fascinating piece, researching it and seeing where it would lead him.”

Indeed, collecting would lead him into “fascinating areas of human interest,” she added.

“He was always a psychologist and always got a lot of pleasure out of the human-interest side of the hobby – what he could learn about the topic and what people it would connect him to.”

CCN Editor Mike Walsh said he always admired the “fun approach Lew took with his columns. He always looked for a fun way to tell his story, which always made for enjoyable and informative reading.”

“Lew and his columns will be sorely missed by Trajan and, no doubt, our readers.”

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