SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
March 19, 1923 to May 29, 2013
Passed away at age 90
When I was growing up in Montreal , especially in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, I knew Dr. Henry Morgentaler as one of the regulars at the local chess competitions, especially in Blitz. According to Montrealer Hugh Brodie–who keeps records of such things–Morgentaler played hundreds of Blitz games and atleast 44 regular-time control games , mostly prior to 1982. I remember Morgentaler as a strong amateur and he always put up a tough fight.
The good doctor and I crossed paths from time to time, both on the board and off the board. I remember him with fondness and respect. Soft spoken, always thoughtful before speaking, and never a nasty word about anyone or anything.
In his professional life Morgentaler was surrounded by controversy for his ground-breaking dedication to women’s rights in Canada, especially with respect to their rights to abortion. This fight gave extra-meaning to his life, and at times even almost came close to costing him his life! He often used a bullet proof vest; more than one of his clinics was bombed; and he was jailed on more than one occasion for performing ilegal abortions.
Any reader who wants to find out more about his heroic endeavors with respect to this issue need just Google him. Towards the end of his life he was awarded the Order of Canada, as well as numerous honorary awards.
Dr. Henry Morgentaler had an incredible life worthy of a Hollywood film. Canada is a poorer place without him. It is an honour to have known Dr. Henry Morgentaler.