Remembering Evelyn Zubek, former Toronto Star advert gross sales director

Referred to as the “Sparkle of the Star” by former colleagues, Evelyn Zubek rose by way of the ranks of the Toronto Star’s promoting division and discovered her calling in volunteer work. For 3 many years, she may very well be seen organizing donations, wrapping presents, figuring out deserving households and, through the holidays, delivering presents to youngsters in want, as she labored tirelessly for the Star’s 115-year-old Santa Claus Fund. She additionally quietly volunteered at a half-dozen different charitable organizations all through her 35-year profession on the newspaper and following her retirement.

Born at St. Michael’s Hospital to Italian expatriate Vincenzo Poulo, a shoemaker who labored in a Toronto tannery, and Theresa Mezzavilla, Evelyn Louise Poulo was the youngest of 5 youngsters. Very near her mom and to her siblings Mike (born in 1914), Emmanuel (1934), Louis (1935) and Mary (1937), regardless of their age gaps, Evelyn had a modest upbringing in east Toronto, says her brother Manny.

Evelyn attended St. Joseph Catholic Faculty on Leslie Road, Notre Dame Excessive Faculty within the Seashore and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate in Guildwood, the place she took accelerated programs to graduate early. “She was pupil and excelled, whereas aspiring to be a trainer,” Manny says.

In 1967, she started her profession on the Star proper out of highschool, whereas taking evening programs on the College of Toronto to improve her expertise. She labored her approach up in advert gross sales, changing into a supervisor of accounts, assistant supervisor of service promoting, division supervisor and, ultimately, group director of promoting.

“Pals say she was fearless, not afraid to tackle a problem and seize a chance,” says her stepdaughter, Sarah Zubek. Identified for being no-nonsense and devoted, and difficult but truthful, Evelyn “knew learn how to do her job properly and wished everybody to observe swimsuit,” says Sarah, who provides that she was additionally type and understanding. “Those that knew her say that if somebody was in hassle at work, she at all times gave them an opportunity to make it proper.”

Simply sooner or later previous to his dying on Feb. 5, former Star writer John Honderich spoke fondly of Evelyn to the Star. “They turned true pals through the years,” says Sarah. “He had written in a be aware to her that he had come to hunt out and depend on her sage phrases and knowledge. I feel lots of people felt that approach about her.”

Whereas on the newspaper, Evelyn found an outlet for her giving nature, volunteering for the United Method and the Toronto Star Contemporary Air Fund, which despatched youngsters from economically challenged areas to summer season camp. She was additionally concerned in all facets of the Star’s Santa Claus Fund. “She did each position accessible,” says good friend and former colleague Carey Anderson. “She would soar in at any time when and wherever she was wanted.”

Evelyn continued to volunteer for the Santa Claus Fund – which distributed presents to 50,000 youngsters 12 and beneath in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Ajax and Pickering in 2021 – following her retirement. “Evelyn really believed within the work the Santa Claus Fund did,” says Anderson.

The 12 months following her retirement in 2002 she ran the warehouse for the fund and directed a big employees of volunteers. “She was concerned with delivering presents virtually yearly that she volunteered,” says Sarah.

“Evelyn,” Anderson says, “wished to deliver smiles to as many faces as attainable.”

Her enthusiasm for the vacation season carried over to her family as properly. Within the late Seventies, Evelyn met accountant and Metroland chief monetary officer Wayne Zubek, and married him in 1981. She helped to boost Wayne’s two youngsters as her personal. “Christmas was at all times her favorite time of 12 months, and he or she at all times made it particular for Sarah and me,” says stepson Tim Zubek. “Our household day was at all times Boxing Day, and within the early (years) of my life, we had been at all times greeted on the home with the intense gentle of a camcorder – she was capturing our pleasure to have the ability to relive it later.”

The household had a practice of going to the films on Boxing Day, the place it was tough for Evelyn to remain nonetheless and never ask questions. “We laughed and shushed and ate popcorn. She was my port in a storm,” says Sarah. “She gave recommendation and steerage from a spot of pure love. She was somebody who spoke her thoughts and I’ve grown to understand how a lot meaning.”

Evelyn was additionally on the board of administrators of the Chinese language newspaper Sing Tao Each day, a publish she held for 20 years, in addition to a volunteer for a variety of charitable causes by way of the Rotary Membership. Till the previous few years of Evelyn’s life, Sarah says, she wore many hats as a volunteer for Hospice of Peel/Coronary heart Home Hospice Mississauga, together with visiting with purchasers residing with a life-limiting diseases, providing respite to households and caregivers, and counselling and lending a compassionate ear to these dealing with the tip of their life.

“It’s a tremendous factor to be an in-home volunteer,” says Sarah, “nevertheless it’s definitely not one thing that everybody can deal with or do properly.” Evelyn excelled at it, later stepping as much as practice new volunteers, run seminars and educate programs.

It’s not possible to quantify what number of hours Evelyn put in to volunteering, Sarah says, “nevertheless it was extraordinarily vital to her. It was a pure intuition for her to assist individuals. She got here from very humble beginnings and will admire the difficulties individuals confronted of their lives. She was not afraid to face tough conditions and he or she was in a position to assist individuals with that. It was a part of the material of her being.”



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