In 1991 the former " Stringer"- having freelanced for 3 Toronto dailies and weeklies including the Globe & Mail, The Bradford Topic, The Newmarket Era, even Reader's Digest - wrote a self-published, Ontario-best-selling novel, Light Over Newmarket, still available on his blog online (he published 4 total). My mother, who once worked designing and selling ads for The Topic newspaper in Bradford, recalls Ivan walk to their office to submit stories from Newmarket.
Ivan never drove and walked everywhere, likely adding to early demise in the end, complications arising from varicose-vein leg problems. Last time mom, who lives in the same building he did, saw him out and about, he was coming back from Main St, and, upon reaching the walls, had to lean up against them for five minutes before carrying on. He was not one to suffer aloud.
Some knew him as Old Ivan, but that wasn't always the case of course. In his heyday, the Ryerson University grad was a bit of a political rabble-rouser, known for his feisty exchanges with former Newmarket Mayor Ray Twinney, eventually exacting a sort of revenge when his nemesis was indicted on charges of embezzling the town. But Ivan had his vices too, like we all do, and demons, and was known to have a drink now and then, sometimes it getting the better. In the later years he'd slowed down somewhat in all departments, but he always offered to come out to help or speak on International Day For The Eradication of Poverty or perform at any worthy cause. He was not only a town and Main Street fixture and legend, but he was also also a guitar player and singer/composer who'd often come out to jams or gatherings and pick up a guitar if he could.
|Ivan speaks on IDFEOP|
You don't meet many of those anymore. People made of that ilk of pure principle. It never stopped him from spending time as a teacher though, with stints at the Eaton School / Seneca College in King City as well as a for a number of scholarships in Mexico.
|Back left Ivan attends International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at Fairy Lake Park|
" That loneliness reached the level of a silent keen, the keen of a near-madman who realizes at last how vast a difference there is between the sane and the insane, between the sick and the well, that very difficult malfunction of very fine tuning that separates the genius from the madman or the enthusiast from the manic-depressive" Excerpt from Ivan Prokupchuk's novel Light Over Newmarket
To be truthful, much of what Ivan wrote, outside of news items, went right over my head, but he got me and my humour and unusual ways at times, right from the start. He not only recognised it but he genuinely appreciated it. And I could always count on a "like" from Ivan on things most people had no idea what the joke or issue was, but he did.
|Oct 17 2014, Riverwalk Commons|
Although estranged from his family for some time, there is some solace in the fact his son was there at the end, but many friends who got to know him in their own intimate ways would like an opportunity to wish the mans spirit adieu I'm sure, and, to that end, there is a send-off , drop-in, Open-Mic Memorial being held for him Sat Feb 6, 2 - 4 pm at Roadhouse & Rose Funeral home on Main St Newmarket , giving opportunities to those wishing to express their feelings about Ivan through song or guitar or poems or speaking or any other way. We think he'd like that...Food and drinks will be available to if anyone wants a last drink "with" him.
See you at the party Ivan.