Iconic philatelist Michael Madesker dies

Long-time philatelist Michael Madesker, Canada’s only living Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP) signatory, has died at age 96.

Madesker, who died on Dec. 27 at Mackenzie Health Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ont., was a leading figure in Canadian philately for more than half a century. In his personal hobby, he was an “eclectic” collector, writer and exhibitor, according to the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC), an invite-only group Madesker was asked to join in 1973. Some of his many areas of philatelic interest included Canadian and Israeli stamp booklets, German States parcel post from 1725-1870 and Venice postal history from 1400-1797, each of which he successfully exhibited at both the national and international levels.

“Michael was an inspiration to all of us,” PSSC President Bob Vogel wrote in an online condolence message, adding Madesker’s “countless contributions to the hobby will never be matched or forgotten.”

PSSC past president Ingo Nessel added: “Michael was the kindest, most supportive fellow stamp collector. I was blessed with his mentorship, sharp wit, and friendship. Michael’s modesty in spite of great achievements was indicative of his strength of character.”

A champion of Organized Philately, Madesker served as the president of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) from 1991-93 and of the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP) Commission for Youth Philately from 1992-2004.

Earlier in his philatelic career, from 1960-75, he was a frequent guest of Doug Patrick’s CBC Stamp Club, inspiring a lifelong mission to promote the hobby to young people. Building on these successes, he later played prominent organizational roles with CAPEX 78, CAPEX 96 plus the two international youth shows held in 1982 and 1992.

“Michael did so much for so many in the stamp collecting world and was a mentor to me and so many others,” wrote RPSC President Ed Kroft in another online memorial. “He was a great contributor to the Society of Israel Philatelists and to the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada for many years.”

In addition to signing the RDP in 2000, Madesker was a Fellow of both the RPSC and Royal Philatelic Society of London and a recipient of the RPSC’s President Medal, the Smithsonian Institution Achievement Award and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal among many other hobby-related honours.

A private family service was held on Dec. 28, when Madesker was buried at Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park’s Farband Lithuanian section.

Memorial donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation at 416-489-7111 or to McMaster University through the school’s website.

While Madesker was the last living Canadian RDP signatory, Toronto philatelist Charles Verge has been invited to sign the roll this February at London 2022 if the ceremony goes ahead as planned.

CSN will publish a full obituary with comments from the philatelic community in Vol. 46 #21.

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