It was rare for the late Theodor Kerzner to make any decision without a great deal of thought, and his decision to give to Baycrest through his estate was no exception. The well-respected Toronto lawyer, known for his intelligence and remarkable problem-solving ability, became increasingly impressed with both the quality of care and array of unique programs offered at Baycrest over the years. This, coupled with his passion to contribute to Jewish organizations, drove his philanthropic involvement.
Ted was a man of many interests and accomplishments. He specialized in civil litigation and was appointed Queen’s Counsel for his leadership in taking on complex cases that required a higher level of expertise. He was keenly interested in legal education and history and supported the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. His small, tight-knit family meant a lot to him, and he was adored by his niece and nephew. As an avid and world-renowned stamp collector, he travelled extensively to add to his collection and was a supporter of the Royal Philatelic Society of London and American Philatelic Research Library.
Throughout his childhood, Ted developed a great sense of pride for his Jewish faith. As an active member of Aleph Zadik Aleph, an international youth-led fraternal organization for Jewish teenagers, he experienced the power of community first hand that, as he grew older, led to a desire to contribute to Jewish organizations to ensure their longevity.
He was first introduced to Baycrest specifically through his parents, Isadore and Sarah Kerzner, who were devoted volunteers of the Centre throughout much of his life. For years, his mother volunteered once a week with patients with dementia and, after his retirement, Isadore joined her to teach woodworking at the Wagman Centre. The family’s involvement with Baycrest became even more personal after each of Ted’s parents experienced brief stays at the hospital. During this time, the family personally experienced the high quality of care provided by Baycrest, causing their relationship to the organization to become even more deeply rooted. After their passing, Isadore and Sarah’s devotion to Baycrest endured, with an endowment fund being set up in their name directing funds to palliative care.
Throughout his life, Ted struck an admirable balance between an accomplished career, individual fulfilment and philanthropy. Through his extraordinarily generous estate gift to Baycrest, he has secured a legacy of both personal significance and far-reaching impact that will benefit countless older adults in years to come.