Families in Our Care

Edward George Sambell

January 5, 1923 - January 10, 2018

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January 5, 1923 – January 10, 2018

SAMBELL, Edward “Ted” passed away at Victoria Hospital, London Ontario, a few days after his 95th birthday, secure in the love of his daughter Jessica Braun and her husband, Anthony, and their children David, Conri (a.k.a. Katie), Margaret and Jack.

Celebrated in his field, Ted was renowned worldwide for his accomplishments in piano restoration, design and tuning. He worked on many unique historical instruments. He also built the occasional harpsichord. He continued to work until very recently, and was still tuning pianos, designing tools, and passing along knowledge to as many people as possible up until his death. He never stopped learning or mentoring others. Ted provided care for the instruments of such greats as Glenn Gould, Vladimir Horowitz, Victor Borge and Anton Kuerti. The grand piano he most worked on for Glenn Gould is on display at the Governor General’s residence in Ottawa. Ted was always in great demand as a teacher and convention lecturer, and loved to mentor others. He has left behind many published articles that constitute a legacy for piano technicians. He also composed a memoir, which is soon to be published.

Ted was born in London, England to Francis and Rosina (Wilder) Sambell. He was the second of 12 children, two of whom passed in infancy. He is predeceased by sister Rose (King), and brothers Len, Ben, John, Keith, and Albert. He is survived by sister Pat (Broadbent) and brothers Bernard and Reg, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Ted was educated in London, England at the Technical School for the Blind. He graduated at the top of his class. During WWII, he served as a rescue attendant (Voluntary Aid Detachment) with the Home Guard. Subsequent to the war, he, his parents and siblings moved to Canada.

Ted worked as a piano technician for some years before being hired to serve at Western University in 1968. In 1978, he moved to Toronto and taught at George Brown College while continuing to do private work. He spent summers in Alberta, working at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, and eventually moved there after his retirement from George Brown.

Ted retired from his dream job at Banff Centre in 2001, and moved back to London, Ontario to be close to his family. He was the best possible friend, with a gentle, droll, dry sense of humour. Ted was passionate about his craft and about classical music, loved to read, hike in the mountains, take photographs, watch films, and cook. For many years, he was in a local cycling club. Later, he competed in many marathons. Throughout his life, he walked long distances for enjoyment. He was always eager to learn new things, and taught himself German, mathematics and history. He was widely travelled, to places including Great Britain, the USA, China, Japan, Korea, France, Germany, Holland and Denmark.

Ted will be interred at a private ceremony in Banff, attended by his immediate family. A piano concert and memorial tea, open to all friends and family, will take place in London, Ontario in the summer of 2018. Please email Jess at jessmbraun@rogers.com to be added to a contact list. Those wishing to remember Ted with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and the Make a Wish Foundation.

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