About Dr. Alfred Bader
Alfred Bader was born and raised in
Vienna, Austria. It
was here, in the 1930's, that he developed his own version of the ABC's: arts,
the Bible and chemistry. A devout Jew and budding collector, his weekend trips
to a synagogue in Prague
would include a stop at a nearby art vendor. As a boy, he helped salt animal
hides to make shoe leather, perhaps his first job as chemist.
Threatened by Hitler's regime, he
was among the first children to escape to Britain via the Kindertransport.
Finding refuge for only a year in Brighton, he would become wrongfully
imprisoned as an "enemy alien" and eventually uprooted yet again to a
prisoner-of-war camp in Canada. Despite suffering daily molestations by a prison
guard, he continued his studies and even purchased artwork from a fellow inmate.
Released to a family in Montreal 15
months later, Alfred Bader worked towards his further schooling. Rejected for
admission at both U of T and McGill because their Jewish quotas were full,
he would finally find warm acceptance at Queen's University. Kingston became his
new home, and Queen's his Alma Mater. He completed his education at Harvard,
earning himself a doctorate in chemistry.
His companies grew over the
following decades; his chemical company merging with a biochemical firm to
become the world's largest supplier of research chemicals, Sigma-Aldrich.
During this time, he would become reunited with lost love Isabel Overton.
A true romantic, he fell in love
with Isabel over 30 years before he could hold her hand in marriage. Several
years later, he would leave behind his chemical company and travel the world
with Isabel, searching for lost artistic treasure.
He is as inveterate a
philanthropist as he is a collector, and funds many awards and scholarships
worldwide. His long support of the Agnes
Etherington Art Centre has played a vital role in the gallery's continued
success and growth.
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