The Newman Family: A Double Coincidence

by Aurelia Duralski Costanza

In May of 2008 our daughter, Madeleine, moved with her family, husband Andrew, daughter Sophia and son Thomas Henry to Vancouver, Canada.  Joe and I were invited to visit.  As an outing on a warm spring day, we visited Lighthouse Park, with its old growth pine forest.  Entering the park we chanced a meeting with a dapper elderly gentleman, looking as if he stepped out of the L. L. Bean catalogue.  We introduced ourselves and he responded that he was Murray Newman, retired director of the Vancouver Aquarium.  He then inquired about our home town.   To which we responded Ogden Dunes.  In amazement, he responded that his family had a cottage in Ogden Dunes in the l930s.


Mr. Newman invited us to visit his home after our walk. We meandered through the hundred feet forest and decided to visit Murray.  He was very pleased to see us and invited us to his deck.  Further conversation indicated that Murray was originally from Chicago’s Hyde Park area, residing on Dorchester Street near the University of Chicago.  Joe retorted that he, too, lived on Dorchester while attending Northwestern Law School.  Murray reminisced about his youthful summers in the Dunes, especially Pollywog Pond with its crayfish which inspired his interest in marine life.


We questioned Murray on the location of his family cottage.  To which he could only remember that he was a small child and that the home was on top of a high hill.  Dr. Richard Meister, vice-president of the O.D. Historical Society, researched the 1930 census which indicated that Paul Newman, Sr. build a cottage on 3 Sunset.  The most recent owners were the F.A. McGirrs in 1959 and Ted Lelek in 1989.  Later in the 1990 the home was demolished and sold to the Ogden Dunes Park Department.


For a Fathers’ Day present Madeleine purchased Dr. Newman’s book, ” Life in a Fish Bowl” and asked him to sign his book.  In which he wrote “For my Ogden Dunes Friends, Aurelia and Joseph Constanza (sic) with best regards, Murray Newman, Lighthouse Place.


Dr. Newman is currently writing  a second book, “Islands of Imperial Dream”.


Who is Murray Newman?


Dr. Murray Newman came Vancouver from Chicago where as a boy he kept tropical fish.  He graduated from the University of Chicago in zoology, spent three years in the US Navy and Marine Corps in the South Pacific during WWII, studied marine biology at the University of Hawaii and did research at Steinhart Aquarium while earning a masters’s degree in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley.  He lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia.  He was the founding director of the Vancouver Public Aquarium, where he served for 37 years.  During his tenure, he built the Aquarium into one of the most prestigious marine facilities in the world, without the assistance of public subsidies.  Dr. Newman received the Order of Canada in 1979 and the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967.  He has been featured in the Canadian Who’s Who and Who’s Who in America.


Aurelia Costanza is a board member of the Ogden Dunes Historical Society and chairperson of the 2007 Historical Homes Walk and the 2009 Artists Walk


The article appeared in “The Hour Glass” Newsletter, March 2011.