David Burrard Smith

Slipped peacefully away on July 6 at age 100, in Gravenhurst, Ontario. David was born 6 December 1916 in Kidderminster, England, the elder son of Commander Burrard Archibald Smith and Winifred Goodwin. After the war, the family returned to Longbeach, near Nelson, B.C. where David spent his formative years. He attended the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1939 (B.A. Chemistry honours) and in 1941 (M.A. Chemistry and Zoology) during which time he met his wife, Dorothy Westlake. In 1942 they married in Ottawa. In their almost 64 years together they lived in Ajax, Ottawa, Rome, London, and Lobo, their woodland retirement retreat, where they became known for their strawberry socials. Dorothy’s declining health required a return to Chelsey Park Retirement Home in London in 2000, where he remained after her death in 2005. David was the much-loved father of Stephanie (George Bryant), Janet (Fred Chandler) and Duncan (Sandra); grandfather (DB) to Margaret (Dominic Stones), Jennifer (Martin Pergler), Susan (Geoffrey Gow), Eleanor (Matt James), Darryl and Tamara and great-grandfather to Emily, Gillian, Alix and Edward. From 1941-1945, David worked at the Defence Industries Limited in Ajax, Ontario, rising to Senior Supervisor of the Cap and Detonator Line; 1946 and 1947 saw him working on his PhD and as a Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto’s Ajax campus. In 1949 he moved his growing family to Ottawa, where he worked at the National Research Council. He was awarded his Ph.D (Biochemistry) by the University of Toronto in 1950. In 1964 David took his family for a year of wonder in Rome, Italy while he worked for the Regina Elena Institute. In 1966 he became Professor in the University of Western Ontario’s Biochemistry Department, where he remained until retiring in 1982 as Professor Emeritus. David loved camping, gardening, beekeeping, and travel. He researched and wrote extensively about his family’s genealogical history. He was a vital member of the Unitarian Service Committee (USC Canada), starting as part of the “clothes-baling” team and becoming National Chair in 1956 and 1965. He was an almost charter member of the Unitarian Fellowship of London. He was an avid reader, a charter member of and participant in the UFL bookclub until his move to Toronto in his 99th year. There will be a memorial service on Saturday 9 December 2017, 11:00 am at the Unitarian Fellowship of London, 557 Clarke Road, London. Queries can be directed to Stephanie Bryant (416-762-6039). If desired, memorial contributions can be made to USC Canada, 56 Sparks Street, Ottawa, K1P 5B1.


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