DRYSDALE; Roderick Harold
February 2, 1923 – October 12, 2015
Rod, (devoted husband and father, Avro Arrow engineer, businessman, life-long learner, adventurer, and witty pragmatist) passed away on October 12, 2015, aged 92, at Vancouver General Hospital, with family present. He had faced recent medical challenges with courageous determination, and when told f medical risks, replied, “I survived the War; go for it!” He started life with the same determination, born in a sleigh mid-winter at Davidson, SK, as the 5th of 7 born to Henry and Kathleen (Morris) Drysdale. He grew up in St. Vital, Winnipeg in the Great Depression, resulting in appreciation of a good bargain and determination to succeed and excel in every way. He served in the Air Force in World War II, in aircraft electrical maintenance in England, and in the line of enemy fire, winning medals. He later completed his BSc. in Electrical Engineering from the U of Manitoba (1950); courses at the Royal Military College of Can. in Kingston, (to rank of Captain); and most courses towards a Masters in Business Administration. In 1949, he married Ruth Fryer, a nurse, and embarked on a 66 year. partnership of adventure, humor, and personal growth. He worked as an engineer in Kingston, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, and Toronto, where he led a large engineering team in building the legendary aircraft the Avro Arrow. After winning a boat, he bought property at then undeveloped Go Home Lake near Georgian Bay, ON, and hand-built a cottage accessible only by boat. After the Arrow, many colleagues left for NASA, but Rod chose to stay in Canada, working for the Dept. of Industry and Commerce in the Manitoba Govt. He was instrumental in bringing the potato industry to the ideal soil of Carberry, MB, and the potato plant later became a major supplier of French fries for McDonald’s. In 1966, the family moved to Calgary, where he worked as an engineer and created his own business management consulting firm. In 1976, Rod and Ruth moved to South Surrey, BC, beginning a 39 year era of rural contentment, great personal growth and helpfulness to all he encountered, with a zest for life. In his late 50’s, he undertook a 2-year Urban Devt. and Land Appraisal Diploma course at UBC, and worked in land development engineering, land appraisal, and in real estate sales. He was an active member of First United Church in White Rock for over 35 years, and became President of the local Probus group, where he used public-speaking skills developed in years of Toastmaster training. He loved travelling, locally, abroad, off-road, or by boat, exploring throughout North America, including Alaska. He enjoyed prospecting, camping, skiing, water skiing, and golfing. He valued both exercise and learning throughout his life. He followed the news intently. He was an independent thinker, who took “the road less traveled” in every way, and who strove for excellence throughout his life. He was clever, practical, and pragmatic, but appreciated humor, wit, and fun. The annual Croquet Tournament at the house was a highlight with friends for 25 years. He became increasingly aware of the value of relationships, and became a model of devotion to his wife and family, supporting them in all of their interests, and providing practical solutions and advice. His handyman skills and laughter in family card games will be missed. He was pre-deceased by his father Henry, (age 101), his mother Kathleen (age 93), and by siblings Gordon, Kitty Parsons (age 90), and Gladys Crispin (age 95), and by many friends who likely have greeted him “on the other side” with joy and celebration. He is greatly missed by wife Ruth; daughter Elaine Drysdale (and her son Peter Hunt); son Stephen (Fern), and their children Steven, Stacey, Anji, and Micheal, and spouses; by 7 great-grand-children; by siblings Jim (Susan), Kathleen Rempel, and Doug (Dale); by many nieces and nephews; by special family friend Jean Robles, and many friends. The family wishes to express gratitude to the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC, and to the caring clinical expertise of Dr. Stephen Nantel, Dr. Teresa Tsang, and Dr. Mark Hill, who all gave Rod many additional years of love and life. Appreciation is also expressed to Dr. Balakrishna, the ACE Unit at Peace Arch Hospital, and to the many dedicated and compassionate staff throughout VGH involved in Rod’s recent care. A Celebration of Life will be held Friday Oct. 23, 2015, at 1:00 pm at First United Church, 15385 Semiahmoo Ave., White Rock, BC. Donations may be made in his honour to the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC.
Condolences may be offered at www.myalternatives.ca/surrey/obituaries