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ObituariesDonald Symington - obituary

Donald Symington – obituary

Symington, Fraser 2 09-12-2013SYMINGTON,



 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Fraser Symington on November 30, 2013.  He will be deeply missed by his children Tracy (Louise), Sara (Brian), Tavane and Angus Fraser (Elisha), grandchildren Abigail (Ryan) and Lorin and by the many friends and relatives who came to admire and love his intelligence, wit, storytelling and passionate commitment to life. Fraser was born in Rosthern, Saskatchewan and was a graduate of the first Carleton University school of journalism program, where he met his wife-to-be Sheila Wallbridge. As an author, freelance writer, consultant and inventor, he was interested in everything, read widely, thought deeply and spoke and wrote about a extraordinary range of subjects. Described by his friends as a true Renaissance man, and “the best 19th century mind in the 20th century”, Fraser’s interests centred on Canadian native cultures, economic development in Canada’s remote regions, resource management and devising new technologies suitable for the northland and developing countries around the world.  Fraser worked on farms in the Prairies, logging camps in New Brunswick, and the Kitimat dam project in Northern B.C. He was a wireless technician in World War II, worked at the Department of Northern Affairs and edited the proceeding of the Resources for Tomorrow conference in 1961. He came to profoundly understand the people of Canada’s hinterlands and was a leader in developing the theory and practice of environmentally appropriate technologies. He was a consultant to the Native Council of Canada.  He is the author of Tuktu, The Canadian Indian and The First Canadians, as well as numerous articles, reports, text books and works of fiction. Throughout his life, he invented, fabricated and prototyped numerous tools and machines that could be made simply and cheaply to improve the life and economic prospects of the world’s poor. His list of inventions includes a gantry saw for the efficient use of forestry resources and a suite of solar concentrating ovens and cookers suitable for use in developing countries. His projects took him to India, Belize and The Gambia, and at the age 90 he was still building solar arrays in Mexico with his grandson. He was a remarkable person who affected countless people with his optimism, his visions of a better world, his love and his penetrating perceptions of politics, economics, literature, design, architecture and the environment. Fraser and his pipe, his humour, his remembered lines of poetry, his curiosity and lively interest in life and ideas will be sorely missed by those who knew him. We shall not see his like again. A celebration of his life will be announced in the Spring.

Funeral Arrangements Entrusted Into The Care of

C.R. Gamble Funeral Home and Chapel Inc.

(127 Church St., Almonte, ON., 613-256-3313)

Condolences & Tributes:


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