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FRY, David John Illingworth

August 7, 1937 – February 16, 2012

David Fry, beloved husband of Prem Fry and father of Shaun Fry, passed away peacefully in his family home in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at the age of 74 years.

A Memorial Service will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre St. North, Calgary (Telephone (403) 276-2296), on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm. A complete obituary will be published in the Friday, March 16, 2012 edition of the Calgary Herald. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

Please visit our memorial website, REMEMBERDAVID.COM for information, updates and your personal comments and condolences.

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved husband and father David John Illingworth Fry on February 16, 2012 in his home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The oldest child of his parents, Ann and Johann Justus Fry, David was born in Leek, Staffordshire, England on 7th August, 1937. The family moved to Newcastle-under-Lyme. David attended New Castle High School from 1948 to 1955.

In 1961, at the age of only 24, David completed his Ph.D. in Physics at Bristol University, England, coming to Canada in 1962 to join the Faculty of Science (Department of Physics) at McGill University in Montreal. He moved to Calgary in 1964 to join the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary.

David met Prem S. Dua, his wife-to-be, at a faculty reception in 1966. Prem had recently joined the faculty after completing her Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University. David and Prem were married in 1968 and established their first permanent home in N.W. Calgary. Two years later they became proud parents of their son Shaun, who was born in Oxford, England.

During his 42-years with the University, David established a distinguished university teaching and research career in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Calgary. David’s interests and contributions also extended to astrophysics. He increased his circle of friends and colleagues through his generous contributions to the development of the Royal Astronomical Society (RASC) branch in Calgary, where he served two terms as President.

Through his extensive volunteer work, David also contributed significantly to the Science Centre in Calgary, as well as to research in astrophysics at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, where he shared his knowledge of the universe with thousands of people who attended functions. In recognition of his outstanding instructional contributions David was awarded the 2005 “Excellence in Teaching Award” in the Faculty of Science by the Students Union. He finally took retirement in 2006. David has been remembered by colleagues at the Observatory as “an inspirational educator, astrophysics researcher and always a true gentleman”.

David John Illingworth Fry lived his life to the fullest. Beyond his unfailing love and care for his family, David’s greatest passion was helping others and providing enduring support and encouragement to students, colleagues and friends alike. He frequently took time to present workshops and talks on various topics of Physics to Public School Board Elementary and High Schools and supervised high school science projects to stimulate young persons’ interest in the sciences, many of whom were later motivated to pursue a Physics major in university. His generosity, selfless spirit and quiet warmth drew endless numbers of friends, students and colleagues to him. The vast outpouring of tributes which students and colleagues, from across the globe, paid to him via letters and during their recent visits with him at his home have provided a treasured legacy for his family.

David’s greatest attribute was his genuine, compassionate and loving personality. He had a deeply warm and sincere smile for almost everyone he encountered. One of David’s most loveable traits was that he had a constantly playful and wonderfully imaginative sense of humour, which resonated with everyone he met. He had an amazing capacity to find delight in almost every situation, whether it was watching how light reflected off an unusual object, or marvelling at technological insights or aspects of the universe.

David had endless talents and interests. He was a musician who played the guitar, clarinet, recorder, and saxophone. He had a passion for words, languages, linguistics, and different cultures. He spoke French, German and Russian, and had an impressive knowledge of dozens of other languages. He dedicated money for many charities and foster children’s homes. He delighted in acquiring new books and journals of all varieties. He read voraciously, and had a stunning range of knowledge that seemed to be nearly universal, including science, culture, history and the arts and languages—values that he also instilled in his beloved son Shaun.

He will be missed sorely by his family, who will forever think of him as their Guardian Angel, and remembered and admired by all who had the good fortune to know his calm, soft-spoken and gently unassuming demeanor, his keen intellect, his quiet sense of humour, and his attributes of kindness and firm moral integrity. David and Prem’s favorite prayer at the start and end of each day, including the evening of the last day of David’s life, was The Lord’s Prayer “Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name.”

David passed away peacefully in his family home in the loving presence of his wife, Prem, his son Shaun, and his brother Julian. He is survived by his loving wife Prem, his dearly beloved son Shaun in Calgary, by his brother and sister-in-law, Julian and Anne, and their daughter Nicola, and by his sister Margaret Goodwin and her daughters Sarah, Jeni, and Cathy, all of whom reside in England. On his wife Prem’s side, David is survived by his sister-in-law Sheila in Calgary, and brother-in-law Y.L. Malik, residing in Delhi, India. We will all miss him greatly.

Family, relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend a memorial service to be presided over by Senior Pastor Rick Scruggs on Friday, March 23, 2012 commencing at 2 pm. sharp at the Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre Street North (phone 403 276 2296). The service will be followed immediately by a reception at the same location. There will also be Celebration of the Life of David Fry to be held in the Calgary area on a date yet to be announced.

Please visit our memorial website, REMEMBERDAVID.COM for information, updates and your personal comments.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta or to the Bow Valley Christian Church in N.W. Calgary.

In living memory of David Fry, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH Telephone: (403) 276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Graham Smith :

    David was, without question, one of the kindest, most sincere and most caring instructors I ever had. In addition to taking several physics courses from him I had the good luck to work with him on several special project. What stands out most in my recollection was his infinite patience and good humour in dealing with all the vagaries of teaching undergraduate students. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the chance to know and work with him.

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  2. I met David on many occasions at University functions and at a variety of parties. His warm and friendly smile and quiet discussion were always welcome.

    Condolences to Prem, Shaun and family.

    He will be greatly missed.

    Roy Brown

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  3. My sincere condolences to Prem and Shaun.

    David was an excellent teacher, and mentor to many, many University students.
    He was a very kind, gentle person and a wonderful friend. He will be greatly missed.
    Anita Li

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  4. MAY GOD GIVE STRENGTH TO FRY FAMILY MEMBERS TO BEAR LOSS OF DAVID JOHN.

    REGARDS
    ARUN DOGRA
    (INDIA)

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  5. Mamsad Ahmed :

    I met David in Mumbai, He is such a nice gentleman,his warm and friendly smile and quiet discussion was simply great.

    My sincere condolences to Prem and Shaun.I can only imagine what a terrible time you must be going through

    I can only pray to God to give you and Shaun the strength and courage to cope with this loss.

    He will be greatly missed.

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  6. Dominique Debats and Rike Linssen :

    We were deeply saddened to hear about our dear friend David’s passing. Although we knew he was ill the news came as a shock. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, dear Prem and Shaun. We know how very much you were loved by David, your beloved husband and father, and how sorely he is missed right now by you both. It was a great gift of love that the two of you allowed David to pass away peacefully in the intimate ambiance of his treasured family home and in the loving presence of you two. We remember with great gratitude how you, Prem, together with David reached out to us long time ago when things were falling apart in our own life. The fond memories of our joint visits to various scientific conferences and sightseeing’s in Chicago, San Francisco, Victoria and Boston we will cherish forever. We will remember David for his many, many talents and virtues, but above all for his gentle modesty, heartwarming kindness and playful sense of humor.

    With deepest sympathy,

    Dominique Debats and Rike Linssen

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  7. Rita Boreiko and family :

    I have many special fond memories of times spent with David, first as a student enjoying breaks of table tennis after a long day at university, then as a friend for many years. His keen interest in the world and sense of humour will be missed by all of us.
    Rita, Al, Robin, Kerry, and Heather

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  8. Dennis Kerber :

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Years ago I needed to take an option for one of my courses, and for some reason I chose Physics. I remember Dr. Fry as a person who really cared about teaching and that you really understood what he was teaching.

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  9. Alfredo Louro :

    I first met David shortly after arriving in Calgary in the summer of 1991. He was outside with a pair of binoculars on a tripod and a screen where he was projecting an image of the Sun, and cheerfully explaining what was going on to every curious passer-by. I quickly learned what a friendly, curious, and knowledgeable person he was. I had the pleasure to work together with him in teaching, which was one of his many passions.

    David was a kind, gentle, generous man. I feel privileged to have known him, and I will certainly miss him greatly. My condolences to his family and friends.

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  10. The Fry family,

    I am very sorry for your loss – and ours, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. David was a bright and sunny light in the department and I will very much miss those moments when we crossed paths and he would share his insights and discoveries on some particularly interesting “tidbit” or student learning.

    Condolences,

    Ann-Lise Norman

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  11. Bonnie Shapiro :

    My heartfelt wishes of support and condolences to all members of the Fry family on the loss of David. I had the great pleasure to know him as a colleague and a dear friend, and was so saddened to hear that he was ill. He was unfailing in his effort to help students in any way he could. We enjoyed many conversations on ways to understand physics — and to help students connect with complex ideas. He told me that he so delighted in his work with first year students because “they ask the fundamental questions – the ones that really make me think.” I miss him very much and will always remember him for his kindness, honesty and his generosity of spirit.
    Bonnie Shapiro

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  12. Corinne Mullan :

    My belated condolences to Prem, Shaun and family.

    I was very saddened to hear of David’s passing. He was a professor, friend, mentor, and tireless supporter. I will always remember his kindness, along with his many stories.

    Corinne Mullan

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  13. Sarah Rugheimer :

    My condolences to Prem, Shaun and family. I am very sorry to hear about Dr. Fry. He was one of my favorite professors at UofC and one of two professors that I remained in contact with after I left. Dr. Fry was a faithful friend and always checked in on how I was doing in grad school and life. He was a dedicated teacher who will be greatly missed.

    Sarah Rugheimer

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  14. Peter Milutinovic :

    Dr. Fry, you left an indelible impression on a young man with more than a passing interest in astronomy and astrophysics. I have many stiff necks to thank you for while enjoying many magical evenings staring at the heavens.
    I wish to extend my profound condolences to the family and friends.

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