Doc Seaman passed away Sunday, January 11, 2009 at the age of 86 years, after a long battle with prostate cancer, a challenge that typically inspired him to donate his time, effort and financial support in order to help others with the disease.
Doc was born in Rouleau, Saskatchewan. He became one of Alberta’s most successful oilmen and industrialists through his company, Bow Valley Industries, and many other ventures. He and his brothers, B.J. and Don Seaman, were among the first wave of adventurous oilmen who pioneered the industry after the Second World War. Doc’s war record was itself remarkable; he flew eighty-two successful combat missions out of North Africa as a sub-hunting pilot and was awarded the Government of France citation for bravery. Doc was an original Calgary Flames owner who followed the team passionately to the end. Besides bringing the Flames to Calgary, he was a key player in building the Saddledome and the acquisition for Calgary of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Doc was also one of a small group of visionaries who created programs that saved Canadian hockey from mediocrity at a time when the European game was becoming dominant. Canada’s five junior hockey gold medal wins in a row have their roots in Project 75, now called the Seaman-Hotchkiss Hockey Foundation. Until recently, Doc could be seen lacing on his skates for a powerful turn around Olympic Plaza. Doc was perhaps proudest of creating jobs for thousands of Canadians; the pain of unemployment haunted him from the time he saw the miserable parade of jobless men riding the rails across prairies during the great depression. Most recently, Doc was involved in a job creation program with aboriginal partnerships through Western Lakota Drilling. His business goal was to create jobs; money was merely a fortunate by-product, especially for the beneficiaries of his many philanthropic causes. Doc gave generously to the Seaman-Hotchkiss Foundation, the Seaman Family MR Research Centre, the Calgary Prostate Cancer Institute, Hockey Canada, the University of Calgary’s NeuroArm project, Seaman Stadium – Okotoks, Scott Seaman Sports Rinks, SALTS, Ducks Unlimited, University of Saskatchewan, Nature Conservancy of Canada and a host of other social and cultural causes too numerous to list. His love of the outdoors and ranching inspired Doc to purchase the OH Ranch in 1987. It became Doc’s desire to preserve the OH legacy for future generations. Through a partnership with the Alberta government and private conservation groups, it was agreed to preserve a total of twenty-one sq km through a heritage rangeland designation and conservation easements for one of Alberta’s oldest and largest ranches.
Doc’s many honours include: Officer of the Order of Canada; member of the Alberta Order of Excellence; and was inducted into the Calgary Business Hall of Fame. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from both the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan, where Doc earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
In later life, Doc’s motto became “never retire.” He urged everyone to stay active and devote their time to helping others. This was expressed by Doc in his recent biography “Staying in the Game”. Former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed wrote of him: “For decades he has also worked outside the business sphere, using his remarkable talents to better his community and his country. Yet he has done this so quietly that his name is relatively unknown to the general public.”
Doc would be uncomfortable with the length of this obituary. He never looked for praise, preferring to act rather than talk. We felt it important to share some of his accomplishments with the hope of celebrating his life and encouraging others to carry on his legacy of community service.
Special thanks to the Foothills ICU Medical Team, especially the excellent daily care from all the nurses and doctors.
Doc was predeceased by his wife Lois, his sister Dorothy Hamilton, his father Byron Luther, his mother, Letha Mae (Mae), his sister-in-law and wife of B.J, Evelyn and his beloved grandson, Scott Seaman. Doc leaves to mourn his fiancée, Monique Viau, daughter Diane Lefroy; and his sons, Bob Seaman and his fiancée Patricia Calvert, Gary and Val Seaman, and Ken and Roberta Seaman; as well as his daughter-in-law Shannon Seaman. He also leaves his grandchildren, Kelly and fiancé Jared Hockley, Oliver, Jarrod, Jessica, Kenneth, Cory and wife Nancy, Jeffrey as well as great-grandchild Isiah. Doc will also be greatly missed by his brothers Byron James (B.J) and family, Donald, wife Eleanor and family.
Funeral Services will be held at First Alliance Church (12345 – 40th Street S.E.) on Friday, January 16, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be directed to the Seaman Family Septic Shock Research Fund by cheque or on-line at The Calgary Foundation, Suite 700, 999 – 8th Street SW Calgary, AB. T2R 1J5 www.thecalgaryfoundation.org"
In living memory of Doc Seaman, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200.Print This Obituary & Condolences