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SIMPER, Harry Irbine

December 30, 1915 – April 5, 2012

It is with heavy hearts we share the loss of Harry Irbine Simper on April 5th, 2012. He was 96 years old, a true native Calgarian born at the Calgary General Hospital December 30th, 1915. He leaves behind a legacy of love, fond memories and valued friendships. He died after a brief illness and the fullest of lives.

Harry graduated from Crescent Heights High School before he proudly served his country during WWII as a flying officer in the RCAF. He was a flight instructor in southern Alberta and later flew Lancaster bombers off the East Coast based in Halifax. He flew many missions including escort missions across the Atlantic. After WWII he joined Trans Canada Airlines in Lethbridge, moving back to Calgary in 1961 and remaining with Air Canada until he retired in 1980. Harry loved his career with Air Canada where he guided tours all over the world, arranged travel events in Calgary, and was proud to represent Calgary at the 1988 Olympics as Chairman of the Travel Bureau. One of his most enjoyable responsibilities was to organize and travel with the Calgary Stampeders from 1966 to 1980. He served with distinction as a board member of many organizations, including one of his most satisfying at St. David’s United Church where he was also a charter member since 1961.

After retirement Harry changed careers to accounting and continued to work 23 more years to the age of 88. He was an avid curler with the Air Canada league past his 90th year and enjoyed his relationship with the Pionaires. He was also a keen participant with the seniors exercise group at Varsity Community Centre. Harry loved his life with Sylvia, their home and garden and the endearing love of family and friends.

Harry has now taken his last flight home.

Harry is survived by Sylvia, his beloved wife of 33 years; and his loving daughters, Gail (Graham Doyle) Simper and Lark (Alex) McInnis. His love was shared by Sylvia’s daughters, Leanne (Gordon) Serr, Janine McNeill and Vanda (Barry) Nicholls. His grandchildren were shining lights for Harry – Meaghan (Tim), Taylor, Lyndsay (Vince), Courtney (Mike), Kyle, Shayna and Devin. He was also survived by his younger brothers, Bob (Catherine) Simper andTom Simper; and sisters, Dorothy (Gordon) Johnson and Kay (Gary) Heal.

Harry was predeceased by Irene, his first wife of 35 years, and his three younger brothers, Edward, George and Jack.

A Memorial Service will be held at St. David’s United Church (3303 Capitol Hill Crescent N.W., Calgary, Alberta, T2M 2R2) at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, 2012. Condolences may be forwarded through In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. David’s United Church Foundation or the Santuari Hospice – Unit 42 at Peter Lougheed Hospital c/o Calgary Health Trust, 800, 11012 MacLeod Trail S.E., Calgary Alberta T2J 6A5.

In living memory of Harry Simper, 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. Ken & Lyn McNeill :


    Sorry to hear of Harry’s death, but what a great life and a wonderful person. We should all do so well with our time here. We are still in southern Utah so won’t be able to attend the Memorial Service, but will surely be thinking of you.

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  2. Carol Lautermilch :

    Hi Sylvia
    So sorry to hear of your loss and we will certainly be remembering you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Love – Carol

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  3. Rogers & Joann Lehew :

    We have such wonderful memories of Harry and the years he did the travel for the Stampeder’s. When ever I would see him I would ask him “Harry, are we on time?”
    It always brought a smile to his face and ever one around.

    We wish that health would allow us to be at the service tomorrow – but we just can’t get around like we use to do.

    Please know that we are thinking about all of you and we always smile when we think about Harry.

    Rogers and Joann Lehew and family

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  4. Maureen and Paul Martel :

    Dear Sylvia – Paul and I are sorry to hear of Harry’s passing. We always enjoyed our Christmas Pionair luncheons with you two over the past several years. Harry had a long and interesting life, and will be missed by you and your family.
    Maureen and Paul Martel from Canmore

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  5. Del Bannerman :

    Harry , true Gentleman and friend, with lots of joie de vieu….lived a full life and was friend to many..thank you for being in my life Harry

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  6. Cathy Fortune :

    Dear Sylvia
    I was truly saddened to read that Harry had passed. He constantly astounded me at how well and young he looked in his 90s. I haven’t been able to attend the Pionair luncheons for quite a while, so I hadn’t seen Harry for about a year – and now I regret that I hadn’t been to the luncheons.
    My sincerest condolences to you and your family

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  7. Melaine Van Loo :

    Dear Lark,
    I was saddened to learn of your father’s passing, it sounds like he lived a very full life. I have often wondered where you were living and how to get in touch with you. My parents are still in Lethbridge and when I visit them I sometimes drive along 16 St and see our childhood neighborhood. My husband Nicholas and I now live in Calgary. If you would like to get in touch, it would be lovely to see you again. kindest regards, Melaine

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  8. The Long family :

    Dear Sylvia:
    Mom wanted me to pass on our families condolences on Harry’s passing. Rick and I remember meeting you both for lunch in Calgary and we were so impressed with Harry’s love of life.

    Betty, Charles and Rick Long

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