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LEIPER, Hugh William

September 24, 1927 – Didsbury, Alberta
July 27, 2017 – Calgary, Alberta

With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Hugh William Leiper, on Thursday, July 27th, 2017 peacefully and with family by his side. Hugh lived his 89 years with integrity, hard work, honesty and devotion to his family and dedication to the industry he loved. He lived his life on his own terms, his way.

Hugh was born in Didsbury, Alberta, and was raised in the Turner Valley oilfield at the Royalties Mercury Camp. He started roughnecking during WWII at the age of 15. Present at the birth of the contemporary oil industry in Leduc, in 1947, he was the last surviving member of the Atlantic #3 blowout in 1948, which was the largest blowout in North American history until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. At the age of 21, while working for General Petroleums, he became the youngest tool pusher in the history of the oil industry. In 1948, while working on a drilling rig near Unity, Saskatchewan, he met the love of his life Irene Jones, and they were married on June 2, 1949 in Camrose, AB. They were able to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 1999 before Irene’s passing in 2001. Badly injured on a rig in 1954, Hugh switched from the “rough-and-tumble” oilfield contractor sector to safer office work at Great Plains Petroleums and then Pacific Petroleums, where he became Operations Manager. During his 21- year career at Pacific, Hugh became Chairman of the Canadian Drilling Research Association (CDRA). Between 1974 and 1979 he made six trips to Russia, which resulted in a valuable exchange of drilling techniques, Turbo-drill data and improvements which are now extensively used in the Canadian oil industry, and methods for mining for oil, as well as opening up opportunities for investment in the Russian oil sector. Hugh finished his career as Executive Vice-President for Morguard Resources Ltd., a company responsible for managing oil and gas properties for several large Canadian pension funds, including Pensionfund Energy Resources Limited, Ontario Municipal Retirement System (OMERS) and Exchange Resources. In recognition of his many contributions to the Canadian oil industry, in 2002 Hugh was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame. Hugh was quite athletic in his youth and was the catcher on a Turner Valley baseball team that won the Provincial championship. He was a talented hockey player, and turned down an offer from the farm club of the Detroit Red Wings, as he could make more money on the rigs. An avid hockey fan he was an original season ticket holder for the Calgary Flames and rarely missed a game. His family wishes to thank the friendly ushers of the Saddledome, who were always ready to chat and assist him, especially the last few years. He really loved golf and joined the Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club in 1966 and thoroughly enjoyed the game up until he had a stroke in August 2016. He had an unbelievable memory and could easily recite incidences and people’s names from the past. This resulted in his children hearing many, many times over, his antics during his teen years, and his early experiences in the oil industry. He loved being around his children and grandchildren.

Hugh’s memory will be cherished by his children Hugh Darryl (Pam), Debra Schmidt (Ken), Sandra Bass (Brian), grandchildren Hugh Alexander, Parker, Kendra, Gavin, Chris and twelve great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and extended family. He loved his dogs (but always fed them too much) and leaves behind his beloved and loyal pooch “Winston”.

Hugh was predeceased by his wife Irene, parents Alex and Zina Leiper, siblings Neil, Jean, Robert and Norma and one son Gary Blain.

After a private family interment, a public celebration of Hugh’s life will take place at the Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club, 12501 – 14th Street S.W. on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through The family would like to thank the medical staff of Unit 81 at the Foothills Hospital and the staff of United Living Garrison Green for providing Hugh with such dignified and kind care.

If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Cochrane Humane Society, 62 Griffin Industrial Pointe, Cochrane, AB, T4C 0A3, Telephone: (403) 932-2072, or the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Alberta, 200, 119 – 14th Street N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 1Z6 Telephone: (403) 264-5549,
or a charity of choice.

In living memory of Hugh Leiper, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Hilda Mari Hansen

    My heart is heavy as is all of yours. Hugh was my favourite. He will be sorely missed. He left a legacy. Love Hilda Mari

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  2. boydol Jan Boydol

    My sincere condolence on the loss of your father , Hugh.
    He left a legacy not to be surpassed and I know you will both miss him dearly
    a loving father and mentor.
    Jan Boydol

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  3. To Hugh, Debra and Sandy: Very sorry for your loss. I enjoyed knowing Hugh and working with him at Kanenergy. I assume Hugh will be in touch with me re the royalty distribution. Bob McGuire

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  4. Nancy Hawthorne

    I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. Coming so soon after our father’s passing makes this especially hard. Your Dad and I became great friends when I worked with the Petroleum Society and he shared many of his stories with me. He was a wonderful man and a great inspiration to anyone that knew him. We will all miss him.
    Nancy (Laureshen) Hawthorne

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  5. Arlene Hamilton

    My thoughts and condolences to the Leiper family at this time of loss.

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  6. My sincere condolences.

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  7. My most sincere condolences to the Leiper family. I first met Hugh when I worked as a roughneck for him in 1950’s. While our careers took us far apart we nevertheless remained very good friends and it was always great to meet with him to discuss the major issues of the day.
    Gerry Maier

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  8. Hi Debbie, Sandi and Hugh,

    So sorry to hear of your dads passing! He was a very cool person.

    That’s quite the life he lived. I remember my parents saying your dad was one of the most respected people in the oil business.

    I’m not family but it’s still sad to loose someone I’ve known since I was five years old.

    RIP Mr Leiper!

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  9. My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to you Sandi my dear friend, and to the Leiper Family. Although I never met your father, I could tell he was a wonderful man and very proud of his family by the stories you told. Take strength in all those memories you have with him, and comfort in knowing he is with his beloved wife Irene again.

    Love Darci Beamish

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  10. Our sincere condolences to the Leiper family from the Jones family. Even though we were distant relatives I remember him well. He was often thought of and mentioned in family conversations. He had a great life and family. He is at peace now and can join Aunt Irene in his new life.
    Jim & Theresa

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  11. Cathy M Zuback
    My heart is heavy and saddened to know that your dad has passed on but will be reunited with his lovely Irene.
    I so enjoyed our conversations over the years when our paths would cross at family gatherings. When I decided to venture north to be a medic I had the pleasure of many work related stories since I was now in the industry. It was truly a joy for me to have him share them with me. Always a pleasant warming smile when he welcomed me and I will miss that and his golf vests.
    Peaceful blessings to all of you as he becomes the guardian angel for you and a wonderful legacy of great grandchildren. Hugh will be remembered as a respected man with strong values and love of family.
    With you in spirit this week.
    Love to you all Deb and Ken , Sandi and Brian ,Hugh and Pam and all of the kids who were lucky enough to have sat on his lap!

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  12. To all my Western Cousins and their families … sincere condolences to each of you. I know that you will hold special memories of my Dear Uncle Hugh as will I. Thinking of you ALL with love and compassion at this time of your loss of a Special Man.
    With fond memories,
    In Sympathy,
    Linda Jones, Graig and Brett Weston and Donald and Denise Jones. Ottawa Ontario

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  13. Linda McAtamney

    To you and all your family my sincere condolences on the passing of your father. It is a rite of passage when your parents are no longer with you. Treasure the wonderful and loving memories that you have and know that he is always with you.
    Love, Linda McAtamney

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  14. Hugh, Debbie & Sandy,
    I was saddened to hear about the passing of your Dad. I know he was proud of all of you and all within your family. I know you will cherish the memories of your dad and think of him and your mom often.
    On behalf of Carol and myself our thoughts and prayers are with you..

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  15. Carol Larsen and John Masters

    We were so lucky to have the greatest neighbor on block. Hugh always was there to talk to or help us with little things if we were on vacation. We will always be grateful and have wonderful memories of him walking Winston every day!
    Carol Larsen and John Masters Kristin and Nicole

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