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RIDDELL, Clayton Howard

July 13, 1937 –    Treherne, Manitoba   

September 15, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

It is with immense sadness we announce that Clay Riddell, 81, passed over to the other side on Saturday September 15, 2018 in Calgary, AB from the arms of his close family. Clay was predeceased by his beloved wife Vi of 49 years. Clay/Dad/Papa will be lovingly remembered by his eldest daughter Lynne, his daughter Sue, son-in-law Mike Rose and grandsons Brendan, Jeremy and Aidan, his son Jim, daughter-in-law Jo-Ann, grandson Tyson, granddaughter-in-law Sofi, granddaughter Madison and grandson Jackson, and his daughter Brenda, son-in-law Derek O’Neill and grandsons Cooper and Jimmy. Clay will also be lovingly remembered by his special partner Maria-Liisa Barnby, and children and grandchildren Marcie and Neil MacKimmie (Ben and Layla), and Mark Barnby and Sara Haid (Taj). We all live in deep gratitude for his love and being.

Clay Riddell was born on a farm near Treherne Manitoba, the surprise son of Cecil Howard Riddell and Bertha Maude Taylor and younger brother of Evelyn (Hillcoff) and Lillian (Kerr). After losing the family farm during the depression years, the family eventually moved to Winnipeg and Clay witnessed first-hand that embracing opportunity and applying some hard work and ingenuity to it seemed to ‘make everything work out’.

Clay earned a B.Sc. in Geology from the University of Manitoba. His first summer jobs in northern Manitoba, where he worked as a camp attendant and cook, set up his love of exploration and the north. He graduated in 1959 and moved to Edmonton to begin his career in the oil and gas industry from which he never retired. He started out as an exploration geologist with The Standard Oil Company of California in 1959.  Clay spent many summers mapping surface geology in the Northwest and Yukon Territories, gaining valuable field experience that is rarely acquired today.  By 1969 the entrepreneurial spirit in Clay took over and he left Chevron to start his own business, C.H. Riddell Geological Consultants Ltd. In 1971 he incorporated Paramount Oil & Gas Ltd., a private oil and gas company and in December 1978 the assets accumulated were put into a public company, Paramount Resources Ltd.

Purely just driven to ‘build something worthwhile’, Clay’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit built a company now celebrating its 40-year anniversary and his legacy can be seen in every element of the Canadian oil patch.  He pioneered exploration techniques in northeastern Alberta, discovering and bringing on stream over a trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That same vision, drive and love of the north led Paramount to activities in the Cameron Hills, Liard, Colville Lake and Mackenzie Delta areas of the Northwest Territories where he was proud of the mutually respectful relationships forged with local communities that benefitted everyone and got things done. And as the industry evolved, Clay continued to be a pioneer, always setting up for the exciting opportunities yet to come. Clay, through Paramount, managed to grow and compete successfully with the giants in the industry, exploring, developing, producing and marketing Canada’s precious hydrocarbon resources while maintaining a controlling interest in Paramount Resources. Throughout his 60-year career, he unselfishly stepped in to lead industry on many fronts, both formally and informally, transitioning to free markets and helping regulators and politicians make informed decisions on many important issues that have shaped the Canadian oil and gas industry and undoubtedly Alberta and Canada’s prosperity.

Clay had a calm efficiency in his way of being that allowed him to transition within every day to include all the things that were important to him. He rarely missed his weekly curling night tradition for close to 40 years and embraced his golf games where winning a toonie brought him huge pleasure. It was that quality of just being ‘one of the guys’ in everything he did which made him truly special and in a class all his own. His kids and his grandkids were his number one priority. He was ever-present as a coach or just a fan at all things important, somehow fitting everything in, encouraging, caring and deeply present in each moment.

For all of those he so humbly touched, it is his family that was his greatest source of joy. His most special times were spent with Vi, and then Maria-Liisa, his children and his grandchildren. His lessons came by living example. When Vi passed six and a half years ago, Clay made a choice to continue to live life to the fullest, a lesson that we all will embrace and cherish. Memories are created when you spend time together and love and laugh and we have countless joyful moments to cherish from golf courses to ice rinks to ski hills to horse shows to Makena sunsets and beaches, beautiful meals shared and journeys around the world chasing adventures and our favorite sports teams, including the Flames.

Clay cared deeply about making a difference to his family first, his friends, his profession, his community, his country and simply to humanity. He became a co-owner of the Calgary Flames in August 2003, when the team was in need of stability, not because it was a good investment but because he believed it was good for Calgary. He was also instrumental in bringing the PGA Champions Tour event, the Shaw Charity Classic, to Calgary in 2013, benefitting hundreds of thousands of Alberta children over its six-year run. He loved to partner with inspiring people with a great idea and the motivation and talent to make it happen and see it through. His business and philanthropic contributions were many and varied; always trusting in the ability of the teams he had the privilege to become part of to make the world a better place. The world is definitely a better place because of Clay Riddell.

A memorial celebration will be held at First Alliance Church, 12345 – 40 Street S.E., Calgary on Monday September 24, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. Guests are invited to stay for a reception to follow. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

Our family wishes to extend our sincere appreciation to all the medical and nursing staff on Unit 61 at the Foothills Hospital for their professional and compassionate care during his stay.    If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, 2888 Shaganappi Trail N.W., Calgary, AB T3B 6A8, Telephone: (403) 955-8818.

In living memory of Clay Riddell, 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. Chris Kostopoulos :

    Jim:

    Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of your father. He was a giant in the industry and even bigger on the charitable front. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

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  2. Dear Susan and Jim
    Your father was one of the most respected figures in the Canadian financial world. I will always remember him holdind court late into the night with groups of analysts and bankers at conferences. Heartfelt condolences. Peter

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  3. Dear Riddell Family;
    Our sincere condolences on the loss of Clay he was a great man and a great guy. Sincere regards, the Mooney Family.

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  4. Lorna Morishita :

    Jim, Sue, and Lynn,
    Please accept my sincere condolences at the loss of your father. His philanthropy and leadership were an inspiration to me. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

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  5. To the Riddell family.

    Please accept my sincere condolenscence for the loss of your Dad and Grandfather. I always felt it an honor to work for Paramount Resources and your Dad. He was always so good to me and just a nice person to work for. My respect for him and all of you was immense.

    You are and will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  6. Suzanne Jackett :

    Clay’s impact on Between Friends and the entire community is beyond measure. He was a quiet leader and philanthropist who will be forever missed. All of us at Between Friends extend our deepest sympathies to his family & friends

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  7. To the Riddell family,
    Please accept our condolences for this tremendous loss. Clay was just a pleasure to see and to talk with. He was the Chair of Newalta for many years, and we always enjoyed his visits and especially his seemingly unscripted presentations at the annual meeting. What a wonderful man with a deep sense of community and citizenship. He is missed.

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  8. Douglas Cridland :

    Dear ML & Family,

    All out thoughts are with you.

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  9. Louella (Mayes)Tamblyn and family :

    Sorry to hear about Clayton’s passing he was a great man and it is always sad to lose a family member (cousin). He will be sadly missed

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  10. I am very sorry to hear about Mr. Riddell’s passing. he was a great man, and it is a great loss to the community.

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  11. I will always have a warm feeling when I think of Clay. He was kind to me in business from a young age and treated me with respect far easier than perhaps I had earned. That was his gift, treating people equally, its sorely missed in this world. Fortunately it runs in the family, my thoughts are with you at this sad time.

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  12. Mark and Sheri Snaychuk :

    To Sue, Mike and the boys:

    We would like to express our deepest sympathies to your family after the passing of your father. We have great respect for all the work that he did for children’s charities.

    His influence will be sorely missed but the hope he brought to so many children and their families will not be forgotten.

    Love Mark, Sheri, Justine and Geoff

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  13. To the Riddell Family,
    We are truly sorry for your loss. Clay was so incredibly kind, generous, and warm hearted. He touched every facet of Calgary and beyond, with his philanthropic work and how he somehow made everyone feel like they were his neighbours. The entire Reboh family will miss him dearly and so will everyone else he touched. We are so grateful we were able to share many wonderful moments together and will always cherish those memories. With deepest condolences, The Reboh Family

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  14. To Sue, Jim, Brenda, and Lynn,
    I hope you and your families are managing through this tough time. It has been a great privilege to have known Clay and worked for him. I will always treasure my years at Paramount. Clay was one of a kind and left a great legacy.

    Brad Wright and family

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  15. Shelly Propp Lambe :

    Jim, Sue, Brenda and Lynne

    We are so sorry for your loss. Your Dad was always so wonderful to my Dad. I am so thankful that my dad had such a good mentor to him. His mentorship in business was outstanding, but the most treasured aspect was the strong family values he instilled. Although we are not family, I have known all of you most of my life. I feel this loss with you as though we were. To the memories that we get to keep forever, the Propp Family.

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  16. Jim, Sue, Brenda and Lynne
    I first met your father in 1968 when he was working across the hall in Elveden House. I found out that he had recently joined Canyon Meadows which I had joined as well. Phil Evans joined and then Jack McManus. We played often as a foursome until I retired to Canmore in 2000 and then we played golf in Canmore – Howie Ward joined us for many years after Phil had retired.
    I will miss Clay as a long time friend and as a wonderful man.
    My thoughts and Pauline’s are with you all. Our thoughts are also for Maria Liisa.

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  17. Jim and Sue,
    You and your family are and have been in my prayers since I heard of Clay’s death. I am among un-numbered thousands who are thankful for his life, his work and his character. He was extraordinary. That mould is now broken.

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  18. To the Riddell family:

    While I never had the opportunity to formally meet Clay, I did get to see him speak at numerous shareholder meetings over the years. My business has had the privilege as well of providing services to Trilogy and Paramount for some time. It is clear to me the culture of success and limitless imagination and innovation I have experienced in those companies comes from the foundation Clay laid years ago and fostered for decades. I have always admired him. My sincere condolences.

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  19. Yvonne & Bob Peterson :

    Sue, Jim Brenda & Lynne
    Our deepest condolences to you and your families on the passing of your father.

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  20. Tammy Brogden-Dick :

    Jim, Brenda and the rest of the Riddell Family

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

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  21. Clay will be missed by so many, I was proud to know him and proud of his accomplishments with Children’s Charity through Canyon Meadows. We owe him a great deal and his important Legacy will live long and proud.

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  22. Mr Riddell was a “go-giver” as well as a go “go-getter”

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  23. Sue, Lynne, Brenda and Jim,

    My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with all of you. Your father was such a special man. He will be missed by all who knew him.

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  24. Iconic.

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  25. Heather Hayes
    My deepest sympathy to all of the Riddell Family. Someone as special as “Mr. Riddell” will never be forgotten. He will remain in our hearts forever.

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  26. The staff at Universal Geomatics Solutions Corp. would like to pass on condolences to the Riddell family. Clay will be dearly missed by all his friends in the oil and gas community.

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  27. To the Riddell Family:

    We are saddened to here of Clays Passing.
    Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with you all.

    Sandra Llewellyn and Family

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  28. I will always remember meeting Clay for the first time in Invermere 28 years ago. It has been a honour working for him the past 16 years. I will miss our occasional jabs about our beloved hockey teams too.

    My sincerest condolences to the entire family. You should all be very proud of Clay’s accomplishments and the legacy he left. He was as inspirational to the industry and the community as he was to your family. He was a remarkable man.

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  29. Peter & Terry Hurst. :

    Sue, Lynn, Brenda, Jim and ML.
    It is with heartfelt sadness we both share in Clay’s passing.
    His love for horses will be our memory of him along with our time at Clayborne.

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  30. David McConnell :

    My deepest and sincerest condolence to the Riddell family. May he rest in eternal peace.

    I lost a great and dear friend.

    David McConnell

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  31. Thinking of you Sue, and your family at this sad time.

    Mary Cameron

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  32. Bruce McFarlane :

    Dear Sue
    Janice and I were very sad to hear of your father’s passing.
    You family has a lost a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and the city, province and county have lost a titan of a man who will continue to have a great influence on all of us.
    Our deepest sympathies.
    Bruce McFarlane and Janice Heard

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  33. Sue, Jim, Lynne and family.

    I offer my condolences and was sorry to hear of Clay’s passing. I know he will be missed dearly.

    Clay defined humility, was a great Oilman and a wonderful father and grandfather.

    Having the opportunity to work with him and learn from him was something I have cherished my whole life.

    My prayers and thoughts are with you.

    Bob Flynn

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  34. Linda Stamboltas :

    Sue,

    I am so sorry to hear of Clay’s passing. You are in my prayers and thoughts. Much love to you and yours.

    Linda and Angelo Stamboltas

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  35. It is with profound sadness that I have learned of Clay’s passing.
    I well remember his acts of creative kindness to all that were so blessed to have been able to know him.

    To his family I want to send my deepest condolences, and a special prayer for the remembrance and safekeeping of this uniquely wonderful man’s soul.
    May God Bless You, And Keep You Clay.

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  36. Patricia Balfour :

    Lynne, Sue, Jim, Brenda and ML:
    Uncle Clay was my very first love and my heart is broken. How special it was for Ken, Dan and I to be part of the last family dinner and to see this guy one more time mere days before he passed. All our love, Pat & Dan Balfour and Ken Hillcoff.

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  37. Lynne, Sue , Jim and Brenda
    Your family was always an inspiration to me. You could see how important family was to both your Dad and Mom when you would watch them around their kids. I have such fond memories competing in show jumping with Sue and Brenda and always knew that either Mrs. Riddell or Mr. Riddell were close by. Add in the fun times at Windermere and what great times!
    Sorry for your loss
    Jill Marshall

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  38. Lynne,Sue,Jim & families
    Sincere condolences on your father passing.
    It was a pleasure working for him and you in the formative years of his company.

    Warren, Maria, Drew. Chris & Jason Hartt

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  39. To the Riddell Family,

    Please accept my deepest condolences on Clay’s passing. He was & he is a highest standard of enterpreneurity, dedication & humility. To be a Giant in so many aspects he is the most humble person I’ve ever met. I’m very proud to work for such great company & honored together with many Calgarians to be a part of Clay’s great legacy. My prayers are with your family in this sad time.

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  40. Dennis & Jacqueline Kolesar :

    To the all the RIDDELL family – our condolences. Clay will truly be missed by all he touched. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    With love, light and peace

    Dennis & Jacquie Kolesar

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  41. Sue, Jim, Lynne and Brenda,
    Jennifer and I were so sad to hear the news of Clay’s passing on Sunday from Pat.
    My heart breaks for the entire family during these difficult times.
    I consider myself extremely fortunate to have known Clay over the years through Pat and the Hillcoff family.
    I always looked up to him as he was always so humble and kind and he will truly be missed by all.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family during this sad and difficult time.
    Jamie and Jennifer Armitage

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  42. Dr. Brent Scott, Director and Dr. Naweed Syed, Scientific Director, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute :

    On behalf of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and our members working in the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the Vi Riddell Pain and Rehabilitation Centre, we would like to express our deepest regrets for your loss of a father and grandfather.

    His generosity and support of our community, child health, the Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital Research Institute has already benefited many children in our community and will continue to do so in the future.

    Please accept our heartfelt condolences.

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  43. Dear Mike, Sue and the Riddell Family
    I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Riddell. Please accept our deepest Condolences, our thoughts and preys are with your family at this very difficult time.

    The Morey’s

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  44. To Jim and Riddell Family,
    My personal condolences to you and all your family members. So much can be said about Clay, but his extensive reach into so many peoples’ lives through all his activities and actions is a living legacy to his care and compassion for so many in the Community.
    Many blessings to the Riddell Family,
    Tim Hearn

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  45. Sue, Mike, Brendan, Jeremy and Aidan,
    My deepest sympathies on Clay’s recent passing. As Brendan’s hockey coach for a few seasons I had the opportunity to meet Clay at hockey and baseball games. It was easy to see, despite achieving exceptional personal success, he remained a truly humble and genuine person who will definitely be missed.

    Ed Serna

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  46. shaun medlicott :

    Deepest condolences. Thank you Clay for doing so much for so many. Legendary generosity and kindness demonstrated for decades.
    The Medlicott family

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  47. To the Riddell Family – sorry for your loss. Clay was regarded as a community giant in many respects – among them business, sports and community building. Clay’s departure will leave a huge void in the fabric of our city. He was loved and will be missed and remembered fondly by many.

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  48. I was very saddened to hear of Clay’s passing. My thoughts are with you. Clay was the first to introduce himself and welcome me when I walked into my first big CAPP meeting in 1995, getting out of his chair and walking over to me. Over the years I came to appreciate his kind support for the work we were doing. Clay will be missed.

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  49. Kevin, Kathy, Andrew and Delaney Franson :

    Sue, Mike, Aidan and family please accept our condolences over the loss of your father, father in law and grandfather. Hopefully your memory of Clay will fill your heart with warm memories and joy.

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  50. What a huge loss for our country.
    Clay represented the finest in successful entrepreneurship, family values and support for the principles of economic and personal responsibility that are the foundation of our country’s success.

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  51. Randy Donkersloot :

    Dear Sue,
    I would like to offer my deepest condolences to you, Mike, Brendan, Jeremy and Aiden on the passing of your father. I never knew Clayton well ( just from conversations at the hockey rink) but I very much admired and respected him. He had achieved phenomenal success in business but yet was a humble, friendly and engaging individual. May he Rest in Peace.

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  52. Lois Rutherford :

    So sorry to hear of Clayton’s passing.
    Clayton was a very dear cousin, and spent many summer vacations at my parents farm in Manitoba. My folks, Bernice and Walter Riddell, were very proud of him and of all of his accomplishments.
    Jim, Lynne, Sue and Brenda, you are all in my thoughts and prayers. You will have many happy memories of your Dad.
    Sincerely….Lois Rutherford – Sherwood Park, Alberta.

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  53. Mike & Donna Festeryga :

    Lynn, Sue and Jim. Very sorry to hear of your loss. Clay always made his employees and their families feel appreciated.

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  54. Margaret Fullerton, RN :

    On behalf of the Alberta Children’s Hospital patients, families, staff, physicians and volunteers, I am sending our condolences to the Riddell family. Our Dads and Grandfathers hold such a special place in our hearts and lives, and when they are gone, it is a profound sense of loss. We will miss Mr. Riddell; his kind presence and generosity has provided a legacy for our care, and for our patients and families. Our hearts are with you all now during this difficult time.

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  55. Ronald and Margeret Livingston :

    We send our heart felt condolences to the Clay Riddell family for their loss.
    God bless,

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  56. Lynn, Sue, Jim, Brenda and families,
    I was fortunate to first meet meet Clay 55 years ago at Iron Creek Yukon/NWT and I had the good fortune to spend 17 years working for him at Paramount Resources Ltd until my retirement in 2004.
    Over the years, my respect and admiration for him has continued to grow.
    Please accept our deepest sympathy,
    Hugh and Barbara Klaassen

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  57. Riddell Family, I am so very sorry for your loss. My dad, Ken Harris first knew Clay during their tenure at Standard Oil, where they developed a mutual respect. Later Clay asked my dad to join Paramount as Vice President of Exploration and Finance, which was a position he loved until his retirement. Much of the reason was working with and for Clay. Because I was still at home, I was privileged to meet both Clay and Vi several times over the years at company functions even visiting their acreage a time or two. My father spoke very highly of them both, and they were both gracious to my mother. I hope knowing the impact Clay made in the lives of others, in our city, the oil industry and the country will comfort you during this difficult time.

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  58. Chris LeGallais :

    To the Riddell Family:

    Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss. It was my great privilege to have worked for Clay at Paramount Resources – so many years ago now but his contributions to my career, through the numerous experiences and the lessons learned, has been immeasurable. He will be greatly missed by many in the O&G Industry and the Greater Community.

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  59. Marcello Rapini :

    A truly amazing man who lead by example and really cared about those around him.
    He was the smartest man in the room and the most humble man in the room.
    He always lead by example and left behind a legacy than most of us can only dream about.
    God Bless Him and All his family!!

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  60. I had the pleasure of meeting Clay in an elevator a year ago. We talked about the Flames and though our encounter was brief, I was struck by how humble and approachable he was.
    Through my time at Paramount, I have seen Clay’s humility reflected in the organization he founded.
    Please accept my deepest condolences.

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  61. Harry Hobbs & Ruth Copot :

    Sue & Family –
    So sad to hear of Clay’s passing and our inability to attend his celebration of life as I was having a medical procedure. Your Dad was an incredible man with many accomplishments. I think the things about him that stand out to me are his commitment to family, friends and community. Although we were not close friends, our time at the Oilmens and the occasional golf game gave me the chance to talk with him about business issues, sports and family. While we did not always agree, his points of view always gave me something to seriously consider. He was a giant in our city, province and country and I know you will miss him greatly. I know from experience that there will be many times you will think of your Dad and it will trigger great memories. All the best, Harry Hobbs & Ruth Copot.

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  62. Sue, Jim, Brenda, and Lynne
    My sincere condolences on the loss of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

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  63. Donna Beauchamp :

    Lynne, Sue, Jim and Brenda

    It was one of my great pleasure to work at Paramount Resources. Clay was so humble and kind. My sincere condolences, my thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of loss.

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  64. Hans-Dieter Zschach :

    Jim,
    I was saddened when I heard your Dad passed away. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss.
    Clay was a good man and I will always admire him.
    Hans

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  65. Bruce and Jill Livingston :

    Jim, Brenda, Sue, Lynn

    Our deepest condolences on the passing of Clay. He was an extraordinary, humble, kind hearted man, a true inspiration. Our thoughts are with you at this time.
    Bruce and Jill Livingston

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  66. Jacqueline Kelly :

    I wish to express my condolences to the Riddell family,
    I lost my father, Phillip Christie, 11 years ago, who was a long time employee of Paramount Resources. He respected and admired Mr. Riddell and I am very sorry for your loss.

    Jacqueline Kelly

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  67. Kathy Marinakos :

    Sue, Mike and your beautiful boys,
    We send you our sincere condolences for the loss of your special dad and grandfather and wish you the peace that will come from treasuring your love and memories of him forever. With all our love,

    Kathy Marinakos and family

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  68. Verne and Dawn Johnson :

    Clay was a giant and a prince of a man. He was taken for too early, as was Vi.
    They were both wonderful people in my experience and I was enriched by it.
    Dawn and I are so very sorry for your loss.

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  69. Dear Sue,
    I was saddened to hear of your dad’s passing. I hope that you, Mike , and the rest of your family are comforted by fond memories.
    Take care,
    James Fong

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  70. Helena Huckabee :

    Sue, Mike, and all the Rose Family,
    Our deepest sympathy at the news of Clay passing on. He was such a terrific father, grandfather, philanthropist, and businessman. I even remember him as a model of success for me as a young engineering student with you, Sue, so many years ago. It is obviously a huge loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you all. May you feel God’s comfort and provision even while I expect the pain of his absence is wide and deep. – The Huckabee Family

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  71. Teddie Laframboise :

    It is with sincere sadness that we heard of the passing of Clay. I will fondly remember how he took my husband Andy and I, total strangers really, into his home on the hill to stay for Brenda and Derek’s wedding treating us as a member of the family. How so very humble and hospitable of him. It was so amazing to meet the family at that wedding.
    Everyone was so kind and friendly. Clay’s home was the most amazing mix of geology, sculptures, art, gardens, collectibles and comfort. I cannot imagine how much all of you will miss him. Our thoughts are with all of you in this period of great loss.

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  72. Shannon Clarke :

    What a significant loss for everyone! As a kid, I remember thinking that Mr Riddell had the cutest, most genuine smile. As a Social Worker, I appreciate everything that Mr. and Mrs. Riddell did for communities who need people just like them. I smiled every time I saw the name attached to something good. My condolences to the family for this loss.

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