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ROBERT LAWRENCE (LARRY) PURDY, Q.C.

May 15, 1936 – April 1, 2019

Robert Lawrence, “Larry”, Purdy, Q.C., beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed away on Monday, April 1, 2019 at the age of 82.

Larry was born on May 15, 1936 in the Mission District of Calgary, to his parents, Clarence and Elizabeth (Beth) Purdy.  He is survived by his loving wife, Helen Hammond and his four children, their spouses and his cherished grandchildren: Caroline (Carey) Lindsay and Riley Bracko; Kellie (Ryan) Kelsey, Kayla, Connor and Cole Cartwright; Rob (Julia) Spencer and Jessica Purdy; and Brad (Shannon) Isla, Fiana and Torin Purdy.   Larry is also survived by his nephews, Trevor, Todd and Tyler; Barbara Purdy, the mother of his four children, and Helen’s children and her grandchildren: Cynthia, Calum and Lachlan Dyer; Michele (Josh) Helen Gail, Deirdre and Adrienne Beaumont; and Elliot Hammond. Larry was predeceased by his father, Clarence in 1974, his mother, Elizabeth (Beth) in 1970, his beloved sister, Myrna Bowman in 2005 and his brother-in-law, Roger Bowman in 1994.

Larry met his first wife Barbara Williams in 1965 and they went on to raise their four children in the community of Lakeview. Larry was fondly referred to by many, including his children’s friends, as “Lawrence of Lakeview”. It was a title given to him by his “brother”/brother-in-law, Roger Bowman. Larry loved that name!

As a youngster, Larry was known for his feisty demeanour and was considered one of the neighbourhood tough guys, or so he thought.   He loved recounting stories of living in Mission and his childhood.  Larry excelled at sports – especially hockey and football. He played hockey with the Calgary Buffalo organization and was always very proud to show his children and grandchildren his childhood hockey photo hanging in the Corral and Saddledome. He was a fierce football player at Rideau Junior High, Central High and with the Calgary Mustangs. His love of hockey and football carried into his adult years as a Flames and Stampeders season ticket holder for many years.

Larry’s love of dogs was legendary. He greeted every dog he ever met with a loving, boisterous saying of “dog friend” and always gave them lots of love.

After attending Cliff Bungalow Elementary, Rideau and Central, Larry began his university years at the U of A, Calgary branch. He then ventured north to Edmonton and went to U of A for a year, combining an Arts and Law Degree. He completed his law degree in 1960 in Vancouver, at UBC.

Larry had many jobs before he became a lawyer. They included driving a Brewster bus up in Banff, serving in the silver service dining car on the predecessor to VIA Rail, working as a labourer at the ammonia plant and as a summer student with the firm now known as Bennett Jones. He was a “life long learner” and ferocious reader/book collector.  His love of learning even included learning new languages and horseback riding lessons in his later years.

After law school Larry traveled through Europe for a year where he hitchhiked as his main form of transportation.  Upon his return to Calgary he was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1962.   He articled to Thomas Burnet at the firm now known as Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer, was mentored by Frank Burnet and went on to practice with Ray Fisher.  Over the years Larry involved his family in his practice. It started with his father, Clarence working as his bookkeeper and the tradition of taking his children down to work on Saturday mornings at the Lancaster and Pacific Buildings. His former wife, Barbara worked in the office for many years, as did his daughter, Kellie. Larry went on to practice with Robert (Bob) Smyth for many years. His longest partnership was with his daughter, Caroline in their firm, Purdy & Purdy.   Shortly before his retirement, he worked with Garth Dymond. Larry was named a Queen’s Counsel in 1991. As both a small firm and sole practitioner, Larry took great pride in serving his clients with integrity. He had an amazing way of engaging his clients in conversation and taking the time to really get to know their story. Many clients became dear friends and generations of families sought his and later, Caroline’s counsel. Larry loved the law and practiced for over 50 years in Calgary. Perhaps one of his greatest gifts was the amazing way he could strike up conversations with even those he didn’t know. This exemplified his strong belief in the Golden Rule – “do onto others as you would have them do onto you”.

Larry was actively involved in politics in the early Conservative years and never missed a chance to talk politics with his friends.  He was also a very proud Mason, Shriner and Kiwanian, as well as a volunteer coach with his children’s soccer and hockey teams.

His faith was strong and evident throughout his life. He was a long-time member and Elder at Grace Presbyterian Church – “just down the block” from his beloved grandmother’s (Flora Lindsay Brown) house.

Larry was blessed to meet Helen in 2006 and they married at Grace Presbyterian Church in 2007.  He loved Helen dearly and she was a great support to him. They enjoyed their years together in their Country Club Estates home.  They enjoyed spending time at the Glencoe, Ranchmen’s Club and Calgary Golf and Country Club.   Many summers were spent at Lake of The Woods and Christmas was often celebrated with Helen’s family in Winnipeg. They also travelled to Vancouver Island during the summer, where Helen’s daughter, Cynthia and her family lived. They enjoyed an extended trip to Russia, the Balkans and Finland, and fondly remember their trip to Hawaii with Rob and his family. Larry loved spending time with his grandchildren and supported them in all their activities. From time spent out at the ranch riding horseback, cheering at rinks, fields and school events, to simply hanging out with them at home and around town. You could certainly see that all his grandchildren loved their “Pa” very much. Larry and Helen shared a love and pride in all sixteen grandchildren.

A Celebration of Larry’s Life will be held at Grace Presbyterian Church (1009 15th Ave SW, Calgary, AB) on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 1:30 p.m., with reception to follow at the Calgary Golf & Country Club (5788 Station A, Calgary, AB) . Dress Code is Business Casual (absolutely no jeans or t-Shirts). A private family graveside service will be held at Burnsland Cemetery on Saturday, April 13th at 10 a.m.

Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family at www.mcinnisandholloway.com. To honour Larry and his “dog friends”, donations may be made to the Calgary Humane Society (4455 110th Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB, www.calgaryhumane.ca)  In living memory of Larry Purdy, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB  T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

Special thanks to the caregivers who provided compassionate care for our father/grandfather and husband during his final months.

Larry will be deeply missed by his wife, Helen, his children, grandchildren and his many friends and extended family.  As Larry would often say, “Count Your Blessings”, “Keep the Faith” and “Pax Vobiscum” (Peace Be With You).

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Condolence Messages

  1. Sincere sympathies to all of Mr. Purdy’s loved ones. I grew up in Lakeview and have many fond memories of your family…I don’t think your parents ever missed one of our soccer games. They didn’t just show up and sit on the sidelines. Mr. Purdy ran up and down the sidelines with every play while your mom filmed. I especially remember his home office was truly impressive and seemed massive to a kid — multiple desks and couches, books everywhere and a very impressive James Bond movie library just waiting for Kellie and I to kick back and enjoy when we had the house to ourselves. Lakeview was a great place to grow up and it was because of parents like yours.

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  2. Condolences to Larry’s family from the McNamee’s, Jim, Don and Bill. Larry was a friend of ours and fellow lawyer of Jim who was once a housemate of Larry, Roger Bowman and a couple of other lawyers

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  3. Very sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. I shall miss a jovial friend.

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  4. Michele Doctoroff

    I worked with Mr. Purdy for a brief time, and appreciated his kindness, insights and energy. His was a life well lived that touched many. Condolences to the entire family.

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  5. Hi Brad, Rob,
    Sorry to hear of your dads passing. Amazing story/life. Hope you and everyone is doing well under the circumstances.

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  6. I was very saddened to learn of Larry’s passing. Larry was a man of integrity and he had a very kind soul. I will miss our conversations, his words of wisdom and our valued friendship.
    Caroline, my deepest condolences to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

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  7. Dearest Helen,
    So sorry to see the passing of Larry.
    We always enjoyed your company at the Stampede BBQ and little chats in the neighbourhood.( Country Club Estates.
    We enjoyed Larry so much and miss you too in the cul de sac.
    May the memories that you hold dear bring you comfort in this sad time.
    With fond thoughts of you at this difficult time.
    Kathy and Ken Sissons

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  8. Robert was a classmate at Central High in Diana Snow’s [my sister] class. Bob was also an acquaintance of mine, including membership at The Knights of the Round
    Table, etc. I’ll miss not seeing Bob at the Glencoe Club, business consulting and my personal condolences to the family.
    Don Snow, Architect retired; Calgarian since 1942.

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  9. Dolorèse Carruthers

    I was very saddened to hear of Mr. Purdy’s passing. I really enjoyed our many conversations over the years while he was practising estate law. He was so very proud of his family. Sincere Condolences to you Caroline and the entire family. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you during this very difficult time.
    Dolorese Carruthers

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  10. Norman Steinberg

    My sincere condolences to the Purdy Family. After attending school with Robert many years ago, we met again in our office building on 4th and 11th. He was always pleasant and had a smile for everyone. He will be missed.
    Norman Steinberg and the Paragon Family of Companies.

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  11. Kelly, Ryan and family – I am very sorry to learn of your father’s passing. I hope in time that fond and happy memories replace the grief of the moment. Make the most of and take comfort in this time with family and friends. My thoughts are with you, Alan K

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  12. On behalf of my sister Miriam, both of us also from the old Mission district, with Miriam being especially close to sister Myrna (and Roger) and a big fan of Larry’s, our deepest condolences to the family and friends of a very special man.

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  13. Very sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. He was truly a wonderful gentlemen. My condolences to the family.

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  14. Gord and Lois Duncan

    I articled under Larry in 72 on the first floor of the Lancaster Bldg. He was a great mentor and watched over me – even late one night. I joined the CF as a lawyer and we kept up our friendship even at a long distance. Later, after being posted to Calgary, Lois and I started doing a lot with Larry and I particularly recall an evening spend in the backyard of his Lakeview resident watching an amazing display of Northern lights.
    He was a good man, a great mentor and we are saddened to hear of his passing.
    Our condolences and prayers to his family.

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  15. It seems like only yesterday we were at Rideau, Central and walking down fourth street….
    Larry was a good man.
    We will all miss him.

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  16. Dear Caroline, Carey and family,
    Extending deepest condolences to you during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with the whole family.
    Monica Keller

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  17. Ted and JoAnn Mitenko

    Your father was such a friendly neighbor. He always had time to stop and chat with you if he was walking his dog or at a hockey or soccer game. He left you feeling that he was truly interested in you and your family.
    our sincere sympathies to all of Larry’s family

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  18. Larry was a classmate at UBC Law School and later was very active in Alberta PCs while I served as the MLA for Medicine Hat and as a Minister. He certainly had “Character” in the best possible sense. I know he will be missed by his family but also by a host of those he touched in a full and meaningful life.

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  19. Deepest condolences to the Purdy family on your loss. We hope you are doing okay at this very difficult time.
    Bruce Allford (and all at BD&P)

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  20. Helen, Caroline and family.
    I was so saddened to hear of Larry’s passing. He is one of my favorite people and I shall miss him dearly and think of him often. We sat in front of Larry for many years at Grace Church; his gentle humour and kindness was always there. I shall miss his sharp observations as the kids sang their way through the Christmas pageants. Caroline, you and he were strong allie in the “troubles”; his counsel was most welcome and impactful. He was always a judicious and positive influence to Dave as he began his law practice. What a beautiful person. Mary Graham and Dave Laidlaw, and the girls.

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