IRVINE, HUGH STUART November 1, 1932 – April 15, 2019 It is with great sadness that the family announces that Hugh Stuart Irvine has passed away after a short hospital stay.
Hugh leaves his devoted wife Morag, his much loved children Lorraine (Mike Upton) and Alan (Maggie) and his adored grandchildren Nicole and Kyle. Hugh also had a younger brother, Jim, who predeceased him. Hugh had a remarkable life and was an equally remarkable man.
Born in Wishaw, Scotland to Martha and Hugh Stuart, he survived going into air raid shelters when the Clyde Bank was bombed, had a serious bout with rheumatoid arthritis when he was 10 which left him with lifelong joint damage and entered the University of Strathclyde at night to take mechanical engineering while working as a draughtsman during the day. When he graduated, he married his sweetheart Morag and they immigrated to Canada in 1957.
Hugh worked for Acres Engineering, GE Canada and then moved to Ajax in 1970 to join Ontario Hydro. At Ontario Hydro, Hugh was a pioneer in the design and construction of nuclear power plants including Pickering, Bruce and Darlington. At the end of his career in 1992 he retired as Chief Engineer. Throughout his career, Hugh carried himself with grace and treated all with respect.
He also ran for town council in Ajax when the town was not under regional government and volunteered for other municipal groups including a citizens group who fought the building of a road along the lakeshore in Ajax in an area which is now parkland. Despite his physical limitations, he played soccer, golf and coached hockey. He was a lifelong devotee of jazz and even learned to play a modified saxophone well enough to play in a local big band.
As demonstrated by every nuclear engineer, his risk aversion resulted in the entire stock of brass screws in Ajax being used in three backyard planters. Hugh was a larger than life supporter of the Glasgow Rangers soccer team and helped run several supporters clubs both in Whitby and in Florida. Heaven forbid if any of his children wore any green clothing. He belonged to a monthly poker club. He had two brushes with death which coloured his cheerful outlook on life.
He was on the CP flight from Vancouver to Japan in 1985 that contained a bomb in its cargo that exploded in the airport when it arrived early. This was the same day as the Air India disaster. In 2002, he fell in the backyard and stayed for 49 days ICU after being given three sets of plates in his neck. The rest of his spine was already fused with spondylitis. He learned to walk, talk and regain some use of his hands while spending four months in Lyndhurst Rehabilitation Hospital.
Hugh figured out how to use a computer and used his electric wheelchair to take rides along the lake. He continued to spend winters in Florida until the last few years. Hugh had friends all over the world whose kind words have helped the family through his passing.
The family wishes to thank the staff at the Lakeridge Hospital in Ajax for all their skill and support.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Friday, April 26th at 1 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Ajax.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Arthritis Society or the charity of your choice.