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Tuesday April 17, 2012

STEACY, Harold Robert (Hal)


Suddenly, after a generous and exemplary life, on April 7, 2012 at the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa, fewer than 20 months after losing his wife of 59 years, Mary Evelyn Banfill (Hamilton). Beloved father of Anne (Brian) and Peter (Pauline), and grandfather of Miranda and Eric Steacy. Favourite uncle and mentor of numerous nieces and nephews; godfather of Nan, John and Margaret; dear friend to many.
Hal was born in Ottawa on June 7, 1923 to Colonel the Rev. R. H. Steacy, director of the Canadian Chaplain Service in the First World War to the Canadian Forces in Europe, and Elsie Mary (Denham), daughter of the premier of Queensland, Australia. The last of his boisterous generation in the Steacy family, Hal was predeceased by his brothers, John (Helen), Richard (Mary), and Charles (Peggy, Marion) and sisters, Mary (Jack) and Winnifred.
Upon graduation from Westboro's Nepean High School, Hal, 17, was asked to set up and run a large mining company's brand new chemistry lab in Noranda, Quebec. The experience was invaluable; however, he made more money playing snooker. While studying at Queen's University, Hal spent summers surveying in the Arctic, dropped off by plane from Churchill, Manitoba and canoeing back to Yellowknife. Hal graduated with a B.Sc. in the Queen's Science '46 class as a geological engineer. What followed was a distinguished career of more than 35 years as a world-renowned mineralogist, with posts at the Geological Survey of Canada and Energy, Mines & Resources, including his role as deputy curator of the country's national mineralogical collection. Hal's initiative as a mineralogist led to projects as diverse as examining moon-rock specimens from NASA's first voyage there in 1969 to designing geological displays for, among other inaugural events, the openings of the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67, and the Ontario Science Centre. Some of his happiest moments were spent trading rocks with other countries and assaying out in the field. In 1982 a radioactive, complex silicate mineral, discovered at Mont. St.-Hilaire, Quebec, was named Steacyite in honour of Hal.
A cartoonist of some local renown, Hal drew monthly cartoons up to the end of his life for a variety of publications, including the newsletters for institutions of which he was a proud member: ''Life at the Royal'' for the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, ''The Village Scene'' for the Rockcliffe Park Residents Association, regular panels for an association of GSC retirees self-named The Ottawa Anarchists, and various mining magazines. He was also a wonderfully talented magician, spending his allowance as a youngster on chemicals to create special effects, giving his first magic show at 12 years old at a meeting of the Orange Lodge and becoming so talented at sleight of hand that he travelled the world with a thumb tip in his pocket, delighting children from Australia to Egypt, as he had fascinated hundreds of Canadian youngsters. Thoughtful, inventive, analytical, clever, dignified, charming, amusing and always approachable, Hal was the embodiment of the word gentleman. He will be profoundly missed.
Friends are invited to visit at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street, (at O'Connor) Ottawa, on Tuesday, April 17 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral Service to be held at The Church of St. Bartholomew, 125 MacKay Street, Ottawa, on Wednesday, April 18 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations, if desired, may be made to The Harold R. Steacy Bursary, Queen's University, Office of Advancement, 99 University Avenue, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6.
Donations/Tributes/Condolences www.mcgarryfamily.ca 613-233-1143

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