Robert E. Rye, B.A., LL.B, Q. C.
Died on Wednesday, January 23rd due to complications from leukemia. He leaves his wife of 53 years, Dawn (nee Windatt), daughter Lyla Rye (Toronto) and son Ian Rye (Victoria) and their spouses John Dickson and Melina Boucher, and grandchildren Lena, Oliver, Jasper and Mircea.
Robert was born on January 11, 1935 to Thomas and Margaret Rye. He grew up in Huntsville, Ontario in a family with few resources and was educated in a one-room country school. Despite (and perhaps because of) being diagnosed legally blind, he became the first in his family to pursue post secondary education. He excelled academically graduating from Queen's University in 1957 with an Honours B.A. in History and Political Science. He supported himself throughout his studies by working in remote locations in northern Ontario and Vancouver Island at logging camps, on fire crews and teaching for Frontier College.
After teaching two years in Thunder Bay he returned to study law at the University of Toronto. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1962 near the top of his class. He initially commenced the practice of law in Muskoka but longed for the challenge of Bay Street and soon returned to Toronto where he established the Rye and Partners law firm and developed a broad commercial real estate and business law practice. His substantial legal and business expertise were greatly valued by both domestic and international clients. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1982. He inspired loyalty and longstanding dedication in his colleagues. A proud workaholic, he regularly put in a 60-hour work week.
Grateful for the opportunity to go on to extended studies himself, he generously contributed to the post- secondary education of friends and extended family as well as a range of other causes.
Robert met his future wife Dawn Windatt at Queen's University in 1955. They married in August of 1960. They settled in Toronto after the birth of their first child, Lyla (Lyla Bear) in 1964. They had a son, Ian (Eeyore), in 1970. Soon after, the family purchased a one-room schoolhouse in Huntsville; the same one his father had attended. They converted this into the family cottage. Robert had an ongoing commitment to Muskoka, developing 3 lakeside properties including the Fairy Bay Guest House and planting innumerable trees, predominantly with his children's labour. Throughout his life he remained dedicated to a neat woodpile, a well-stoked fire and a large reserve of chilled beer.
He had a genuine respect for and interest in the arts which inspired both his children's careers. To his family he was known as a ''creative lawyer'', often wakening in the middle of the night with the solution to a client's problem. He and Dawn travelled extensively including visits to 37 countries. The family's fondest memories are of cross-country skiing on moonlit nights, skating on frozen lakes and swimming in Fairy Bay. Robert was 78 years old and worked dedicatedly up to the day of his death.
A memorial will be held on Saturday,
February 23rd, at Vaughan Estate of Sunnybrook, Toronto from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Princess Margaret Hospital.
Saturday February 2, 2013
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