2831 Cameron Crowe, RMC Class of 1952
Obituary submitted by 2878 Terrence Hoffman
Cam and I were in the first class to enter the Royal Military College after WWII when it reopened in 1948. That class became known as the ‘New One Hundred’. At the same time seventy-seven tri-service cadets entered Royal Roads and then the majority of them came to R.M.C. for their final two years. Cam was sixteen years old at the time: I was seventeen. He was a tall, lanky guy who quickly got the nickname ‘Scare’.
The course program at that time was very difficult for a number of reasons:
- There were no senior students from whom to seek help,
- There were no previous exams to provide some guidance,
- The total program was physically exhausting, again because there was only limited background experience,
- M.C. fielded Rugby, Soccer, Hockey and Basketball teams with only a limited number of athletes,
- Many professors were teaching for the first time and had exceptionally high standards.
The result was that many students had serious difficulty in being able to do the required study and understanding the course material. As a result, there was a large failure rate in first year and later. Only forty-two of the initial hundred completed the four-year program. Quite a number were allowed to repeat one year and graduate.
I provide this background because during the ex-cadet weekend parade at the beginning of Cam’s second year, Cam received all the prizes whether the subject was mathematics, science or humanities. Most of us were unaware that we had a genius in our class, although some did because I heard later that he had helped a fairly large number of students in his squadron.
Where I really got to know Cam, was in the summer after our second year. I was in the navy and stationed at Esquimalt, B.C. I decided to take a weekend leave to visit army classmates stationed at Chilliwack (Royal Canadian Engineers). Arriving in my naval uniform and staying overnight in the camp, provided true meaning to the Tri-Service education program! It was there that I got to know Cam very well and thus began our lifetime friendship.
In that class year, seven of us graduated in chemical engineering. At that time, R.M.C. graduates had to complete their undergraduate degrees by attending the final year at an accredited university. Cam went to McGill; I went to Queen’s; three went to Toronto; and two went on active duty in the Korean War. One of those was wounded in battle, received the Military Medal and later became a Major General. At each of the universities, the ex-cadets passed first in the class. Four went on to receive Ph.D. degrees and then to become professors in Canadian academia.
After McGill, Cam received an Athlone Scholarship to attend Cambridge University in the U.K. I am reminded here of a later personal experience: In the mid-1990’s I was reading the Globe and Mail sports page about the Cambridge-Oxford rivalry in hockey and there front and centre was a picture of Cam Crowe playing hockey for Cambridge. Cam did not play hockey at R.M.C. so I questioned him on it. He stated that the Cambridge students knew he was from Canada and Montreal and so concluded that he must be a hockey player! He confessed to me that his only claim to fame as a player was when he was lying flat on the ice and swept his entire hockey stick along the ice which happened to send the puck into the opposition’s net!
Cam graduated with a Ph.D. in 1957 and then was employed by Dupont Canada. After the U.S.S.R.’s launching of the Sputnik satellite in 1956, the Federal Government initiated the formation of a number of new Engineering Faculties at various old and new universities in 1957. McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario was one of them. I was hired from McGill in 1958; Cam came from Dupont in 1959. The Dean of Engineering at that time was Jack Hodgins, who was our chemical engineering professor at R.M.C.! (He knew whom he was getting!!). In the next four years, four more professors were hired. The Department soon became one of the leading Chemical Engineering Departments in Canada, with a world-wide reputation, – a reputation developed from the synergy among these members. That group worked together with senior undergraduate students to develop a computer simulation program for chemical processes and apply it to construct simulations of actual processes. (A book, Computer Simulation of Chemical Processes, was published and translated into Russian). Cam was by far the most knowledgeable in both breadth and depth in applied and classical mathematics. Most of his research interests centred on applying his mathematics knowledge to chemical engineering problems. Many graduate students benefited from his help in obtaining mathematical solutions in their research. His most important and elegant contributions arose out of the simulation projects, (e.g. detecting and correcting process measurement errors, increasing the convergence rate of recycle calculations). After he retired, he was recruited to fill in teaching undergraduate courses when faculty were on sabbatical leave.
From the outset at McMaster, Cam and I and our wives became very close friends. That friendship developed in many ways. Many of our activities together were initiated by his Australian wife, Jean, who wanted to have many Canadian experiences. Thus, she learned to skate on our backyard rink; she took up skiing with Cam so they became quite accomplished recreational skiers; after my wife and I had made two successful canoe trips to Algonquin Park she insisted that she and Cam should go along. From that time on, we made a canoe trip almost every year up until 2004. Along the way, we also discovered guided, small-group hiking trips in Europe, and we made several of them to different countries. We also toured part of Europe together. It was on these trips that Cam’s polyglot prowess was most appreciated. Cam was very fluent in French, Spanish, and German. He could quickly learn the essentials of a language to get by very well as a tourist. For example, he learned Greek, Russian, and Japanese and demonstrated this admirably on one occasion when we were lost in Greece!
Cam and I became winemakers about fifty years ago, really because student parties were becoming expensive. He obtained Niagara grapes; I resorted to homemaking wine kits. Both of us really studied the essentials of making good wine and provided each other with many tips which helped to improve our wines over the years. Who made the best was always a bone of contention! (They were always good).
And so ends a saga of a couple of R.M.C. cadets who started their careers together and remained close friends for seventy-four years. I will miss him terribly! – 2878 Terrence Hoffman
3389 Colin Campbell, RRMC RMC Class of 1955
On Sunday, January 30, 2022, Colin passed away peacefully at home with family at his side. He will be fondly remembered by his wife, Janet (née Band); children, Colin (Doreen), John (Dianna), Ian (Jo-Ann) and Douglas (Kate); as well as his grandchildren, Lauryn and Samuel, Callum and Mackenzie, Aidan and Maeve. He was predeceased by his brothers, Terry and Peter. Colin will be deeply missed by his extended family and friends, whose lives he has significantly impacted over the years.
Colin was truly larger than life and loved by everyone he met. He was born into a military family to Colin Howell Campbell and Mary Josephine Campbell. After graduating from Royal Military College and McGill University, he became a successful structural civil engineer, establishing his own companies in Calgary for decades (C.H. Campbell Consulting Engineers and then Campbell Woodall and Associates).
He married Janet in Rangoon, Burma before settling back down in Calgary. Colin was nationally recognized for his work both in English and French. His Catholic faith was a big part of his identity, and he was an active member of Ste. Famille Parish. Colin was an avid skiier and golfer. He continued to hit the slopes well into his eighties. We would like to thank Drs. David Keegan and Yael Shrom as well as the entire Alberta Health Services palliative home care team. Due to COVID-19, a small Private Family Funeral will be held. A Mass and Celebration of Colin’s Life will occur in the spring of 2022. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Colin’s memory to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. To view and share photos, condolences and memories of Colin, please visit www.choicememorial.com.
The RMC Alumni Association sends our sincerest condolences to the friends and family members of Alain Lacasse. Alain was a donor to the RMC Alumni Association for 47 years making his first donation in 1974. Throughout the years Alain would call just to chat and keep up to date on what was happening in our offices. We shared many phone calls and emails over the years. His infectious laugh and personality will be missed by all of us at the RMC Alumni Association. Below you will find two obituaries for Alain, one from his classmates – the Frigate Amigos – and one from his former RMC roommate 9262 Charles Lumbers.
Obituary below courtesy of 9262 Charles Lumbers:
J’ai été stupéfait et profondément attristé d’apprendre le décès de N°9258 Alain Lacasse. Ce qui suit n’est pas un résumé de la vie d’Alain mais simplement quelques pensées et souvenirs d’un camarade du Collège dont le décès me touche particulièrement
Alain et moi n’étions pas dans le même escadron au début de nos 4 années à Kingston, donc je ne l’ai pas très bien connu au tout début mais j’ai fini par faire sa connaissance et j’ai très vite compris que, soit il était exceptionnellement intelligent et courageux, soit il était complètement dingue. Voilà ce jeune québécois, ne parlant quasiment pas un mot d’anglais, qui se lance dans un programme universitaire ambitieux, et un entrainement militaire rigoureux, entièrement anglophone. Non seulement j’ai vite compris à quel point il était courageux, mais j’ai découvert aussi qu’il était d’une intelligence hors-normes. Etudiant uniquement dans une langue étrangère, il avait des notes de cours exceptionnelles ! Ce type me rendait fou ! Tout anglophone que j’étais ; je ne suis jamais arrivé à avoir des notes comme Lacasse.
Nous avons suivi le programme de génie mécanique tous les deux en 3e et 4e année, et nous avons tous les deux été membres de « l’Etat général » de de l’Escadre des élofs en 4e année. Pendant ces deux années j’ai pu vraiment faire connaissance avec Alain. Il a fini premier de la classe de notre groupe de « Mech Eng » et cela face à d’autres étudiants vraiment brillants (Bill Simms & Bruno Schenk, par exemple).
Une petite anecdote : je n’apprends rien en ceux qui l’ont connu en soulignant que notre Lacasse était quelqu’un de très exubérant. Cela dit, parfois ce trait de caractère lui a joué des tours ! En 3e année il a été très heureux de se retrouver avec un grand nombre d’élèves-officiers canadiens-français qui étaient arrivés à Kingston de Saint Jean pour poursuivre leurs études, notamment des études d’ingénierie. Un jour, pendant que le Professeur Craig Moffatt (qui, par ailleurs, était Chef du département à l’époque) donnait son cours de thermodynamique avancé (je crois), les « French guys » se sont mis à plaisanter entre eux (en français bien entendu) et Alain faisait plus de bruit que tous les autres. Apparemment, il y avait de quoi se tordre de rire. Moffatt a été très cool, il laissé faire (genre « Allez-y, défoulez-vous, si vous n’apprenez pas c’est votre problème, pas le mien »). Une fois les plaisanteries terminées, Alain s’est retourné pour regarder le tableau et il s’est rendu compte qu’il avait complètement perdu le fils du cours. Exubérant (et culotté) comme il l’était, il a osé demander au professeur de réexpliquer ce qu’il venait de dire. Moffatt l’a regardé droit dans les yeux et lui a dit « not on your life » (jamais de la vie). Elève-officier Lacasse est resté silencieux et sage jusqu’à la fin de la séance. Cela était du pur Lacasse : exubérant, enthousiaste, un peu inconscient, et très culotté…
Longtemps après, nous nous sommes retrouvés en septembre 2017 lors de la célébration du 45e anniversaire de notre remise de diplôme du RMC. J’y étais seul et Alain m’a accueilli très gentiment. Nous avons parlé de choses et d’autres et Alain m’a un peu parlé du travail qu’il avait fait en tant que chef de projet pour l’informatisation de la Bourse de Montréal. Manifestement cela a été un projet énorme, épuisant – obsédant même – et je ne doute pas un seul instant que Alain ait fait installer un système absolument à la pointe de la technologie informatique de l’époque. Rien de moins aurait été possible pour Alain Lacasse.
Donc, quelques observations et souvenirs de N°9258, un homme que j’ai apprécié et beaucoup respecté.
Requiescat in pace, vieil ami.
9262 Charles Lewis Lumbers
Obituary below courtesy of 9047 Don Chipman and the Firgate Amigos
Notre bon ami Alain est décédé le 14 février 2022 à Saint-Jean-sur-Richileau à l’âge de 73 ans.
La santé d’Alaiin était défaillante depuis un certain temps, un état qu’il ne partageait qu’avec sa famille immédiate – sa femme Lorraine, son fils Karim et sa fille Yasmine, qui étaient tous avec lui à sa mort. Son décès est survenu soudainement, mais pas par surprise.
Pendant la période COVID, Alain était l’un des “Frigate 5 Amigos” qui se réunissait toutes les deux semaines pour discuter. Tout au long, il n’a donné aucune indication sur son état et a parlé de son intention d’assister à son deuxième week-end de réunion de la vieille brigade cette année.
On se souviendra d’Alain pour son amitié, sa loyauté, son intelligence et sa bonhomie. C’était un père de famille solide et un capitaine d’industrie. Après avoir obtenu son diplôme du RMC en génie mécanique, il a servi dans la Marine, remportant le prix Paramax pour avoir terminé premier dans sa dernière phase d’entraînement comme ingénieur des systèmes de combat. L’épée, qui venait avec ce prix, ainsi que son bâton fanfaron du RMC, étaient bien en vue à son mémorial.
Alain a quitté la Marine après son service obligatoire et a commencé une brillante carrière civile. En 1981, il a été nommé vice-président des opérations à la Bourse de Montréal (TMX) où il a siégé pendant cinq ans. Pendant trois ans, il a été président fondateur des Systèmes de marché boursier E.M.S. Inc (Exchange Market Systems E.M.S. Inc), une société de communication d’entreprise basée sur l’internet. Pendant près de 30 ans, Alain a fait partie de Frontenac Technologies à Saint-Jean, prenant sa retraite en tant que président et obtenant un MBA de McGill en cours de route.
Un service commémoratif pour Alain a eu lieu à St-Jean le 4 mars. La Classe de 1972 était représentée par le 9276 Claude Michon.
À une vie bien vécue. Repose en paix.
I was stupefied and deeply saddened by the news of the death of N°9258 Alain Lacasse. What follows is not a summary of Alain’s life, but just some personal thoughts and memories of a classmate whose passing I particularly mourn. Alain and I were not in the same squadron at the beginning of our 4 years in Kingston so I didn’t know him very well at first but I soon got to know him and concluded that the guy was either exceptionally intelligent and courageous, or he was utterly nuts! Here he was a young Québécois, speaking virtually not a word of English, who launches himself into an ambitious academic programme and a rigorous military training programme, both of which were in English. Not only did I quickly understand that this guy was fearless but I also discovered that he was of truly superior intelligence. Studying solely in a foreign language, he attained exceptionally high academic results. The guy drove me nuts! There was I, Anglophone to the bone, who never came close to getting the same grades as Lacasse.
We were both in Mechanical Engineering in 3rd and 4th years, and were in Cadet Wing HQ in 4th year. In those last two years, I really got to know Alain. He finished top of the class in “Mech Eng,” and ahead of some really brilliant students (Bill Simms & Bruno Schenk come to mind).
A little anecdote: I won’t be enlightening anyone who knew Alain to emphasise that our Lacasse was an exuberant individual. Sometimes, however, this trait could cause him problems. In 3rd year he was very happy at the arrival from Saint Jean of a large group of fellow French-Canadian cadets who came to Kingston pursue their studies, notably in engineering. One day, while Professor Craig Moffatt (who also happened to be Department Head) was lecturing us on advanced thermodynamics (I believe), the “French Guys” all started joking together over something or other – in French, obviously – and Alain was making more noise than anyone else. Apparently, the joke was hilarious. Moffatt was totally cool, he just left them to it (as in, “Go ahead, yuck it up, if you don’t learn this stuff that’s your problem not mine.”) Once the joking died down, Alain turned back to the blackboard and realised that he’d completely lost track of the lecture. Exuberant (and audacious) as he was, he had the nerve to ask the professor to repeat what he’d just explained. Moffatt looked him straight in the eye and said “not on your life.” Officer Cadet Lacasse was quiet and totally well-behaved for the rest of the session. It was pure-Lacasse: exuberant, enthusiastic, a bit oblivious, and very ballsy…
Years later, we met again in September 2017 during the 45th anniversary celebration of our Graduation from RMC. I was by myself and Alain took me under his wing, so to speak. We chatted about this and that and Alain spoke a bit about the fact that he had been Senior Project Manager for the computerisation of the Montreal Stock Exchange. Cleary, this project was enormous, exhausting, even obsessive, and I don’t doubt for a moment that Alain installed a computer system at the absolute cutting edge of the technology existing at the time. Nothing less would have been possible for Alain Lacasse.
So, a few comments and memories of N°9258, a man I liked a lot and respected greatly.
Requiescat in pace, old friend.
9262 Charles Lewis Lumbers
Our good friend Alain passed away on 14 February 2022 in Saint-Jean-sur-Richileau at the age of 73 years.
Alain had been ill for some time, a condition he shared only with his immediate family – wife Lorraine, son Karim and daughter Yasmine, all of who were with him when he died. His passing came suddenly, but not as a surprise.
Through the COVID period, Alain was one of the ‘Frigate 5 Amigos’ who got together bi-weekly for a chat. Throughout, he gave no indication of his condition and talked of his plans to attend his second Old Brigade Reunion Weekend this year.
Alain will be remembered for his friendship, loyalty, intelligence and good nature. He was a strong family man and a captain of industry. After graduating from RMC in Mechanical Engineering, he served in the Navy, winning the Paramax Award for finishing first in his final Combat Systems Engineer in his final phase. The prize sword, along with his RMC swagger stick, were on prominent display at his memorial.
Alain left the Navy after his obligatory service and began a distinguished civilian career. In 1981, he was appointed Vice-President of Operations at the Montreal Stock Exchange (TMX) where he served for five years. For three years, he was the founding president for Systemes de marche boursier E.M.S. Inc (Exchange Market Systems E.M.S. Inc), an Internet-based enterprise communications firm. For nearly 30 years, Alain was part of Frontenac Technologies in Saint-Jean, retiring as President, and picking up an MBA from McGill along the way.
A memorial service for Alain was held in St-Jean on 4 March. The Class of ’72 was represented by 9276 Claude Michon.
To a life well lived. Rest in peace.