George Laurence,

a personal memory

by John Ferguson

(The North Renfrew Times - November 11, 1987.)

Dr. George Laurence lived in Deep River from its creation in 1945 and occupied the same house on Beach Avenue, until his death on Friday, November 6. My wife, Doreen, recalls a visit in late 1945 that we made to reconnoitre the place and seeing him hard at work planting tulip bulbs in front of his house. This symbol of culture in a remote and sandy wilderness convinced her that Deep River might be an acceptable place to establish a home.

Those who worked with Dr. Laurence remember his meticulous attention to accuracy. Every statement he made gave the impression of having been carefully thought out. In the early days of Chalk River he issued a set of notes on the art and techniques of public speaking. This may have been the beginning of the critical preview that every paper given from the laboratory was subjected to.

Dr. Laurence was always a staunch supported of the Deep River Science Association. While he was chairman of the Atomic Energy Control Board Agency, in the years 1961-70, he presented a lecture to the association entitled “From the Flintstones to the Hapsburgs”, which were his impressions of Vienna from the frequent meetings he attended there. It was illustrated with superb slides that he had taken. This revealed a skill in photography that few of his friends appreciated.

His last lecture was in February on a subject dear to his heart: “Safety of Nuclear Power in Canada”, which was particularly timely after the Chernobyl disaster that occurred a few months earlier. This lecture represented a distillation of the knowledge he had acquired during his time with the AECB. He regarded the safety of the Candu rectors as second to none. He was president of the Association for the 1977-78 season and personally arranged two lectures: “Prehistoric Man in Canada” by R. Morlan and, “Remote Sensing from Satellites” by Dr. Morley.

Skiing and gardening were his principle outdoor activities. He and Hank Clayton used to ski together and I saw him several times skiing alone on the trails south of Josie Lane. Although he was never a devotee of the computer, he acquired and mastered a home computer for the benefit of his grandson, who was staying with the Laurences.

Laurence is survived by Freda, his wife of 56 years, by daughter Patricia who lives in the United States, and by several grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter Judy.

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