Celebration of the Life of


Words from the Memorial Service at the
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa,
Ottawa, Sunday, January 14, 2018

Memories from Gary Schofield

Click images
to view videos


I first met Roy in 1954 when I came to work at the National Research Council and I mean the real National Research Council, the one on Sussex Street with the big columns, not that collection of huts on Montreal Road. He was a scientist. I was a lab technician. I had one year at Carleton in physics and then I decided to get married and so I had to get a job and that turned out to be my job. I work there for three and a half years.  The scientists there -- and I had never met any cuckoo scientists before -- they were quite a collection of characters.  The sanest one seemed to be Roy who was always even tempered and it was always Roy that I would go to when I needed to find out what I had to do or where something was and he always gave me understandable and practical advice. 


The other thing that was significant about those days is that it turned out he was a table tennis player and I was heavy into table tennis at that point.  I used to play at the Y and there was a group there of the best players in Ottawa and I did pretty good against them, occasionally winning a game.  So we enjoyed that.  Much later of course we played table tennis in the basement of his house on Beaver Hill.  I'll come to that in a minute.


So when my time was finished at NRC I remember I announced that I was going to take a job at the YMCA and the head of the department, a Doctor Middleton was not very impressed. He said, "Oh well, I suppose somebody has to do that." So I went on to work at the YMCA in Ottawa and Quebec City and then when I came back Roy got me involved in a table tennis league where we played against other teams.   Somewhere in there I did visit the cottage at Pemichangan a couple of times in fact one time I went there by canoe because it was connected to a lake where I had a buddy who had a property and it was always a lot of fun.


Everything that has been said about Roy about his kindness and his modesty and everything is absolutely true... 


I eventually left the Y and started to teach at Algonquin College and eventually retired there and Roy got me into playing tennis.  He lived right around the corner.... so he said "Why do we play tennis." There happened to be a tennis court at the condominium where I was so we played there.  He had the advantage of having played a lot more but I was 11 years younger than him so I had some advantage.  I managed to start winning games when I found a new racket.  At that point they were just coming out with the composite rackets with the oversized heads and the big sweet spot so I gave up my John-McEnroe wooden racket with the frame that you had to put together. Do you remember those? Shortly after that Roy saw how well I was doing and he got one for himself and we went from there to a local tennis club and played there for a while and eventually in the winter time we played at the Ottawa Athletic Club.  It was good fun. 


The only time I remember there was any conversation that passed between us with any heat was when we were doubles partners and -- partly because of the tournament stuff that I was in to -- I was very aggressive. I wanted to win every point as soon as possible.  Roy was a little bit gentler and he would like to kind of play some sort of strategy and I remember one time I got kind of frustrated and I said "Will you hit the ball? Hit the ball!" and Roy says "How can I hit the ball when you're yelling at me?" So I got the point.  There was no sense in pushing him. So I just shut up and let him do it his way and it worked out well.


The other thing that he got me into was singing with the Unitarian group. I don't know how that exactly happened. I think there I was invited to a house party and did some singing there and at other places and at least once in this Hall and I enjoyed it very much. I knew all the songs from the YMCA camps where  I had a semi-leadership position and i had a good memory for songs. But I think I was too religious for the Unitarians because I like some of those old Spirituals and I didn't give a darn what the words said.  If it was a good song I sang it. So I remember one time I was singing "Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart I will pray." And Reverend Fred said "What Divinity School did you graduate from?"


My memories of Roy you are very very fond. He was a wonderful guy in every respect.  All the way through, he was involved with various movements like the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, and much earlier on the World Federalists and others.  I remember at his place on Beaver Hill I was over there and a visitor was Julian Bond who later was a [US] Senator and had been involved in the Black Rights movement and was much mentioned in the media. 


Roy seemed to open the door for many aspects of my life.  So in honour of that I'd like to invite us all to sing "If I had a Hammer."  All you have to remember is there's a hammer, a bell and a song....  We have no musical instruments so we're going to sing what I call archipelago which means little islands of harmony in a sea of discord.....