DR. LAWRENCE RICHARD SYMES
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August 3, 1942 - September 18, 2013
B.Sc.Hons. (University of Saskatchewan)
M.S., PhD (Purdue University)
Fiancé, dad, grandpa, academic, educator and friend, Lawrence (Larry) Symes passed away suddenly at the age of 71 on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at his home in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Larry is survived by his fiancée Youqian (Lily) Song of Regina; son Calvin Symes and grandchildren Jack and Olive of Calgary AB; daughter Michelle Symes and grandsons Graham and Simon Missal of Oakville ON; daughter Erin (Scott) Sinclair and grandsons Will, Nate and Ben of Calgary AB; and sister Marion Foster of Calgary AB, nephew Myles Foster and niece Daygen Finch. Larry was predeceased by his father Prof. Oliver Symes (1986), mother Maybelle (nee Gilliard) Symes (2004), uncle Ernest Symes (1977), and aunt Margaret (Peggy, nee McGillivary) Symes (1997).
Larry was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and moved a great deal in his youth, but to Larry, Saskatchewan was home. As a child, he spent summers with his beloved Uncle Ernie and Aunt Peggy at their farm near Pense, SK. He spent the majority of his high school years in Saskatoon and was a graduate of City Park Collegiate, Saskatoon. During his undergraduate years, he spent his summers as a Saskatchewan Smokejumper. Larry then graduated with his B.Sc.Hons. in Mathematics (1964) from the University of Saskatchewan, and his M.S. (1966) and PhD in Computer Science (1969) from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Upon completing his PhD, Larry joined the University of Regina in 1970 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Computer Science Department. Among his many roles at the U of R, he was Professor of Computer Science, Department Head of Computer Science, Director of Academic Computing, Dean of Science, Associate Vice-President (Research), Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Director of Information Services, Associate Faculty Member in the Faculty of Engineering, and International Liaison Officer. He was seconded to the Department of Advanced Education and Employment as Assistant Deputy Minister of International Education; and seconded to Advanced Education and Employment as Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister. Larry retired in 2008 and was named Professor Emeritus in 2010.
Along with his work at the University of Regina, Larry was active nationally and internationally in the field of academics, research and Computer Science. He fostered relationships with and provided mentorship to universities, governments, and businesses in India and China. He played an important role in developing relationships with many Chinese institutions, including National People's Congress, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs; and CVIC SE. Amongst his numerous professional interests, he was also a member, Chair, and President of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS); Chair of SCN Board; Chair Hospital Systems Study Group; Chair SRnet Board; Guest Professor at Shandong University, Jinan China; and Member, Provincial Action Committee on the Economy, Saskatchewan. During this time, Larry also received many honours including the Qilu Friendship Award from Shandong Provincial Government, and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal.
Up to his last day, Larry was astute, energetic, optimistic, and always willing to lend a hand or share a laugh. After retirement, he continued to love playing hockey, reading, watching Manchester United, and keeping up with technology. He spent his last summer waterskiing, fishing, golfing, farming, spending time with great friends, and enjoying time outdoors at the lake and farm with his fiancée, children and beloved grandchildren. He spent his last day playing golf with friends and enjoying lunch with his fiancée.
A celebration of Larry's life will be held at Speers Funeral Chapel, 2136 College Avenue, Regina on Monday, September 23 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Larry's name to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan, 279 3rd Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK S7K 2H8, The Arthritis Society of Canada, c/o the Regina Division Office, #110-2550 12th Avenue, Regina, SK S4P 3X1 or to Student Scholarships in Computer Science, c/o the University of Regina – External Relations, 210 North Residence, Regina, SK S4S 0A2. To leave an online message of condolence, please visit www.speersfuneralchapel.com
Published in The Regina Leader-Post from Sept. 20 to Sept. 21, 2013