PURVIS, A. Blaikie
1924 - 2012
A life-long Montrealer, devoted son, husband and father, passed away peacefully at home on 8 November after a long illness 12 days before his 88th birthday. Blaikie was born in New York City to the Rt. Hon. Arthur B. Purvis P.C. and Margaret J. Purvis. They moved to Montreal when he was one month old, an event "for which I claim full credit", he would later joke. Living on Pine Avenue in what is now Purvis Hall, which was donated to McGill after his father's death, the family enjoyed a country home "up north" near Ste. Marguerite and summers on Martha's Vineyard. He attended school at Selwyn House, Bishops, and Eton College, England.
After his father, a British Privy Counsellor and Chairman of the British Supply Council in North America, was killed in an air crash in Scotland in 1941, Blaikie remained in England and after stroking and winning the Eton 8 at Henley and graduating in 1943, went to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, from which he graduated as top Cadet of his class and winner of the Sword of Honour. He served in the British Army as Lieutenant, Third Battalion (Tanks), Scots Guards, in Germany until 1946.
Returning to Montreal, he studied history at McGill University, completing his studies at Harvard Business School graduating in 1951, after which he joined Calvin Bullock, Ltd. in Montreal where he helped establish mutual funds as a popular investment vehicle in Canada. Also that year he married Peggy Wright, a fellow McGill grad, with whom he raised four children in family homes in Montreal, Chambly and Martha's Vineyard.
For 30 of his 36 years in the investment business he was a senior officer of Canadian Investment Fund. Having reached the position of President and Managing Director of Calvin Bullock in 1984, he retired in 1987 as Vice Chairman. He also served as Chairman, Investment Funds Institute of Canada, and Regent of Canadian Institute of Financial Planning.
In 1990, Blaikie married his second wife Andrea Vaillancourt, living in Chambly and then in Le Chateau on Sherbrooke St. in Montreal. Gracious and well-mannered, with a warm smile and sense of humour Blaikie was a raconteur extraordinaire. He loved all classical music, and was very active in sports including skiing, tennis, racquets, swimming and boating. He served on various Montreal area school, church and club boards, and committees. He was a member of several Montreal Clubs, including Montreal Racket Club and University Club of Montreal, of which he was a past-president.
During a prolonged illness, Blaikie was able to remain in his much-loved home thanks to his loving caregiver Ellen Campbell, who became a virtual family member, helping Andrea sustain Blaikie through 8 years of declining health; as well as during his final year the care and support of Dr. Lam, Marie-Marthe and all the team of CLSC Metro. To the end, he maintained his interest in and respect for others as well as his infectious smile and sense of humour.
He is survived by his loving wife Andrea, his children, Michael, Christopher, Lois Mary and Andrew, and eight grandchildren.
Donations in his memory may be made to Blaikie Purvis Memorial Fund - McGill University, Martlet House, 1430 Peel St, Montreal, QC H3H 3T3. Those wishing to make a gift by credit card may call McGill University at (514) 398-1057.