Colin IRVING

Obituary
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IRVING, Colin K., Ad. E.
Suddenly but peacefully on Tuesday June 11th, at the age of 78, in the arms of his children. Colin was the adored father of Caroline (Mike), Andrew (Brenda), and Gillian (Jonathan), step-father to Douglas and Cynthia, the beloved grandfather of Griffin, Noah, Will, Lily, Cate, Jasmine, Keira, Aidan, Ella, Dylan, Sophie, Paule and Joseph, and the husband of the late Anne Fish, who was the love of his life.
Colin was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He was smart, dignified, erudite, cultured, witty, well-read and well-travelled, a lover of music, and a mentor to many. He was a brilliant lawyer with a sterling mind, a ferocious competitor on and off the squash court, and a seriously indulgent grandfather who looked the other way countless times. His generosity was legendary, and his love for his family boundless. He had an incredibly strong sense of social justice and strove in both his personal and professional lives to help those in need, to do the right thing, and to fight for what he thought was right. He loved a good debate, especially with his children. Discussions around the dinner table were topical, lively, and sophisticated. There was also always really good red wine.
Apart from his family, the law firm he co-founded with Doug Mitchell, Irving Mitchell Kalichman, was his greatest source of pride. Started in 1997 when he was 63, the firm was based on a very simple premise; do good work and be a good person. Over the years, it has grown into one of Quebec's premiere boutique litigation firms, while staying true to its founding ideals. He truly loved working and interacting with both his partners and the younger members of the firm, all with whom he spent countless happy and productive hours.
Colin had a powerful sense of justice, which led him in the 1980's to take on the seemingly hopeless case of Janice Gamble all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where he was successful in securing her release from prison. In another notable pro bono court case, Colin was the lead counsel who won the 2004 judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal in the Hendricks case (La Ligue catholique pour les droits de l'homme v. Michael Hendricks et als.) that legalized gay marriage in Quebec.
This same sense of justice also led him to devote countless hours later in his career to two legal aid clinics in Montreal, the Mile End Legal Clinic and the Tyndale St. Georges legal clinic, where he was an inspiration to the students he worked with and the clients he served. Serving as Chairman of the Board of the Tyndale St. Georges Community Centre was something he considered to be a great privilege. As a lawyer he rarely lost a case, appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada twenty-five times, and was universally recognized to be a tower of his profession.
But in the end, it was his enormous heart and his deep love for his family and friends that will define his legacy. It is hard to imagine life without him. He was a great man. Au revoir Papa.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Tyndale St. Georges Community Centre, the Mile End Mission, or the Mile End Legal Clinic.
A Celebration of his life will be held on Sunday June 16th at the Atwater Club, 3505 Atwater Avenue, Montreal, Quebec at 2 pm.

Published in The Gazette on June 15, 2013
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