PAXTON, Lawrie Leece
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April 18, 1923 - September 7, 2013
Lawrie passed away peacefully in the early morning of September 7th, surrounded by members of his close family. Loving and missing him are his wife of 69 years, and soul-mate, Rae; his five children, Ardath, Robbyn, Lindsay (Lisa), Patti (Lindsay) and Ted (Barbara Jean); fifteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, to whom he was a beloved "Big Papa". Born in Winnipeg to Ethel Mae Leece and Joseph Turnbull Paxton, Lawrie was predeceased by his brothers Lyall and Jack. He met his future wife Rae when they were eleven years old at Mulvey School. He joined Trans Canada Airlines (TCA) as an office boy in March of 1941 at 17 years of age. One year later, he was old enough to join the RCAF and became a pilot, earning his wings in 1943. He rejoined TCA (later Air Canada) in 1944 and wasted no time, becoming a First Officer at twenty-one and a Captain at twenty-three. Lawrie and Rae were married in Winnipeg on July 3rd of l944. He flew out of Winnipeg, Moncton and Montreal, moving to Vancouver in l965 where he became a Viscount and DC-8 Check Pilot and a Boeing 747 Captain in 1974. Unfortunately, he lost his medical license in 1975 after bypass surgery. Even though he made a full recovery, he was the first commercial pilot in Canada to have done so and requested a return to flying and the Ministry of Transport refused to re-issue his medical license. Fortunately his efforts paved the way for many others who followed in his footsteps to successfully fly again, and this pleased him greatly. Following his medical retirement, Lawrie trained El Al (Israeli) pilots in the 747 simulator in Toronto for eight and a half years. In his late 50's, Lawrie was blessed by a life changing experience. He mentored many during his long life – both young and old. Next to his deep love of family and flying, Lawrie's favourite place in the whole world was the family cottage on beautiful Bowyer Island in Howe Sound where he cherished his time with family and friends, including his oldest and best childhood friend, Dr. Glen Harrison. Lawrie's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had the remarkable opportunity to learn so much under his tutelage – from fishing, stargazing and driving the boat to mastering the art of cribbage. Lawrie was a voracious newspaper reader, a lover of history and had a keen interest in world affairs and crosswords. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 21st at 12 o'clock at West Vancouver United Church, 2062 Esquimalt Avenue, West Vancouver, with a reception to follow. A family interment will follow at a future date. The family wishes to thank Doctors Peter Edmunds and Allan Rabinowitz for their extraordinary care, and the wonderful staffs of the Cardiac Care Unit at St. Paul's Hospital and 6 West at the Lion's Gate Hospital. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Union Gospel Mission, 616 E. Cordova Street, Vancouver, the Lion's Gate Hospital Foundation, or a charity of your choice. For those wishing to share a memory of Lawrie, please visit www.hollyburnfunerals.com
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from Sept. 14 to Sept. 20, 2013