Paul Bramwell REED
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REED, Paul Bramwell
January 31, 1944 - January 16, 2017
A renaissance man in the truest sense, Paul Bramwell Reed took his last flight on a cold January night, following a stroke. Accomplished social scientist, ham radio operator, astronomer, woodworker, world explorer. Lover of motorcycles, choral music, canoeing, fly-fishing, gardening, architecture, design and good food. Taking enormous pleasure in making things himself, Paul designed and built four homes. His work behind a camera won gold and silver medals from the Photographic Society of America. Many of his photographs are held in the permanent collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art and the National Film Board. Paul will be missed by his children Andrea (Tom) and Graeme (Stacey); beloved granddaughter Téa; sisters Nancy (Paul) and Carolynn (Robert), and close friends, colleagues and neighbours.
Paul said many times he had lived a rich life. Raised in Peterborough, Ont., his curiosity and creativity was nurtured by an extended family of makers and entrepreneurs. Starting with undergrad studies in engineering and sociology at York University, his thirst for knowledge led to graduate degrees (Master's and PhD) at the University of Toronto.
Paul's career base was at Statistics Canada, where he found the variety he craved, rising through the ranks and seconded to other departments and agencies. As a special advisor in the Privy Council Office in the 1970s, he prepared briefings for Cabinet and an annual overview for Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau on government progress meeting the goals of specific policies, such as bilingualism and equity for women. Paul also served as a special advisor to the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice. As a professor, he spent more than 30 years in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Law at Carlton University. He lectured at U of T, Trent University, Université Laval and the National Defence school. But the official home of Paul's career was always StatsCan: "I am a dyed-in-the-wool researcher, and it is where the best and most varied data in the world are."
After more than 38 years and 100+ articles, papers, reports and books, Paul retired as the agency's Senior Social Scientist in 2009. He continued teaching at Carleton until 2013, and was engaged in research to the end.
With more time after leaving StatsCan to pursue his other passions, Paul ingeniously melded his love of flying and fly-fishing in semi-annual salmon-fishing trips to the Gaspé, and revisited Arctic regions that captured his imagination during a stint at Alert, the high Arctic weather station, in his early 20s.
In recent years, Paul's self-expression ranged from a thoughtful and curated collection of Inuit art and commissioned pieces of his own glass and wood designs to a rich collection of natural objects – rocks, insects, seed pods – that spoke to him in some way. He saw the infinite beauty of the universe in its smallest elements.
Above all, what mattered to Paul was making a difference. Whether through his research into societal issues - including volunteerism in Canada, the impact of capital punishment on crime, and the relationship between divorce law and family cohesion - or encouraging a kid to be curious and passionate (about anything), Paul did just that.
There aren't many like Paul. His indescribable enthusiasm for life, along with his incisive and analytical mind and relentless puns, will be missed. If you'd like to contribute to causes that mattered to him, please consider The Nature Conservancy of Canada or The Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers Campaign. And if you'd like to continue the legacy of passion and curiosity he brought to his world, look up at the night sky, or down at a seashell, and wonder "how?" and "why?". A celebration of Paul's life will be planned.
Enjoy the flight, dad. We're watching for your contrail.

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Published in Ottawa Citizen on Jan. 21, 2017.