David Leary

September 7, 1942-May 23, 2017

Dave died peacefully at Victoria Hospice with the “love of his life”, Liz and his three grown children by his side. He was born in Stockport, England and came to Victoria, Canada in 1968 to teach at Mt. Douglas High. After a short stint back in England, Dave and Liz returned to Shawnigan Lake, BC with their family where he taught for 20 years at Shawnigan Lake School. The two returned to their beloved Victoria in 2012 to enjoy retirement. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Harold and Margaret, his infant brother, Philip, and his sister-in-law, Anne. He was a wonderful father to his three children and their spouses, Jonathan (Connie), Sarah (Wayne) and Cathy (Dwain) and a loving grandfather to Aidan, Dayna, Jenna, Ryan, Emma, Jamie and Dylan. He will be missed by his brother, John (Hilary) and sister-in-law, Mary (Gordon) as well as his nieces, nephew and cousins who live in Canada, England and Norway. He and Liz developed a great love for Canada and instilled this in their children and grandchildren.

 

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Condolence Messages

  1. Camilla Burgess :

    Dear Liz, Cathy, Sarah and Jonathan,
    I was very sad to hear of Dave’s passing and I send you hearftfelt condolences. Dave was always interested in how others were doing and I remember his beautiful garden in Shawnigan. A big hug to you all.
    Lots of love,
    Camilla Burgess

  2. My deepest condolences to all of you. Much love during this difficult time xo

  3. Simon Towner :

    I had the very fortunate opportunity to know Dave as a family friend, student of Shawnigan, and tennis pupil. I will always remember his very quick wit, extremely positive attitude, and the respect he had from all his former students.
    My condolences go out to Liz and their children and grandchildren. When I heard the news of his passing it brought back great memories of the man he was and the family he surrounded himself with

  4. Eva and David Towner :

    It was with great sadness that we heard of Dave’s passing. Dave was a very kind colleague at Shawnigan. I admired him for his academic excellence and also for his willingness to speak his mind. He cared greatly for people in the community and spent many years as a volunteer firefighter.
    I have fond memories of him giving me and my granddaughter Mikayla tours of his lovely garden full of native plants.
    Dave will be sadly missed by our family.

  5. Andrew Hobbs :

    To Liz, Jon, Cathy and Sarah,
    I’m so sorry for your loss and hope you will find comfort knowing that many people will remember Dave as a great teacher and wonderful family man. Dave was very much like an uncle to me and I have lasting memories of joining you on family ski vacations and to the Nanaimo mall where he would make animal noises to embarrass us. And I have Dave to thank for filling in some of my lacking English education: he taught Jon & me to play snooker and darts (at the Ritz), how to poach in doubles, and what yuppie beer was. He will be sadly missed but fondly remembered.
    Lots of Love,
    Andrew & The Hobbs’

  6. Bev and Tim McCooey :

    Our sympathy is with the Leary family at this time. Liz has been a great friend over the years with our children in school together and the common ground we shared. Dave always made people feel comfortable and important in his presence. An intelligent man with great pride. A gift and blessing to have known him. Fly with the angels dear friend.

  7. Jo-Ann Textor :

    Dear Liz, Cathy, Sarah and Jonathon
    Our hearts go out to you all in your time of sorrow.
    Rest in peace Dave
    We had a day of foraging years ago for native plants. Out we went with bags and buckets in tow on seventy acres. Always a teacher- I learned so much that day. The primroses Dave gave me are flourishing. I think of him every time I see them.
    ” Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow”.
    By Robert Louis Stevenson
    With caring thoughts to all
    Barry and Jo-Ann

  8. Jo-Ann Textor :

    Dear Liz, Cathy,Sarah and Jonathon
    Our hearts go out to you all in your time of sorrow.
    Rest in peace Dave
    I remember a day we had of foraging in the back acreage for native plants years ago. Always a teacher- I learned a lot that day.
    The primroses Dave gave me are fourishing. I think of him everytime I see them.
    ” Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow “.
    Robert Louis Stevenson
    With caring thoughts to all
    Barry and Jo-Ann Textor

  9. Jenna Textor :

    He was a really good grandpa. He was fun and a nice grandpa. I loved him.
    Love, Jenna

    • eizabeth leary :

      It was so lovely to see your message on the website. Grandpa was very proud of you and loved you all a lot.
      Grandma xoxo

  10. Sincere condolences to Liz and all Dave’s family on their sad loss. I hope their sorrow will be tempered by many happy memories of Dave’s generosity, sense of humour and zest for life.

    At the start of our careers in education at Yew Tree Comprehensive School in Manchester, Dave was not only a competent and helpful colleague, but also a much valued and trusted friend. I think I might have been the first to know that he intended to ask the then Liz Grafton for a first “date”, and was pleased to see a loving relationship develop and lead to a wedding and a long lasting marriage.

    In those distant days before we started to worship at the altar of political correctness Dave was always ready to share with me the last of his cigarettes in the preparation room which separated our two chemistry laboratories, and on occasion we used to “improve” out cups of instant coffee with a little freshly distilled ethyl alcohol. I also recall how we demonstrated some spectacularly explosive chemical reactions on the school field, much appreciated by our pupils but almost certainly prohibited by today’s health and safety legislation.

    I remember Dave as a fine schoolmaster who was able to communicate effectively with pupils, both boys and girls, of all backgrounds and abilities. He was always ready to provide support and assistance to colleagues, and had a happy gift of being able to defuse difficult situations, often by using his gentle sense of humour.

    I was saddened when Dave and Liz decided their future was in Canada, and we became separated by the Atlantic ocean, but it was the right thing for them to do, and they can have had no regrets about the happy family life they enjoyed in their new environment.

    So as I finish a large glass of whisky, drink a toast to my old friend, and remember happy days in the 1960s, I can only hope, as some believe, we shall meet again in a better place.

  11. Sincere condolences to Liz and all Dave’s family on their sad loss. I hope their sorrow will be tempered by many happy memories of Dave’s generosity, sense of humour and zest for life.

    At the start of our careers in education at Yew Tree Comprehensive School in Manchester, Dave was not only a competent and helpful colleague, but also a much valued and trusted friend. I think I might have been the first to know that he intended to ask the then Liz Grafton for a first “date”, and was able to see a relationship lead to a wedding and a long lasting marriage.

    In those distant days before we started to worship at the altar of political correctness he was always ready to share with me the last of his cigarettes in the preparation room which separated our two chemistry laboratories, and on occasion we used to “improve” out cups of instant coffee with a little freshly distilled ethyl alcohol. I also recall how we demonstrated some spectacular explosive chemical reactions on the school field, much appreciated by our pupils but almost certainly prohibited by today’s health and safety legislation.

    I remember Dave as a fine schoolmaster who was able to communicate effectively with pupils, both boys and girls, of all backgrounds and abilities. He was always ready to provide support and assistance to colleagues, and had a happy gift of being able to defuse difficult situations, often by using his gentle sense of humour.

    I was saddened when Dave and Liz decided their future was in Canada, and we became separated by the Atlantic ocean, but it was the right thing for them to do, and they can have had no regrets about the happy family life they enjoyed in their new environment.

    So as I finish a large glass of whisky, drink a toast to my old friend, and remember happy days in the 1960s, I can only hope, as some believe, we shall meet again in a better place.

  12. Douglas Campbell :

    Liz, Jonathan, Sarah and Cathy : I was stunned to read of David’s passing and on behalf of Susan as well as Tim and Robyn please know that the Campbell family is thinking of you and sending supportive thoughts at what we know is a very difficult time. I will raise a glass in David’s honor tonight. Doug Campbell

  13. Robyn Campbell :

    Dear Liz, Jon, Cathy and Sarah – I just learned about David and I wanted to let you know how sorry I am and that I am thinking of you all and sending strength. I have so many warm memories of David in those great years at Shawnigan in the 80s (poor him – he already had two daughters – the last thing he needed was another little girl under foot!) I am thinking of his wonderful smile as I type this. xo Robyn

  14. Janet Neilsen :

    Dear Liz,
    I just received a phone call from our friend Lynne.
    I am so very sad to hear the news about your Dave.
    I enjoyed working with Dave and you at SLS ,we were one big family in those days.
    Thinking about you in your time of sorrow.
    Love to you Liz.

  15. Michael Lynn :

    Dear Mrs. Leary, Jon, Cathy and Sarah,

    My deepest condolences. His children are his legacy, 2 out of 3 not too bad. ☺
    Best wishes from the Lynn family.

  16. Galen Loiselle :

    Dear Liz,

    Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. I remember, with great fondness, working at SLS with you both. Please know that you, and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. Dear Liz,
    John phoned with the sad news of Dave’s passing last week when we were away . I have since had a chat with him and he explained about his visit to Canada. Please accept our condolences .
    I always think fondly of my elder cousin even though we did not meet enough. He went to one school , I went to the other . He played tennis , I played cricket , but we both became teachers.
    Love and best wishes , Mavis and Tony Leary

  18. Georg and Gaynor :

    Dearest Liz and family,
    Today Dave would be out in his garden on Renfrew Road tending to his flourishing flowers and little ponds, undaunted by that gammy knee. Visions of bright yellow irises and sweet peas dazzle, followed by tea with one of those delectable little scones Liz bakes at the drop of a hat! That’s how we remember visiting the Learys, and also those interesting conversations, sometimes political.
    Remember when you invited me round to your house to have 19 stitches removed from my nose? Determined to help me avoid the Christmas and Boxing Day crowds at the Emerg, you offered Cathy’s expertise instead. There I sat, eyes watering, in your kitchen with Dave pushing yet another glass of sherry into my hand as Cathy carefully tugged out each stitch with a pair of blunt nail scissors! I will always remember Dave’s encouraging “Have another sherry!”.

    Devoted chemistry teacher, he helped countless Groves’ girls navigate the challenges of his subject. Always his passion and his intellect inspired them to dig deep to reach an understanding. Discussing books and new ideas was always fun with well-read Dave, who kept me on my toes chasing after the next recommendation.
    Dave, we’ll miss you and remember you, your wit, your humour, your chuckle, your dedication, your jokes, and above all, your questions.
    Hamba Kahle (Xhosa – go well)
    Gaynor and Georg
    Shawnigan Lake

  19. Erica Dalrymple :

    Dear Liz,
    George, Fiona and I send our sympathy to you and your family. We spent time this weekend reminiscing about our interactions with Dave. From the welcome he extended to George in the fire department, his genuine interest in Fiona’s progress and “tell it like it was” comments about life at SLS, he will always hold a place in our hearts. You always knew exactly what to expect from him – STRAIGHTFORWARD HONESTY! He is missed.
    Erica Dalrymple

  20. Jon,

    My condolences on your father passing. Thinking of you and your family.

    TW

  21. Neil Bryant :

    I’ll never forget the grilling I got when Dave interviewed me for my first teaching job, one at SLS. He asked chemistry question after chemistry question and, perhaps because I got a few right, I got the job, taking over his classes as the third term commenced. I am reminded of Dave’s straightforward and honest way of thinking and speaking, one I have always tried to model since his retirement. I spent most of this afternoon thinking about my memories of following in Dave’s footsteps and of teaching on faculty with Liz; those were formative years. He will be missed, and my sincere condolences for the Leary family’s loss.

  22. Denese Brittain :

    Dear Liz, Jonathan, Sarah, Cathy and families: Our sincere condolences to you all on the loss of Dave. Have fond memories og growing up in Stockport with Dave as my “big cousin” on the Leary side. The house at 28 Corbar Road was adjacent to the Stocport Sunday School playing fields where our parents were active members – as children we were always welcome to “slip through the hedge” to Aunty Margaret, Uncle Harold, Dave and John. Luckily we kept up with Dave and Liz throughout the years, meeting when our paths crossed. Canada was the right setting for work and family life for you as Norway has been for us. Dave was a special person and will be missed by many. Sincerely, Denese (nee Leary) & John Brittain with our boys Martin & Paul and their families.

  23. I am sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. He was a kind man with a wonderfully dry and clever sense of humour, an excellent teacher and a fine athlete. I had the pleasure of working with Dave when I ran Lonsdale’s House at Shawnigan Lake School. The boys in the house really enjoyed his duty nights and loved to engage in good natured fun with him. When he decided to retire, the boys in the house decided to play a prank on Dave, by doing their homework while stark naked! Dave clearly recognized the prank and said nothing to of the boys. The house captain came and told came this- he could not believe Dave had not acknowledged the prank. The two hours of prep passed- still not a word from Dave- so the house captain called a House Meeting. Every boy in the house walked arrived in the Common Room without a stitch of clothing. Dave arrived. The House said some kind words to Dave. Dave thanks the boys, but still made no mention of the state the boys were in, until he was about the leave. At that point, he said good night to all, with a parting quip, “It seems a bit drafty in the house this evening!”, and then he was gone. The boys loved it!

    I send my best wishes to Liz and the girls and hope a celebration of dave’s life will happen soon.

    Big hugs to all,

    Marius Felix

  24. Shawn Wright :

    Dear Liz and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. I have so many fond memories of him as a wonderfully kind, caring and gentle man who had a wonderful way of connecting with his students, whether in the Chemistry lab, badminton court, or around campus. Chemistry was my favourite class at Shawnigan, and continued to be through university, and this is a credit to Dave’s incredible talent for keeping things interesting enough for a group of not-so-attentive boys in the 80s. A photo I took of Dave in 1984 was recently returned to me, and I treasure it even more now, for it captures him doing what he did so well: teaching through dramatic demonstration in the lab. In this case, he is demonstrating how flour can ignite violently when blown across an open flame, and it shows the resulting flames reaching well above his head, which likely explains why this demonstration is rarely done today, but also why it is so effective and memorable. On the badminton court, Dave showed that his racquet was just as quick as his wit, and I looked forward to each practice or tournament, which he always conducted in a competitive but respectful way. Dave was a very gifted teacher and coach, and will be fondly remembered by many students, staff and friends.
    My sincere condolences go to you, Liz, and all of your family at this difficult time.
    Kind regards,
    Shawn Wright

  25. Our heartfelt condolences to the Leary family. We are so sorry to hear the sad news. Hold tight to your memories, saying goodbye to someone we love is so difficult and heartbreaking. I hope you find comfort in all the special memories you hold in your heart of Dave.

    We wish you comfort and strength as you remember and celebrate Dave’s life.

    The Repay family,
    Trish, Lorne and Kristi Repay

  26. Rolf and Lynne :

    To Liz, Jonathan, Sarah and Cathy,

    We were so sorry to hear about Dave, but have many great memories of him. He was a great teacher, athlete, colleague and friend. Although Chemistry was his subject, he was a true intellectual and scholar, interested in and well-versed in so many different areas. He was a mentor to me when I first started at Shawnigan: 1. Eloquently explaining that being invited to serve on the regatta executive was not the honour that it appeared. 2. Introducing me to FIST at the Shawnigan Resort after a particularly harrowing first week of five duty nights in a row as a rookie House Director. It was a privilege to coach tennis with him, benefitting from his passion, skill and expertise. Over the years, huge numbers of students were fortunate enough to have Dave as their teacher. An alum who went on to do Masters and PhD work in chemistry at a couple of prestigious US Universities told me that, in all her studies, Dave was without a doubt, the best teacher she ever had. Other memories include:
    • The green/blue van which kept going forever and lost Rolf a $100 bet!
    • Dave’s willingness to speak his mind and stand up for what was right
    • His dry sense of humour
    • The beautiful garden with the pond, sweet peas and trails
    • Borrego
    • The Cobblestone and Ridge
    Please know that we are thinking of you all.
    RIP Dave.

  27. Dear Liz and Sarah, Cathy & Jonathan,
    Thinking of very fond memories of Dave at this time and wishing you all comfort and many condolences at this time.
    xo Sarah

  28. Glen Sanders :

    Dear Liz and family,
    I had the privilege of working with Dave as a volunteer firefighter at Shawnigan Lake Fire Department where he allowed me to be his Fire Chief. He made everybody he came in contact with better people. At the fire department we also enjoyed his dry wit, his intellect, and the robust political discussions.
    I am aware of at least two firefighters from other communities who were students of Dave at Shawnigan Lake School who were inspired by Dave to serve the communities where they lived as volunteer firefighters.
    Dave was leader in so many ways and touched so many lives.
    Rest in peace my friend!

  29. Rob and Marisol Chatton :

    Our condolences to the Leary family after hearing this sad news.

    I also enjoyed serving with Dave as a Volunteer Firefighter in Shawnigan. He served the Community diligently be it responding to calls, hosting Halloween Bonfires or fundraising for those in need.

    During daytime calls we would look forward to Dave’s seconded mode of transportation as he waited on Renfrew Road in front of the school to “hitch” a ride to the firehall. Sometimes it was a random stranger, a carpool with another member responding or even a gravel truck passing by did the trick. It didn’t matter, just needed to get there!

    Some great memories shared here that bring a laugh as well as truly show the gentleman he was and will always be to those who’s paths he crossed.

    Thanks for your service David. Rest well.

  30. Dave and Lana Cech :

    Dear Liz and family,
    We are thinking of you and sending strength at this very sad time. May your wonderful memories help you through the difficult days ahead. Dave was such a kind man and Dave always enjoyed his chats with him on Fire Practice nights and I as well when he came into Aitken and Fraser…he left a lasting impression. Sending hugs to you Liz,
    Dave and Lana

  31. Norm & Gloria Magee :

    Norm Magee
    Dear Liz and family,
    Sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. Have many memories of Dave at SLS and the great times we had at the fire department,still miss the practices and the
    beer on Wednesday nights. Thinking of you at this time.
    Gloria and Norm

  32. My heartfelt condolences to the Leary. I have fond of memories of play dates as kids in the Leary house. A house filled with lots of love. Thinking of you all… Much Love Lisa

  33. Kim Barnard :

    Rest in peace, David- one of the greatest mentors I have ever been blessed to work alongside. The shyest of students – like beloved plants! – blossomed under your care. May your legacy continue to inspire others for generations! Much love to you Liz and family during the days ahead. With gratitude and tremendous respect, Kim

  34. Serena Chang (school house 2001) :

    Dear Mrs. Leary and your family. My condolences. Mr Leary was one of the greats from SLS and I truly enjoyed his chemistry classes. I also enjoyed you two taking us Chinese kids out for Chinese New Year, it made me felt warm and like a family gathering . I’m glad to learn that Mr Leary passed peacefully and with his loving families by his side, may he Rest In Peace. My condolences to you and your family.

  35. My condolences on the loss of a good man. I really enjoyed my time with Dave in classes and in the house, and still have a laugh when thinking of some of our discussions.

  36. Kaity Hutchison :

    My sincere condolences on you loss Mrs. Leary. My very best wishes to you and your family during this sad time.
    -Kaity (Shawnigan ’04)

  37. Jon Scott (Ripley's 2000) :

    Mrs. Leary and Family. Please accept my condolences. I got to know Mr. Leary while working on the SLS yearbook. I always appreciated his kind approach to instruction and his thoughtful words about many things. He will be missed. Jon

  38. Chris Wilkins :

    Mr. Leary stands out in my high school memories. Kind, bright, outspoken, and engaging. He cajoled and pushed us to achieve our best and praised results. He challenged our assumptions! He found joy in explaining concepts to the interested. He demonstrated the amazing impact that a talented and dedicated teacher can have.

    To his family, my sincere condolences.

  39. James Mok (Lake's '82) :

    I am one of his first Chemistry class students as well as Badminton players at Shawnigan Lake School back in the year 1981, and again in 1982, when he first came to SLS. Mr. Leary had always been very patient and kind to everyone. “Now, is that understood?” was his line toward the end of every single one of his classes and then followed by a short pause with eye contact to every student making sure everyone understood what he said.

    I had gotten to know him well through our inter-school Badminton tournaments. I am sorry I did not get a chance to see Mr. Leary again when my son studied at SLS a few years ago.

    Rest in peace Mr. Leary. Your kinds heart and face will always be missed. My condolences to the family.

  40. Eliza Tavares :

    Sending my condolences to all of you. Mr.Leary by far was my favorite teacher and mentor. He helped shape my confidence as a teen with his belief in me. I’m deeply saddened by his passing and his memory will stay close in my heart. Sending love, Eliza Tavares (straw)

  41. Justin Leung Ripley's 98' :

    Dear Liz, Cathy, Sarah and Jonathan I am sorry to hear about Mr Leary’s passing. He meant a great deal to me and was one of the reasons I made it through Shawnigan and into university. He believed in me and never gave up on me. I am forever grateful and he will be greatly missed. Please take care.

  42. Nick and Jenny Coghlan :

    So sorry to learn of your loss, Liz. Both of you were great friends to us when we moved to Canada (Shawnigan) in 1981; we will greatly miss Dave’s dry wit and common sense.

    Nick and Jenny Coghlan

  43. Simon Bruce-Lockhart :

    Dear Liz
    I was greatly saddened to hear of David’s passing. Although my knowledge of him was professional rather than personal, I always admired three things about him greatly. The first was his commitment to his subject and his students. The second was his lovely dry wit. And the third – and most important – was his willingness to give voice to his values, quietly but effectively.

    Joanne joins me in sending our best wishes to you and your family.

    Simon

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