Obituary of Robert Dowsett
ROBERT CHIPMAN DOWSETT
FSA, FICA, MAAA
June 27, 1929 – April 8, 2018
Cherished family man, successful businessman and respected community leader, Rob Dowsett passed peacefully in Toronto after a brief illness in his 89th year.
The youngest son of the late Jean and Reginald Dowsett; predeceased by his beloved brothers, Bill and John. Proud brother-in-law to Jane Dowsett and the late Maxie Dowsett. Loving father to David (Vivian), Marisa, Carol (Ralph Rae) and devoted Grandfather/Boppa to Larena, (Nicholas Cashmore), Benjamin (Laura), Daniel, James (Melissa), Colin and Gwenna (Michael). Survived by former wife, Lois Dowsett (nee McHardy), brother-in-law Don McHardy and wife Diana and sister-in-law Eleanor McHardy. Predeceased by brother-in-law Bob McHardy. Much admired uncle to many Dowsett and McHardy nieces and nephews.
Devoted partner to Anne Folger and her children Jarrod Liberatore (Shelley, children Lucy, Roxanne and Phoebe) and Katharine Liberatore (Lynn Taylor).
Rob attended University of Toronto Schools (UTS) graduating in 1946, just before his 17th birthday. At UTS he met life-long friends John Evans and Joe McArthur and captained the football team. In his later years, Rob founded the Monday Night Club (that meets on Tuesday), a group of UTS grads reunited. Rob began a lifetime association with Victoria College at U of T, graduating in 1950 with a BA (Honours Mathematics and Physics).
Rob began his working career at Crown Life Insurance Company in 1950 while pursuing Actuarial Sciences. He became an actuary in 1954, the youngest person in Canada to achieve this designation. Progressing through management ranks, Rob became EVP of Crown in 1970 and President and CEO in 1971. In 1982, Rob left Crown to join William M. Mercer as Director and was appointed Vice-Chairman in 1985. Rob was a founding member of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, serving as President in 1973-1974. Retiring from Mercer in 1995, he operated Robert Dowsett Consulting until months before his death. Through each phase of his career, Rob’s principled ways earned him the respect of countless friends and colleagues.
Rob’s impact on his community was significant. He was a tireless volunteer and fundraiser; he often said his greatest achievement was giving back to others. He served on many non-profit boards including The Donwood Institute, The Council for Canadian Unity, Addiction Research Foundation, UTS, U of T and The CAMH Foundation. An art enthusiast, he assisted the McMichael Canadian Art Collection for almost 40 years, honouring his parents’ legacy. A spiritual man, he was one of the founding members of Bethesda United Church in Don Mills.
An avid outdoorsman, Rob pursued life-long passions for canoeing, sailing and waterskiing at cottages on Bella Lake in his childhood, at the family cottage on Lake Joseph in Muskoka and at Anne’s cottage in Newago near Montreal. Rob loved sports and was active all his life; he enjoyed daily calisthenics, bike riding, and walks with his loyal dog Tally. Rob enjoyed snow skiing in Utah. He was an active member of the Donalda Club beginning in 1972, playing tennis and participating in club trips to Jamaica for tournaments. He will be remembered for his keen mind and the hours devoted to duplicate bridge. Rob enjoyed gardening and working with his hands; a skilled handy man and jack-of-all trades.
Rob possessed unparalleled optimism and zest for life. His grandchildren brought him immeasurable joy. His exuberance for the wonders of mathematics was contagious. A man of deep thought, he was always willing to extend a hand and offer assistance. Above all, he was a man of honour; the true definition of a gentle man.
A Celebration of Rob’s Life will be held in Jubilee United Church, 40 Underhill Drive, North York, on Saturday, May 26th at 1:00 p.m., followed by a reception at 2:30 p.m. at the Donalda Club, 12 Bushbury Drive, North York. Donations in Rob’s memory can be made to the CAMH Foundation (www.supportcamh.ca) or the North York General Hospital Foundation (www.nyghfoundation.ca) with great appreciation. Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymilesnewbigging.com.