Dr. Robert Richmond

Obituary of Dr. Robert Dick(ie) Richmond




Order of Canada CM, Honorary Doctorate (Carleton), B.S.E (Michigan).

January 13, 1919, Winnipeg, MB - December 26, 2022, Toronto, ON


After a brief illness, Dick died peacefully, just after his 103rd Christmas. Predeceased by his wife Nan (nee Gilchrist - 2005), his daughter & son-in-law Robin & Patrick Mars, and his sister Marjorie Douglas.  Dick leaves behind his son George (Heather) Richmond. Known as ‘Babs’ to his grandchildren, he was a special grandfather to Anthea and Euan Mars, Diana (Sean), Ian (Deanna), and John (Anastasia) Richmond; great-grandfather to Henry, Poppy, Griffin, Beckett, Annika, Cate, George, Harold, and Patrick. 


Dick spent his childhood in Winnipeg, Manitoba before moving to Toronto in the early 1930s. He attended the University of Michigan, earning his Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1942, before returning to Canada to begin a pioneering career that spanned more than 50 years in the Canadian Aerospace industry.  Dick began his career as a Junior Research Engineer with the National Research Council of Canada before moving to Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. in the private sector. Throughout his career Dick held a number of positions as a senior executive with Canadair Ltd. (Chief of Aerodynamics 1947), Canadian Pratt & Whitney Ltd. (Board of Directors & Executive President 1963), McDonnell Douglas Canada (President 1970), Spar Aerospace Ltd. (President, Chief Operating Officer 1974), and Bombardier (Staff Executive Vice President, 1986). 


Dick was a leading industrialist, successfully helping guide Canadian Aerospace through the development and future of a global industry; working on projects of such prominence as the CT-11 Tudor Jet flown by the Snowbirds, the Challenger (Bombardier), the Regional Jet (Canadair) and the Canadarm 1 (Spar Aerospace), as well as many other great Canadian Aerospace accomplishments. More details on Dick’s many accomplishments can be read in his autobiography, ‘A Life in Canadian Aerospace, 1942-1992’ (CANAV Books, 2014).


Dick was a Fellow, founding Member and Past President of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, and a recipient of their C.D. Howe award for leadership in Aerospace. He was an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aerospace Sciences, a Member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, a Past Chairman of the Canadian Delegation to NATO Industrial Advisory Group, and a Past Chairman and Honorary Life Member of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. He was awarded an Honourary Doctorate in Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1998. Dick was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1995 and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2019.  


Dick cherished time spent with his family and summers on Lake Bernard, in Sundridge, Ontario. His vintage cedar strip Peterborough boat, the ‘Queen Mary’, was his pride and joy. He did many tours of Lake Bernard with family and friends aboard. He loved the great outdoors and was a keen skier, golfer and fisherman.   

Dick’s sharp sense of humour, worldly experience and wise counsel were highly valued by many, particularly his grandchildren, who drew on his sage advice many times over the years.  He loved nothing more than an afternoon in the sun on the deck of his cottage, with the Queen Mary in view and visitors of all ages passing by for a chat.  He will be greatly missed by many. 


The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville) for a service in the Chapel on Friday, January 20th at 1:00 p.m.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.


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