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In Memoriam: John McRuer

John Dow McRuer passed away on February 25, 2009 in Kitchener in his 83rd year.

John was a graduate of the Royal Canadian Naval College (Royal Roads) and rose to the rank of Lt. Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy in which he served on several ships. He became an expert in strategic planning, ending his naval career as a Senior Analyst at the Defence Research Board in Ottawa.

After retiring from the navy in the 1960s, he set up Algonquin Waterways Wilderness Trips, a pioneering business taking clients canoe tripping on routes throughout Ontario.

His awareness of the environment took him to a Masters degree in Environmental Studies at York University. In this career, he was employed at the Ontario Science Centre and played a role in the creation of the original interactive exhibits. He was a member of the Conservation Council of Ontario (CCO) through this period and wrote a substantial report entitled “An Energy Plan for Ontario.”

John joined the Population Committee at the CCO and this led to a 20-year career in global issues. Using his background in strategic analysis and computer simulations, he wrote extensively to spread awareness of the finiteness of planet Earth. He made extensive use of a prototype Global Systems Simulator to study the relationships between population and resource consumption. He was very concerned about the fragility of the global environment and about the Earth’s ability to sustain humankind. He was an active member of the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome and recommended the establishment of a Global Systems Centre to promote further simulation work. John was an avid proponent of the need for a strategy designed to manage the finite resources needed to support humankind on this fragile ecosystem. He was an active member of Science for Peace and a founding member of its Global Issues Project, participating in the Roundtable on Forests in 2006.

John had a long relationship with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna and collaborated with IIASA and the Club of Rome, making presentations in Vienna in both 2007 and 2008. His last presentation was entitled “Strategies for an Endangered Civilization.”

He leaves his children and their families: Sandy and Patti, Anne, Gillian and John (Erica, Carly, Sophie), Geordie and Nici (Amelie), Ian, his loving friend and former wife Mavis Kerr, his surviving sister Katherine McIntyre, his first wife Cynthia Hunt, and eleven nieces and nephews.

A memorial service for John McRuer will be held at the First Unitarian Congregation of Waterloo at 299 Sydney St. South in Kitchener, April 18, 2009. Memorial donations may be sent to Science for Peace (A306 University College, 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto M5S 3H7).

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