James Allan Richens
Allan had many interests in life, primarily centred on the out of doors. His career choices reflected that beginning with the Royal Canadian Navy, followed by pioneering days in aerial photography and subsequently in the then emerging technology of stereo photogrammetry with the National Research Council. He was on the team that developed the camera at the end of the CanadArm for the US Space Shuttle program.
He was an avid sailor, and was a founding member of the Gatineau River Yacht Club in 1962 set two small islands at Gleneagle, Quebec. He could often be seen circumnavigating the islands with his characteristic, rhythmic breaststroke; most recently in September of this year. He was an accomplished skier, both alpine and cross-country and could be seen cutting an elegant figure at Camp Fortune on his 220cm telemark skis long after the world had gone to shorter, more sophisticated equipment. Cross country skiing remained his winter pastime and he would regularly ski more than 20 km per day. He was well known in the Gatineau Park, including by the NCC who he felt needed to be kept on their toes. He wanted to ensure the old trails in the Park were not forgotten and had Watsford’s Look Out restored for all to enjoy. In the summer and autumn he led hikes along the old pathways and delighted participants with the stories of the families who had lived on the land prior to the creation of the Park. He was an active member of the Gatineau Historical Society and a regular contributor to the local newspaper, the Low Down to Hull and Back. Allan took up golfing on retirement and went on to be a mainstay of the senior men’s team at Larrimac Golf Club. He often represented the Club at local tournaments and was particularly proud of breaking par at the Old Course at the Royal and Ancient Club, St. Andrew’s, Scotland.
He retired early and enjoyed it shamelessly; rotating between Canada, Florida and England to capture the best points of the seasons. He loved being outside and passed that onto his children and grandchildren. He was also very community-minded. He was a municipal councillor, school board member, active in the Legion both here and abroad and a driving force behind the highly entertaining reunions of the Association of Aerial Surveyors.
Allan was an active, healthy, vital man until laid low by a rare fungal infection in late November. While he rallied and was well on the way to recovery, he was unable to fight off a secondary infection. His passing was unexpected. He is much loved and remembered by Joyce, his wife of 57 years, his daughters Jennifer and Janet, his grandchildren James and Graeme, his sister Dorothy, his niece Ann Elisabeth, nephew Eric and the remaining family in England.