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"BHP" 2006 Obituary


BHP o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2006-02-17 published
LAW, Alan Joseph Woodforth, P.Eng.
Alan Joseph Woodforth LAW died peacefully at home, in the arms of his wife and best friend Nicki, on February 11, 2006. He was 74 years old. Born on January 21, 1932 in Cheshire, England, Alan graduated at age 19 from Nottingham University with a degree in Mining Engineering. During his final year at university, Alan applied for a student position at Sigma Gold Mine in Val D'Or, Quebec and left England in 1952 for Canada, a life long dream. After working with Sigma for three years, Alan went to Manitouwadge to work for Noranda Mines, Geco Division producing copper and zinc, where he worked as an underground surveyor, and later as a layout engineer. In 1958, he moved to Elliot Lake as the Planning Engineer for Rio Algom Mines - Milliken Division, and in 1959, on a blind date at the old Gatineau Club in the Ottawa /Hull area where Della Reese was performing, Alan met Diane McGLADE, affectionately known as Nicki, whom he married on June 25, 1960. It was at Milliken Mines in Elliot Lake that Alan met a number of people who would direct the course of his life and career - Dale and Norma HENDRICK, Mervyn UPHAM, George STENNING, Carl ASHENHURST, Ted CHEESEMAN, Dennis BRIDGER, Alex McNEILL, and many others. Alan moved quickly through the ranks at Milliken Mines holding the position of Chief Mining Engineer until the mine closed in 1964. Nicki and Alan then moved to Nenagh, Ireland in 1964 where he developed a lead-zinc mine as the Chief Engineer for Mogul of Ireland. He returned to Canada in 1966 to work as Chief Engineer at Newmont's Granduc Mines Ltd, and engineered an eleven-mile tunnel that had to be driven under intervening mountain ranges and glaciers. The tunnel then connected to a mountain road that had to be built to Stewart, the nearest port, 32 miles away. The Granduc project achieved engineering goals unprecedented in the history of mining. In 1970, Mervyn Upham, then president of Selco Mining Corporation, invited Alan to join him as Director of Engineering in Toronto. Known by many as the best mining engineer in the industry, he was given many global assignments including the development of the mine design in 1973 of the Newmont-Mount Isa Agnew nickel project in western Australia. Back in Canada, until his retirement in 1992 from Selco, later known as BHP Billiton, he engineered the development of the Quebec Selbaie copper zinc mine and the South Bay copper zinc mine in western Ontario. All of his mines made major contributions to the well being and the economics of their respective locations. Alan was excellent at any endeavour he took on whether it was curling, tennis, golf, bridge, snooker, toastmaster and drama clubs, model trains and woodworking. He was, in particular, a smiling connoisseur of good Scotch. Alan was a member of the Professional Engineers Association of Ontario, the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, the Engineer's Club of Toronto, and the Ontario Club. Although he excelled as a mining engineer, Alan's gift of recital, particularly of the Battle of Hastings, and numerous other epic poems was closely matched by his singing of Danny Boy, performed beautifully with granddaughter Emily TAILOR/TAYLOR, a mere three weeks before his death. Exceptionally bright, kind, modest, and witty, Alan not only led the world of engineering science in some of the largest and most ambitious mines around the world, he was at all times unfailingly devoted to his wife, his children, his grandchildren and all his family and Friends. Alan is survived by his devoted wife of 46 years, Diane (Nicki) LAW (née McGLADE,) his beloved daughters Elizabeth Ann (Robert VOGTLE;) Diane Millicent (Greg DAVIES,) and Nancy-Jane (Iain TAILOR/TAYLOR;) by grandchildren Mathew, Jennifer and Laura VOGTLE; Emily and Simon TAILOR/TAYLOR, and Sean DAVIES. Alan leaves behind his two brothers in England, John Geoffrey LAW and David Thomas LAW. He is dearly loved by his brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and 29 nieces and nephews. No one was blessed with more loyal or caring Friends than Alan, many spanning decades of memorable years with Alan and Nicki at the cottage in Muskoka or around the bridge table. The LAW family gratefully acknowledges the commitment and care delivered by cardiologist Dr. Anthony GRAHAM for over 25 years; and by the wonderful home care workers from the Etobicoke Community Care Access Centre. Funeral services will be held at St. Georges On-The-Hill, 4600 Dundas Street West on Tuesday, February 21, at 2: 00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, it was Alan's preference that any donations be directed to the St. Michael's Hospital Foundation, c/o Dr. Gordon Moe's Research Program in Congestive Heart Failure, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8

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