ODGERS email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-28 published
ODGERS, Graham James
Died peacefully in his sleep at home in Victoria on June 15, 2008 with his wife and children around him. Predeceased by his son Anthony Graham McMahon of Melbourne, Australia in 2006. Survived by his devoted wife of 59 years, Pamela, son Christopher, daughters Katharine (Chris), and Patricia (Chris), cherished granddaughter Sophie, beloved sister Margaret, nieces Julie and Lenore, cousins Bill and Jenny and extended family in Australia. Fondly remembered by Friends, relatives, and colleagues in Canada, France, Hawaii, England, and Australia. Born in Melbourne, Australia on December 29, 1921, he was educated at the University of Melbourne (B.A. Hons.), Cambridge University (M. Sc.), and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph. D. in Astrophysics). He met Pam while attending Cambridge; they married in 1949 and moved to Victoria where Graham began working at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Saanich, where he remained throughout his career. His proudest career achievement was his pivotal role in the planning, design, coordination, and construction of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, which opened in 1979. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Victoria in 1998.
Having lived through the hardships of the depression in Australia, he retained life-long socialist convictions and always supported the left even when he lived in the Uplands. He served his country during World War 2 by working on the design and stress analysis of Tiger Moth training aircraft; later at the Canberra Observatory he predicted sunspots which would interfere with short wave radio communications throughout the southwest Pacific theatre of war. After immigrating to Canada, he served as a Lieutenant-Commander in the Naval Reserve at H.M.C.S. Malahat. In this capacity he took part in the Coronation cruise from Victoria to Portsmouth and the Spithead Revue in 1951.
Graham was admired for his keen intellect, prodigious learning, formidable memory, and quick and piercing wit. An Aussie to the end, he was an avid player and follower of tennis and cricket and could recite 60-year-old cricket scores at the age of 86.
A celebration of Graham's life will be held on Saturday, July 5 at 1: 00 p.m. at Goward House, 2495 Arbutus Road. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 428, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 2N8.
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