David Milner

Obituary of David Milner

June 27, 1927 – Toronto, Ontario

June 5, 2024 – Calgary, Alberta


Charles William "David" Milner was born in Toronto, Ontario, on June 27, 1927. On a beautiful spring evening, while drinking a martini and eating a steak at the Calgary Golf & Country Club, he died in the loving presence of two of his daughters. David was predeceased by his parents, Arthur Joseph Milner and Kathleen Stuart Milner (nee Dunbar), and his sister Margaret Stewart.


In 1951, after moving west to Edmonton, David met and married Betty Louise McPhail. They spent almost 71 years together and gave birth to four daughters, Anne, Janet, Margaret, and Amy. This was followed by eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A very special place for him was the family cottage at Sturgeon Point in the Kawartha Lakes region in Ontario. Five generations of Milners enjoyed summers at the lake - swimming, sailing, birdwatching, canoeing, dog walking, eating delicious family meals, and playing cards deep into the evening on the veranda.


There is much to be said about David's accomplishments in his chosen career as a geologist with Imperial Oil. His work took him to many interesting places around the globe. He had many passions beyond his work including his involvement in the church, philanthropic pursuits and federal politics. He was an avid reader of literature of every genre and was keenly interested in everything from the tiny ant, to why we exist, to the formation of Earth itself. David pursued many outdoor activities such as downhill and cross-country skiing, camping, and being outside in nature, often with Betty, his gaggle of girls, or a grandchild in tow.


One of David's great passions was birdwatching, a joy that has been passed down through the generations. He was ever to be seen with either a pair of binoculars, a camera (or both) hanging around his neck. As he watched and listened to birds, he grew flowers and vegetables, turned the compost pile in the alley, pulled weeds and puttered, always accompanied by a beloved dog. Dogs were always part of the Milner menagerie and occupied a large part of David's life.


When the weather wasn't conducive to working outside, he spent countless hours in the basement or garage building furniture and cabinets in his little workroom. His most ambitious project was a cedar-strip canoe which is still in use today. He had a hard time tearing himself away from projects and was thus often late for dinner. David had the heart of both a lion and a poet. Nothing was beyond the subject matter for yet another poem, and he wrote hundreds of them. It was his special way of communicating his most cherished feelings about love, life and the people he knew. David’s personalized poems line the hearts of friends and family near and far. He has four self-published books of poetry. David was a lifelong learner and armchair philosopher, and this is perhaps his greatest legacy as his progeny of three generations avidly follow in his footsteps, ever learning, growing, and engaging in meaningful reflection in one capacity or another.


The last years of his life were spent in Staywell Manor, where he and Betty were cared for by exceptionally loving staff.


Funeral Services will be held at Anglican Parish of Christ Church (3602 – 8th Street S.W., Calgary, AB) on Monday, June 17, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. Reception to follow at 7235 Kananaskis Drive SW. David’s ashes will be interred following the service at Christ Church Memorial Garden, alongside those of his dearest Betty.


Donations in honour of David’s memory can be made to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, 890, 105 – 12th Avenue, SE, Calgary, AB, T2G 1A1, Telephone: 1-877-231-3552, www.natureconservancy.ca.


Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with David's family here.


In living memory of Charles David Milner, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.


Funeral Service

3:00 pm
Monday, June 17, 2024
Anglican Parish of Christ Church
3602 – 8th Street S.W
Calgary , Alberta, Canada
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