A celebration of life for Michael will be held on Sunday, February 11, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at Knox Presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. W., Waterloo.
It is with the sorrow of loss, and joy for the memory of a life lived to the fullest, that we announce the passing of Michael James Purves-Smith, of Elmira, ON, at the age of 72.
He will be missed by all whose lives he touched and inspired, especially by his loving wife of the past 50 years, Shannon; by his two sons, Mike and Rob; and by his grandson, Max.
Michael was a professional musician, and professor of music at Brock and Wilfrid Laurier Universities. His passion for music was lifelong: as a performer on keyboard, oboe, and early wind instruments; as a prolific composer and orchestrator, becoming an Associate of the Canadian Music Centre; and as a director of many ensembles, including the WLU Baroque and Early Music program, and Wind Ensemble. He was Artistic Director of the Wellington Winds for three decades, and continued as principal oboist in his retirement.
Since the sixties he had been studying the progress of global warming, and spent his later years as an environmental and political activist. His desire to communicate the urgent need for action on these matters led him to write his two-volume environmental novel, Rocky Mountain Locust.
He loved travel, reading, gardening, x-country skiing, and food. Indeed, he'd invariably say that every meal that Shannon prepared was the best he'd ever tasted. And then there were the wild mushrooms! Above all he cherished nature, and sought to protect "our only home, the biosphere," and to inspire others to do the same.
His family will receive relatives and friends on Friday, January 19, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Dreisinger Funeral Home, 62 Arthur Street South, Elmira. A ceremony to celebrate Michael's life will follow at a later date. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre would be appreciated by the family. They may be made through the funeral home, by phone at 519-669-2207 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.