University of Calgary Chancellor Emeritus and former Board of Governors Chair Jack Perraton was remembered as a mentor, a community leader and, above all, a dedicated family man at a memorial service following his funeral on Monday.
More than 300 people gathered in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium to pay tribute to Perraton, who passed away Feb. 19 after a brief battle with leukemia. The memorial service was led by friend and former Calgary mayor Al Duerr, who described Perraton as one of Canada’s greatest ambassadors.
“I travelled the world with Jack and can honestly say that Canada had no more passionate an ambassador,” said Duerr, referring to Perraton’s leading role in Calgary’s bid to host the Expo 2005. “He was the embodiment of servant-leadership. He came alive when asked to serve the community and he gave everything he had trying to make the world a better place.”
Perraton’s family joined university colleagues and long-time friends to share condolence letters from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Alison Reford and Mayor Naheed Nenshi, and to celebrate the life of one of the University of Calgary’s most dedicated supporters.
“Jack’s legacy at the University of Calgary is the care and attention he paid to students and programs he helped establish like the Quality Money program, which is unique in Canada,” President Elizabeth Cannon said. “He loved the University of Calgary and we all loved Jack.”
Family friends JR Shaw and Brian Felesky recounted Perraton’s love of bonfires, celebrating Christmas for several months out of every year, and spending time with his wife Charlotte and their four children and seven grandchildren.
“Jack will be remembered by what he gave, not what he received,” Shaw said. “And he was an all-star giver.”
John R. (Jack) Perraton O.C., C.M., Q.C., LL.D. was the first person to serve as both Chancellor of the University of Calgary, from 1998 to 2002, and Chair of the Board of Governors, from 2007 to 2010.
Perraton became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2001, and was the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including Calgary’s Citizen of the Year and the Distinguished Service Award from the Law Society of Alberta. He received the Alberta 2005 Centennial Medal commemorating the centennial of Alberta, the Golden Jubilee Medal for the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, and the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada. He also held the position of Honorary Consul General for Korea for 12 years from 1999 to 2011. He recently served as chairman of the Kids Cancer Care Foundation.