It is with the sorrow of loss – and joy for the memory of a life lived to the fullest – that we announce the death of Michael J. Purves‑Smith, of Elmira, ON, at the age of 72. He is survived by his wife, Shannon, and sons Mike and Robin.
After earning a Master of Music degree from UBC, Michael served as a professor at Brock and, later, Wilfrid Laurier universities. His passion for music was lifelong: as a performer on keyboard, oboe, and early wind instruments; as a prolific composer (associate at the Canadian Music Centre) and orchestrator; and as a director of both the WLU Baroque and Early Music program and the school’s Wind Ensemble. He was director of the Wellington Winds for three decades, and continued as its principal oboist in his retirement.
Having closely studied the onset of climate change, he spent his later years as an environmental and political activist. His desire to convey the urgent need for action on these matters led him to write an environmental novel, Rocky Mountain Locust.
He loved travel, reading, gardening, cross-country skiing, and food. Above all he cherished nature, and sought to protect “our only home, the biosphere.”