Roy died peacefully with his family at his side. He was predeceased by Sylvia, his wife of 61 years, his brothers Don and Neil, and granddaughter Emily Wiffen. Survived by his children Heather (Graham Wiffen), Richard (Susan Fisher) and Wendy (Ken Pyper), grandchildren Benjamin (Ali) Wiffen, Arthur and Erica Sanders and Nicholas Pyper (Chantal Atkins) and great- grandchildren Joel and Martha Wiffen, Peyton Atkins and Bryden Pyper-Atkins.
Roy was born and raised on a small farm in Ontario's Prince Edward County where he acquired a wide range of practical skills which he applied throughout his life. His father's death in 1937 intensified his family's hardships during the Depression. As a result, Roy was always frugal and had a great talent for creative ingenuity and pragmatic inventiveness.
He served with the RCAF in India where he was one of the first technicians in the then top-secret field of RADAR. After receiving a PhD in Physics (Optics) from Imperial College, London, he worked at the National Research Council in Ottawa for 23 years. His work there applied physics to practical things from car signals and fluorescent lights, to setting the colour of Canada's flag. He travelled extensively including to the Eastern Bloc, working with other physicists to standardise the international unit to measure light.
He and his wife Sylvia worked tirelessly in the peace movement, including the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, efforts which their son continues. Roy and Sylvia joined the Unitarians in the 1950s and helped to establish the fellowship in the east of Ottawa and were active in the NDP for decades. Their curiosity about other cultures, history, nature and genealogy, and desire to promote peace and understanding, fed their enthusiasm for exploring the world.
A life-long believer in doing it yourself, Roy worked with Sylvia to design and help build their passive solar home in 1960. For more than 50 years they found great respite at Lac Pemichangan where they built two log cottages, and enjoyed sailing, hiking and experiencing the wilderness. Roy played tennis and table tennis well into his 70s. He never lost his love for growing things and devoted his final years to nurturing plants, playing lively games of bridge, working on complex jigsaws and astrophysical theories about the universe's origin. He even took up painting in his 80s. The family would like to express their sincere thanks to all the staff and caregivers at Garry J Armstrong Home. A celebration of his life will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 400 McArthur Road at 2:30 pm on Sunday, January 14. The family request no flowers but a donation to a charity of your choice.
Memories and condolences may be left at www.hpmcgarry.ca