Gone home – Hugh Whitehead

Gone Home

Hugh Whitehead

February 15, 1928 – November 2, 2019

Hu Whitehead is the very embodiment of Scouting. As soon as he was of age, he joined his local Wolf Cub pack in Burnaby, B.C. thus beginning a lifelong love affair. Although Hu went on to give so much of his life to Scouting, he would be the first to say how much Scouting had given to him. It played a vital role in the type of person he became. As it gave to him throughout his life, so he gave unto others.

Hu continued his participation in Scouting whether living in Burnaby, B.C.; Asbestos, Shawinigan Falls, Buckingham and Pointe Claire, Quebec; Niagara Falls, Ontario; or Wolfville and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The consistent structure and availability of Scouting readily provided a wealth of friends, a sense of belonging, and a continuous opportunity to challenge himself as he developed useful skills. As he grew as a person, Scouting helped along the way. An eager scouter, he relished the challenge of earning the many badges afforded to him, absorbing the lessons therein, assuming leadership roles and making a lifetime of cherished friendships. Progressing through life, Hu was a sixer, a patrol leader, a Queen’s Scout, a cadet at the same time, a Knight of Tamara, an assistant cub master, a scoutmaster, a rover leader, a district commissioner, and a provincial commissioner. He sat on countless district, regional, provincial and national committees, learning and imparting as he went. A veteran of numerous national and world jamborees which included selecting the site of the 1983 one in Kananaskis, Alberta, he worked tirelessly to ensure that these Scouting experiences would be memorable, informative and worthwhile. When not tending to official duties, he could often be found swapping badges, scout lore, and stories with Scouts and Scouters of all ages.

Hu enjoyed conducting leadership sessions at all levels as he believed that Scouts and Scouters alike had much to gain and then share from the Scouting experience. Such is the lifelong personal growth achieved from involvement in Scouting. During the 1960’s, he joined with a few like-minded Scouters to design and install the Venturers program, creating a link between Scouts and Rovers. He also was the recipient of both the Silver Acorn and Silver Wolf in recognition of his work with Scouting.

Hu had a special attachment to Camp Tamaracouta, spending many happy times there. In fact, his final endeavour in Scouting, and one in which he took great pride, was to be one of the co-authors of the book, Camp Tamaracouta – The First 100 Years. Many of his collected Scouting souvenirs have been donated to the care of Dave Perkins and his work on the museum at Tamaracouta. It was a big wish of his that other Scouters might continue to enjoy all that this camp has to offer for at least another hundred years.

Along with Hu’s Scouting involvement, his travels took him to complete his High School diploma in Shawinigan Falls where he met a class of lifelong friends whom he loved to join often for reunions. His best friend, Ted Cook, convinced him to go Acadia for Engineering. He offset schooling with military service, taking the train back and forth across Canada to work in Chilliwack with the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers. Later, he was the Works Officer for the city of Halifax and at Val Cartier, near Quebec City. A mechanical engineer by trade, he worked for Johns-Manville, DuPont, Cyanamid, T.P.F.and C, .and finally Pratt and Whitney.

He was married for sixty-one years to Mary Manzer, whom he met at Acadia University, where he received letters of commendation in track and basketball. They would share a love of Scouting, sports, community and family. They worked together on training, developing and delivering “Wood Badge” courses for Scouting; essentially, training the trainer. Together, they raised three sons, Jim, Alan and Bruce and a daughter, Louise. He was a former president of the Kinsmen Club at Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, a member of the Engineering Institute of Canada, a member of the Order of the Sons of Martha, the Canadian Management Association, a Mason, a long-time server at church, a driver for Meals on Wheels, and an active lawn bowler. Hu actively joined in Mary’s work with various charities.  He loved curling, played on numerous rinks, served as President and club historian, was the skip when his foursome scored an elusive eight ender, was granted an honorary life membership in 2009, but he most enjoyed the camaraderie which continued into his final year with his beloved Tuesday morning coffee klatch.

Hu lived a rich and full life. He was afforded many opportunities and lessons through Scouting which transferred into his life. Now, he’s gone home.

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