Hugh MacLean Blair

August 25, 1931 ~ January 31, 2018 (age 86)

Hugh MacLean Blair of Cochrane, Alberta passed away peacefully with family by his side on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at the age of 86 years.  Hugh had fought Alzheimer’s disease for five years. His family was the pride and joy of his life and he is survived by his beloved wife Brenda (nee Downey, Hansen); his two sons, Murray (Diana) of Surrey B.C. and David Blair of Calgary; and two stepchildren Michael Hansen of Hay River NWT and Laura Cuckow (Alan) of Cochrane AB. He also has four adored grandchildren, Morgan Blair and Clayton Blair both of Surrey, Christopher Cuckow of Calgary and Alexandria (Ali) Cuckow of Cochrane. Hugh was born on August 25, 1931 in Regina SK and grew up in several western Canadian cities.  He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a history and economics degree and then continued his studies for two years at the University of Munich. Upon his return he joined Dominion Securities (DS) and went on to become a director for western Canada and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee in 1970. Later he conceived and operated the Calgary based “Oil and Gas Group” for DS’s research department and worked on the purchase of Pacific Western Airlines for the Alberta Government.  In 1977 Hugh left Dominion Securities to return to Calgary to participate more directly in the oil and gas business.  Along with his partner Jim Martin, Hugh formed Bow Rio Resources and initially concentrated on finding oil and gas properties for eastern Canadian and European investors. This continued until the collapse of oil prices in early 1986. Hugh continued to successfully invest in and buy and sell properties in western Canada using his company MacLean Blair & Co.  In the early 1990s Hugh invested in a controlling position in what was to become Hankin Ozone, an advanced oxidation (O3) water and wastewater treatment company that made the list of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada for several years. In 2006, Mr. Blair was commissioned to build a ‘premier’ water and wastewater treatment company in Calgary. This was done and thereafter he mainly operated as a consultant to the water and oil and gas sectors.  In all, Hugh had over 50 successful years experience in serving western and eastern Canadian institutional, individual, corporate and overseas investors in western Canadian enterprises.  He was well liked and respected throughout his career and particularly enjoyed working with his son David during its later stages and mentoring his other son Murray who also is in the water business. He was a voracious reader and had a large library in his home. His happiest times however were spent with his family.  He particularly loved taking his grandchildren to their hockey games and practices and having them stay for sleepovers at his home near Cochrane, AB.  He and his wife had a mutual love of sports and they enjoyed holding the “best” tailgate parties at the Calgary Stampeders football games. Hugh was known for his generosity and selflessness and his mischievous smile.  Besides his immediate family, Hugh is survived by several cousins that were more like brothers and sisters to him as well as a very large extended family on his and his wife’s side. He was also very close to his brothers and sisters in law.  He will be forever missed. Hugh was predeceased by his mother and father, Margaret Nairn Blair (MacLean) and Kenneth Strang Blair, his in laws Dr. Alvah and Florence Downey (Harriman), and many other relatives and friends. The family will hold an informal gathering in Cochrane at the home of his stepdaughter Laura Cuckow, to celebrate a life well lived and a man well loved, at a later date.  Brenda would like to thank all those who helped make Hugh’s life more meaningful and comfortable during his illness and is particularly indebted to his angel caregiver Karen Reich and to her daughter Laura Cuckow.  Without their help Brenda would not have been able to care for Hugh at home until his passing. The family also wants to recognize the wonderful care provided by Unit 62 at the Foothills hospital during his last days. In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to EMS Foundation of Alberta (3705 – 35 Street NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 6C2; or to the Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta. (308, 14925 – 111 Avenue NW, Edmonton, Alberta, T5M 2P6; 780-761-0030; Arrangements in care of EVAN J. STRONG FUNERAL SERVICES.  (403) 265-1199.

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