Blair Thornton Harrison

June 6, 1935 – January 21, 2020
Blair passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at the age of 84, with his youngest daughter at his side. Blair resided at Henley Place, London, Ontario where he was cared for in the last year of his life as dementia took a deeper hold of him. He leaves his cherished daughters, Lesley Harrison (Stephen Zolf), Janet Harrison and Megan Harrison; his treasured grandsons, Drew Harrison (Kelli Forbes), Ben and Elliott Zolf, Nick Harrison; Blair’s loving sisters Wynne (Polermo) and Penelope Harrison (deceased 2004); and his dear brother-in-law Stephen Woodward and nephews Kevin and Scott Woodward. Blair was pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 53 years, Anne (Elizabeth Anne Woodward), who passed away in 2013. They were devoted to each other. Born in Montreal, Blair was named after his grandfather Sir Henry Thornton, the first president of the Canadian National Railways. When Blair was an infant, his family moved to Coral Gables, Florida. Blair spent his childhood revelling in adventure and a love of nature. As a young man, Blair moved on his own to London, Ontario in the early 50s. He became an Ontario surveyor and proudly “measured much of Ontario” for several years. Blair returned to school and received his Master’s in Education and Teaching degree. Blair was a natural teacher. Even when he retired, he was always “teaching” (just ask his family and friends!). His boundless interest in others and his curiosity for the world at large kept him engaged with everyone whom he came in contact with. Blair and Anne moved to Simcoe, Ontario in 1977. They committed much time and energy serving their community and each received provincial awards for their dedication. Blair’s last career was in real estate. For fifteen years he helped families buy and sell homes – if they weren’t already friends, they were by the time the deal closed. For Blair it was another great opportunity to meet people. He was a long-standing member of The Simcoe Rotary and received the Paul Harris Fellow International Recognition Award. Blair spearheaded many conservation efforts including the Fowler Toad, it’s Easy Being Green and the Lynn Valley Trail. Blair’s love of nature was a lifelong pursuit. He knew the tiniest details of countless birds and animals and he was a bit of an armchair arborist. Blair’s passion of the outdoors is instilled in his daughters and grandsons. A lifetime of memories hiking, camping and canoeing fills our hearts; he will forever keep us company on our future treks, whether walks in the woods or hiking up mountains. Blair embraced his hobbies, among them, photography, woodworking, stained glass artwork and poetry. He wrote many lovely pieces over the years, ironically remembering one of his favourite lines – “the brain is on the wane”. Blair sang in church choirs and plays and just about anywhere. He had a beautiful full voice and it was one of his most lasting attributes. Even a few days before he passed away, he passionately sang Yellow Bird to his daughters. Most of all, we each lost our biggest fan. Blair was full of praise, advice, encouragement and interest in everything we did. He put each of us in a warm spotlight, a light which seems a little less bright right now. We will so miss our champion. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the staff at Henley Place, whose warmth and devotion to Blair will not be forgotten. Funeral Service to be held Saturday, February 8th, 2020 at 2 p.m. at Trinity Anglican Church, 80 Colborne Street South, Simcoe, Ontario, followed by tea. Memorial donations can be made in Blair’s honour to the Terry Fox Foundation. Arrangements entrusted with Cremation London & Middlesex, 519-858-2467. Online condolences shared at

  1. On behalf of the Fanshawe College Retirees’ Association, I wish to express our sincere sympathy to Blair’s family and friends.

  2. What a lovely tribute to your Dad. He would be so happy that all he worked for to help you was appreciated. We are so happy to have been part of his and Anne’s lives. Love to you all Joyce and Keith Flexman

  3. Megan and family ,
    What a beautiful inside look into the life of a very interesting man you call , Dad. These words describe a man who ‘s had a full life both in adventures and certainly character as well. He will be missed., no doubt. Please know you’re in my thoughts.

  4. Megan, Janet, Leslie and families,
    So sorry for the loss of your Dad, Father-in-law and Grandfather. I know he will be missed by everyone who knew him as he was such a great person. I enjoyed reading all that he has accomplished in his life. He helped me with the purchase and sale of a home and was so awesome to me. We will miss him!!
    Thinking of you all 🙂

  5. Dear Megan, Janet Leslie and Family
    Please know that I am hugging all of you. I know that your Dad will be such a profound loss in all of your lives.
    Our time together also made me a wiser person in all aspects of my life. He was a true friend and listened. We walked thru each others lives and I know we were both enriched by each others friendship. You are now with Anne Blair. Party on!!!!
    Lots of Love Delaney

  6. To Blair Daughters:
    My deepest sympathy over the recent loss of your dear father. He was a lovely man with a wonderful sense of humor. I met your father when I worked at Fanshawe College. Even though I worked there for a short period of time I have wonderful memories of your Dad. We enjoyed alot of laughs. I also enjoyed his company as my real estate agent as he accompanied me and my young son looking at several houses in Simcoe. He will truly be missed. May your memories of your father sustain you.

  7. Dear Lesley and Family,
    Sending condolences to all of you on the loss of your father. The words you have so eloquently shared describe a man who was cherished and loved by his family, and respected and appreciated by all his friends / colleagues. I love that you shared the image of him being a trusted, good friend and relating it to his career in real estate- “…if they weren’t already friends, they were by the time the deal closed.”
    May you all find comfort in your cherished memories and keep your father / grandfather alive in your stories and praise.
    Wishing you strength during this sad time. With love, Judy

  8. To the Family:

    Blair, was one of my favourite people. I enjoyed spending time with him at the Woodward camp in Michigan, where he was unofficially considered our resident Medic. His experiences in life were vividly captured in his fireside stories at night, tucking us into bed, with happiness in our hearts.

    Goodbye Blair, I’ll miss you.

  9. Sad to lose an esteemed colleague. Many of the tributes to Blair feature the words “fun” and “happiness”. We echo those sentiments. Life was seldom boring when Blair was around. Our deep condolences to Leslie, Janet and Megan, and to the family.
    Linda and Andy

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