Surrounded by his family, “The Big Cat” passed away peacefully at Sturgeon Community Hospital on Sunday, May 1, 2022. As per his wishes, cremation has taken place with Dick wearing his Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson jersey.
Dick is survived by Sharon (Taylor), his wife of almost 60 years; as well as children: Jan (Paul Griss), Jill (Calvin Haws) and Grant (Jennifer Reid). He adored his grandchildren and will be deeply missed by David, Emily, Grace, Edward, Jacob, Olivia, Graeme, and Colin; as well as his siblings, Clarence “Murf” (Valerie), Marilyn (Rod Heise), Diane Jakubec, Allan (Lynn), Holly (Bruce James); brother-in-law, Jack Boyd; along with many nieces and nephews.
Dick was predeceased by his parents, Alexander and Catherine Damery; sister, Doreen Boyd; and brother-in-law, Dennis Jakubec.
A lifelong resident of Edmonton, Dick trained as a Refrigeration Mechanic and worked for twenty years at Canada Packers. To support his family, he often worked two jobs and many nights earning his Building Operators and Fourth Class Engineers Certificates. After leaving Canada Packers, Dick began working for Frank McDaniel and upon Frank’s death in 1976 he became Chief Executive Officer of F.J. McDaniel Ltd. His maintenance knowledge was legendary. If you called Dick with a problem and described what you were looking at, he would walk you through any repair.
Dick could talk to anyone and made lifelong friends wherever he went. If you needed help with anything, Dick would make a phone call and connect you to an expert. He was a master negotiator and renowned for making great deals.
His second home was the family cottage at West Cove, built by his father. Dick and Sharon, with brother Clarence (Murf) and Valerie, spent summer weekends there and were an integral part of the lake community. Three generations of Damery kids have been raised at the lake.
Sports were a huge part of Dick’s life. He was a rugged hockey player with the Edmonton Kiwanis Junior B team, and his parent’s home was a gathering spot for team-mates and friends. Dick had season tickets for the Edmonton Eskimos for decades and met his future wife, Sharon, on the train to the Grey Cup in Vancouver in 1960. He followed hockey (Oilers), basketball (Raptors), baseball (Blue Jays) and the NFL (Seahawks) and televised sports were his respite during Covid lockdowns. He was also a big fan of whatever sports his grandchildren played and offered constant encouragement through years of baseball, basketball, handball, hockey, lacrosse, ringette, soccer, and volleyball. And he greatly enjoyed the trash-talking of the three generations involved in the Damery Family Fantasy Football League.
Dick loved golf, playing poker and blackjack, and never missed buying weekly lottery tickets. He also loved fishing and constantly dreamed of his next trip. More than anything, though, Dick’s life revolved around family and friends. He lived by the motto of “people first.” As the patriarch of his family, nothing brought him greater joy than to be in the company of his children and grandchildren, and as he aged, he became increasingly sentimental around family gatherings.
A larger-than-life figure with a big heart, Dick will be sorely missed by his family and extensive network of friends.
A Celebration of Dick’s Life will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 18th, 2022, at Robertson-Wesley United Church, 10209 123 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5N 1N3. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Alberta Diabetes Foundation, 8602 112 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1.
The family will gather for a private celebration the following day, Father’s Day, which also would have been Dick’s 84th birthday.