Husband. Father. Entrepreneur. Mentor. Born Jan. 31, 1942, in Ottawa; died Oct. 7, 2016, in Oakville, Ont.; aged 74.
Roger was an unassuming man who invested his energy in his two loves – family and business. He was quietly satisfied in the knowledge that he was remarkably successful at both.
Thoreau said “to be simple is to be great.” Roger simplified wherever possible. He created his own uniform: a blue button-down shirt, a navy-blue sweater and khaki pants. He felt there was no sense making decisions that didn’t need making. “Boring is underrated,” he’d say.
But boring he wasn’t. In his simplicity, he was thoughtful, curious, philanthropic, intelligent and always ready with a big belly laugh. He never cared about impressing people; he was comfortable in his own skin.
Born in Ottawa in 1942, Roger didn’t meet his father, who was away at war, until he was three years old. He grew up in Montreal, an adored only child. At Lower Canada College, he formed many lasting friendships and developed a passion for long-distance running, sailing and hockey. As a goalie in the days before helmets, he stopped pucks with his head, which often led to a stitch or two.
After studying engineering at Western, Roger eventually went to work for himself, a dream he had always wanted to pursue. He co-founded Standard Mechanical Systems, which allowed him to bring together his engineering skills and entrepreneurial spirit. Years later, after stepping away from day-to-day management of the business, Roger found other areas of interest, some with success and some without. After a brief stint in commodities trading, where he experienced limited prosperity, he moved on to real-life monopoly. His timing in the real estate market proved much more lucrative than pork bellies.
From the moment he finally conceded that computers were not simply a fad (just a few years ago), he was never far from his bank of laptops (all with outdated operating systems), tracking the markets and making smart, simple investment decisions.
Roger’s dream of a great family life began in 1970, when he met his wife, Mags, on a plane to a ski instructor’s course. They welcomed three beautiful children to the world – Susie, Preston and David – and eventually the family grew to include the children’s partners and eight grandchildren. When Roger became “Popsie,” his grandkids became the only people in the world who could get him to change his routines. For them, he would do whatever was needed, whatever was best.
Roger loved sunsets, so it was fitting that he died shortly after the sun set – with his family sitting quietly on his bed. We raised a glass and toasted his life with an “iced latte” (our hospital-friendly code for cold beer in a Starbucks cup). We sat there, holding him as he took his last breath, then watched as he sailed into the twilight.
His contentment with life was infectious, inspiring and will be greatly missed. As the saying goes, “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” Dad’s family was his world, and he was ours. He was like gravity, a constant, quiet force that kept the world around him grounded.
Preston Shorey is Roger’s son.Report Typo/Error
Follow us on Twitter: