Paterson, Norman Reed

Norman Reed Paterson passed away peacefully with his children and companion by his side on December 22nd, 2022, at the age of 96.

Norman was predeceased by Sally, his loving wife of almost 68 years, and is survived by his devoted children, Catherine (Peter, recently deceased), John (Maureen), Michael (Lorie), and Norman (Lillian); adoring grandchildren, Reed (Matthew), Alex (Heather), David (Amy), Kathleen (Mike), Sam (Stephanie), Katie (Shane) and Denzil (Anna); and great-grandchildren, Eowyn, Quinn, Mackenzie, Savannah, Alice, Ivy, Claragh, Dorothy, Thomas, Norah, Elly, and Audrey; and many nieces and nephews.

Norman was the second son of Dr. Donald and Dorothy Paterson, who moved from Canada to England where Dr. Paterson became a pioneering pediatrician. Norman was born in London, England in 1926. His late brothers were Hugh, Chris and Blair. In 1939, Dorothy took Norman and his brothers back to Canada to escape the war, where Norman and Hugh attended Trinity College School. In 1943, at age 17, Norman, too young to enlist in Canada, returned to England with Hugh to join the military. They returned to Canada in 1947 to attend the University of Toronto (U of T).

It was while taking engineering at U of T that Norman met Sally (nee Broughall), and the two were married in 1950. They moved to Vancouver, where Norman received a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. They subsequently returned to Toronto, where Norman obtained his Doctorate in geophysics.

Norman pursued a lifetime of work in his chosen field of geophysics, and, in 1970, he started his own consulting business, Norman Paterson and Associates. Later, he merged his company with the consulting practices of Fraser Grant and Roger Watson to form Paterson, Grant & Watson (PGW), where he became known worldwide for his innovations in geophysical technology and skilled practice of geophysical techniques and interpretation.

Under Norman’s presidency, PGW grew to become one of the largest mining exploration geophysical consulting companies in the world, with commensurate recognition. In 1988, PGW’s software division became Geosoft, Inc. (now Bentley Systems), which holds a global position in mining geophysical software development and sales. PGW put Canada on the map as a center of excellence in geophysics.

In 1997 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, citing his work in the geological interpretation of magnetic surveys. Norman was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 1999 and was described as being “praised the world over for the sound balance he achieved between the practical, applied science of geophysics, and his professionalism and integrity. No matter where in the world his assignments took him, he always served as an excellent ambassador for the Canadian mining industry.”

Norman and Sally raised their children in Toronto, and later travelled to many parts of the world for work and pleasure. They enjoyed outdoor recreation and kept different sailboats over the years at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, where they loved cruising, racing, and socializing with their many friends. In 1989, they bought a 100-year-old farmhouse with 50 acres of land, and later moved into “Eastview Farm” overlooking the Beaver Valley. Norman and Sally loved entertaining, gardening, playing tennis, and swimming in their pool during the summers, and skiing, snowshoeing, or spending time at their cottage in Costa Rica during the winter. They later built a home in Thornbury, where they lived until Sally’s passing in 2018. Later, Norman became companions with novelist Dorris Heffron and moved into her lovely home, back in the Beaver Valley, where they happily spent his final years.

Norman was an avid watercolour painter and prolific writer, publishing books both technical and fictional. In his nineties, his most important book, Mining Geophysics: A Canadian Story, was published by the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He also wrote three thoughtful, entertaining mystery novels and recently, was working on a short book for lay readers titled Climate Change Explained. Norman wrote many letters which were published in The Globe and Mail suggesting better ways the world might be run.

He lived a long and full life, and will be missed by countless friends, colleagues, and loving family. A memorial service of Norman’s life will take place at the St. George’s Anglican Church in Clarksburg, Ontario, on February 11th, 2023 at 1 o’clock., with a reception following.  As your expression of sympathy, donations to the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital would be appreciated and may be made through the Ferguson Funeral Home, 48 Boucher St. E., Meaford, ON   N4L 1B9 to whom arrangements have been entrusted.




Saturday, February 11, 2023 1:00 PM
St. George’s Anglican Church Clarksburg

Make a donation in memory of Norman Reed Paterson

Donations: Collingwood General Marine Hospital
Donate securely through Ferguson Funeral Home

Memories & Messages of condolence

  1. John Richardson
    Thursday, December 29, 2022

    I came to know Norm only a few years ago, but certainly knew about him by reputation from our well connected but small world of Canadian exploration Geology and Geophysics, which as he was fond of saying ‘the study of rocks, without the rocks’. He was easy company, always ready to put forth thought provoking opinions on science, literature, and the environment. A true old school gentleman – his friendship and sense of humour will be missed.

  2. Valerie Morrison
    Thursday, December 29, 2022

    Just heard the sad news of Norms passing. My deepest condolences to all the family. I know how much he was loved by you all and how much he loved you. Being part of Norm and Sally’s lives for 25 years I had a chance to meet you all and it was a pleasure to meet their wonderful family . My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Val. Xoxo

  3. Alison Huhtala
    Friday, December 30, 2022

    Very sad to hear that Dr Paterson has left us, my deepest condolences to all of the family. I was priveleged to work for him for 25 years, drawing maps and helping to produce many reports. His deadlines were always reasonable and he was always appreciative of my work. Patient and fair and with a great sense of humour,he was a very fine gentleman, excelling in his field and in all his other ventures. R.I.P. Norm.

  4. Sherry Kadwell
    Saturday, December 31, 2022

    I met Norman in my ‘little’ store Tigs on Bruce St in 1989. He escorted his wife Sally on many of her shopping trips in my store
    He was always so interested in how my business was managing and progressing
    He always had a wonderful chuckle and a genuine smile
    You had a great life Norman ! You were a remarkable man !

    Sherry Kadwell

  5. Doreen Pemberton Trusler
    Saturday, December 31, 2022

    Due to my first husband , Roger Pemberton,also being a Geophysicist, he and I had many wonderful years of friendship with Norm and Sally and sadly recently just missed a visit with Norm in the country.
    Norm was deeply respected for his work in The Earth Sciences, an intelligent man for all seasons
    thought provoking and great fun to be with . We will dearly miss him and send our heart felt condolences to all of the family and Dorren on behalf of George Trusler , who also was a friend and me, Doreen Pemberton Trusler

  6. Mike Clumbus
    Tuesday, January 3, 2023

    Dear Norm and Lil
    Sorry to learn that your dad has passed. In reading his obituary we note that he as a family man lived an accomplished and interesting life.
    Our thoughts are with you during this time of loss.
    Our Condolences
    Mike & Kathi
    Delhi ON

  7. Bill Roscoe
    Wednesday, January 4, 2023

    Dear John and family,
    I am sorry to learn of your father’s passing. Norm was an outstanding geophysicist and and an outstanding person. He was always fair, respectful, and helpful in any business or personal dealings I had with him, not to mention his wry sense of humour.
    My sincere condolences,
    Bill Roscoe

    1. John Paterson
      Wednesday, February 15, 2023

      Thanks for your kind words about our dad Bill. His personal and professional lives were a great example for us all. He thought highly of you and John Postle and your top notch consulting business.

  8. Alan Skeoch
    Wednesday, January 4, 2023

    Tuesday January 4, 2023

    Dr. Paterson was one of my mentors who I could never call Norm until we were both
    retired. He was a top scientist in Geophysical exploration. I was one of the kids
    he hired as summer field ‘men’. What an exciting decade I had due to Norm. Following
    tiny blazes on pine where few humans had ever trod before, Sleeping
    on pine boughs, eating questionable food the blow flies had contaminated, in search of veins of chalcopyrite deep beneath our feet. Exotic places.. the Ground Hog River, Dillingham on the Bering Sea, Paradise Lodge, Marathon. Pokiok Falls…
    Most jobs were wilderness jobs but not all. By pure good fortune I was trained to operate
    the Turam in the barren lands of Alaska in the summer of 1960. Then my summer of 1961 was spent
    in Ireland exploring an ancient mine in County Waterford. In Ireland I felt Iike Jan Wayne in
    the move ‘The Quiet Man’. Norm trusted me. I never betrayed that trust. His death leaves an
    empty spot in my heart.
    Our paths have crossed many times since then…we shared that wonderful decade
    from the late fifties to the late sixties. Norm once let slip that he took his wife on an exploration job. So
    when I got married I took Marjorie on two summer ventures. Norm was the top of the exploration industry.
    I was close to the bottom…a student of philosophy and history. A Lucky man.

    Alan Skeoch 905 278 4010
    all the time following tiny blazes on spruce trees.
    our boreal forests all in search of blips on a machine that just might have detected a

  9. Laurie Omstead
    Friday, January 6, 2023

    In conversation today with another priest, who is associated with St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in Toronto, I learned of the passing of Norman Paterson (who I called “Mr. Paterson” in the 1970s when I was introduced to this family by his son John). Among many other happy experiences such as skiing, sailing, pizza patio feasts, et cetera, I have fond memories of a Sunday night supper where Norman was carving the roast and quizzing me about my own family.
    I thoroughly enjoying reading about all of Norman’s many accomplishments in his obituary. I especially remember the lovely sense of home which he and Sally created. I am sending my love and warmest blessings to his offspring at this time and thinking of that famous Rankin Family song “We Rise Again” (“in the faces of our children; we rise again in the voices that we love”)…

    1. John Paterson
      Wednesday, February 15, 2023

      Thanks for sharing your remembrances of our family Laurie. My parents always put a lot of importance on “family. ” Something that definitely rubbed off on my brothers and sister and me. Lots of nice memories.

  10. Craig Jowett
    Saturday, January 21, 2023

    I enjoyed Norm’s company over the past few years in our weekly morning coffee sessions and walks on our forest trails, with discussions about mining, climate, and current events. Norm was social, “liked to meet interesting people”, loved his long life, and would engage wholeheartedly on a breadth of topics. He was modest about his outstanding business and scientific accomplishments, but was full of stories about places he’d worked in during his mineral exploration days. His deep humanity came through in talking about people in Africa and Middle East who were in difficult situations. We’ve lost a good friend in Norm, but will retain our memories of him and his rare intellect.

  11. Sue Martens
    Saturday, February 11, 2023

    We are thinking about you today as you celebrate your Dad’s life. You are all so blessed to have had such wonderful and devoted parents- and very interesting also! Today, we are praying for you that you will experience comfort and great peace and have many fond memories as a family. it was because of your parents that you are such genuine and caring human beings! Blessings and peace, Rene and Sue


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