TRURO – A former Five Islands man is being remembered today as a ‘business giant’ who conquered business boardrooms, a leading expert on corporate governance and a role model.
Purdy Crawford, a native of the small Colchester County community Five Islands, a lawyer and a businessman who once headed Montreal-based Imasco Ltd., died Tuesday at age 82.
“As a Five Islands native and Mount Allison University graduate who went on to conquer the business boardrooms of the nation, we can only hope that Mr. Crawford enjoyed peace during the time he spent visiting his former home territory here in Colchester County,” said Stephanie Jones, president of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce, in a news release. “As both a Dalhousie University and Harvard law graduate, he set an example for local young people to follow.”
Crawford's death was confirmed by the Toronto legal firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt where Crawford began as a corporate lawyer in the 1950s before leaving to pursue a career with Imasco Ltd., a company that, at the time, owned Imperial Tobacco, Canada Trust and Shoppers Drug Mart.
He later returned to Osler as an elder statesman, while also remaining active in corporate circles.
Jones said she is particularly heartened by the fact that Crawford was the father of five daughters and was eager to see women make their mark on the business world. His daughter Heather has told the Financial Post that her father was both “gender and colour blind.”
“He was also one of Canada’s leading experts on corporate governance,” said Jones. “He showed people from small town Nova Scotia that no goal is too high and no dream should be overlooked when you’re trying to make the world a better place.”
Two of Crawford’s more local corporate roles were as a former Chancellor at Mount Allison University and as a board member at Oxford Frozen Foods. Nationally, he served for 10 years as CEO of Imasco until 1995, and also served on the boards of Ganong Brothers, Maple Leaf, Emera, CN, McCain Capital Corporation and Second Cup Coffee, among others.
“I’d like to express my sympathy to Mr. Crawford’s family on behalf of all the business leaders here in Central Nova Scotia,” said Jones. “His advice and presence will be deeply missed in business and professional circles.”
Crawford was a companion of the Order of Canada and a member of both the Canadian and Nova Scotia Business Halls of Fame.
"Purdy Crawford was a giant in the Canadian business and law communities and his legacy will live on, not only through the lasting impact of his work, but also through the generation of leaders who considered him a friend and mentor," said Premier Stephen McNeil, said in a media release. "I send my sincerest condolences to his wife Beatrice, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him."