RIVA, Walter Joseph
Born in Canmore, Alberta on May 9, 1922, passed away peacefully in Kelowna, BC on May 16, 2010 at the age of 88 years.
Always proud of his humble heritage as a third generation coal miner, Walter was raised in Canmore where he excelled at academics, music and sports including the setting of a provincial high school record for the 100 yard dash.
He worked in the mine until he was of age to volunteer for service in the Second World War where he served as a navigator in the RAF. After the war he attended the University of Alberta under the veterans program.
Having married Lorraine Cormier in 1942, they now had three children but he still managed to graduate in Mining Engineering With Distinction in 1949. His illustrious career in the coal industry included almost 25 years at Canmore Mines where he was Executive Vice President. He moved on from Canmore to Kaiser Resources where he became President and later President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of successor companies Westar Resources and BCRIC.
He had the distinction of signing the first coal contract with the Japanese which opened up new markets for Canada. As a recognized industry leader he received many accolades including a term as President of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 2004. At the age of 86 he completed a book on the history of mining in the Bow Valley after a five year research effort.
His passion for golf filled his leisure time and he was particularly proud of his two holes in one.
Walter is survived by the love of his life Lorraine after a marriage of 67 years and children: Lee Ellen Svoboda [Jim], Patrick [Nancy], Donald [Merle], Susan Lewis [Darryl], Michael [Rhonda], Raymond [Leslie] as well as 16 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Walter’s devotion to family leaves a legacy of wisdom, generosity and love which will inspire them and all whom he touched during an amazing life.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 21, 2010 at St Charles Garnier Parish in Kelowna. Cremation interment and a celebration of life will take place in Canmore, A.B. at a future date. In lieu of flowers donations to the The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation, c/o #210 – 1095 West Pender Street, Vancouver, B. C. V6E 2M6. Arrangements in care of Everden Rust Funeral Services, Kelowna, 250-860-6440. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting everdenrust.com