Mrs. J.M. (Olive) Pretty
Society's David and Olive Pretty Archives collects, preserves and
displays materials important to the historical record of the
Society's lifesaving work.
The archive honours the memory of Mrs. J.M. (Olive) Pretty,
Secretary-Treasurer of the Lifesaving Society Ontario from 1932 to
1956, and her son David (see below).
In the 1930s, she recruited her young son David to help her
prepare the Society's candidate awards for mailing. Subsequently,
David remembered his mother having a hard time trying to
participate in Society board meetings and take the minutes at the
same time. He told her that taking notes was all he did in
university and he could help her out as long as she trusted him to
get it right. Starting 1947, he took the minutes for the next six
David subsequently served as Ontario Treasurer and National
Treasurer and National Vice President. He served as Governor of
Lifesaving Society Ontario for 22 years from 1980 to 2002.
David died in January 2014 and left a bequest to support the
archives, which bear his mother's name.
Olive Pretty's retirement announcement in the 1956 Annual
David Walter Page Pretty
David's volunteer career with the Lifesaving Society spanned
eight decades beginning in the 1930s when his mother - Olive
Pretty, Secretary Treasurer of the Ontario Branch - recruited him
to help prepare the Society's candidate awards for mailing.
In 1954, David became Treasurer of both the Ontario and national
Society. He served in this dual capacity until 1967, when he
relinquished the Ontario portfolio to devote himself to the
Society's national finances. From 1973 to 1977, David served as a
national vice president. From 1980 to 2002 he served as Governor of
the Lifesaving Society Ontario.
David earned all Royal Life Saving Society's Commonwealth Honour
Awards: Certificate of Thanks (1958), Recognition Badge (1961),
Service Cross (1963) Bar to Service Cross (1968, 2000) and Honorary
Life Governor (1972). In 1993, David was invested as a Royal Life
Saving Society Commonwealth Vice President - the Society's highest
volunteer honour award. The Society awarded him the
125thConfederation Medal in the same year. In 2002, the Society
honoured David with the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal. In 2008, The
Society presented its Centenary Medal to David in recognition of
his outstanding volunteer contribution.
In his personal life, David was a prominent member of Toronto's
business community. David retired in 1980 as president of North
American Life Assurance Company after an impressive career as
Treasurer, Vice President Finance, and Executive Vice President
that began in 1947.
David was an intensely private and humble man whose unassuming
style belied a sharp and inquisitive mind. He tended to the
financial health of the Society for 20 years and took a keen
interest in all aspects of the Society's work. He knew that what
the numbers meant was just as important as what they were. He was
equally at home in a committee meeting or at a Buckingham Palace
reception on occasions when he represented Canada at Royal Life
Saving Society Commonwealth meetings.
David was keenly interested in the preservation of the historic
record of the Society in Canada - a record that bears witness to
his own tremendous contribution over so many years. The Olive
Pretty Archives honours his mother's memory. The Society will find
a suitable way to honour David's own generous service.