David and Olive Pretty Archives

Mrs. J.M. (Olive) Pretty

Olive PrettyThe Lifesaving 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 years.

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.

Read Olive Pretty's retirement announcement in the 1956 Annual Report.

David Walter Page Pretty

David Pretty thumb 150

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.