Memorial Wall


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David Ferguson
January 4, 1945 – December 1, 2021

David was a leading member of the Lifesaving Society family for over 60 years. Through his leadership training company – Leadership Unlimited – David was also an Affiliate Member.

Having earned his Lifesaving Instructor (1962) and National Lifeguard (1969) certifications, David became arguably the most experienced and prolific aquatic leadership professional in Canada. Our records show he was personally responsible for the success of 15,887 Lifesaving Society candidates.

Among his many and varied career highlights, David was responsible for managing the Toronto leadership hotline that supported the Society's staff instructors and trainers for all City of Toronto leadership courses.

David was a valuable Lifesaving Society volunteer who served as a Field Rep, Area Chair and as a member of numerous committees and task forces. He was a formidable contributor to every program revision since 1975.

He had an intimate knowledge of what worked and what didn’t on the pool deck. His perceptiveness and close connection to the instructors and lifeguards of Ontario made him a one-man early-detection system for the improvement of the Society’s training programs.


David Ferguson

The Society recognized his outstanding volunteer service with successive Commonwealth Honour Awards including a 2nd Bar to Service Cross, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Society’s special Centenary Medal.

Paul Anthony (Tony) Kyle, M.A.
September 7, 1957 – October 13, 2018

Tony became a Lifesaving Instructor in 1974 – the start of an illustrious leadership career in the Lifesaving Society as an Examiner, Trainer and volunteer extraordinaire.

Tony was active at the community, regional, provincial and national levels. He served as a volunteer Field Rep in the Huron-Perth area in 1983 and 1984. He subsequently served as Area Chair for the region while also sitting as a member of the Society’s National Lifeguard Committee.

In 1987, Tony chaired the Society’s national symposium, “Water Accidents: the Community Responds” held in conjunction with the Society’s national annual conference. Tony was an influential contributor to the second edition of Alert: Lifeguarding in Action – the textbook of the Society’s National Lifeguard program.

From 1996 through May 2000, Tony led the Ontario Program Revisions Committee. Equally adept with people, process and content, Tony coordinated and consolidated the views of the leaders of the various program committees in Ontario and represented Ontario at national revisions meetings.

Tony earned many Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth Honour Awards for his volunteer service: Certificate of Thanks (1985), Recognition Badge (1990), Service Medal Bar (1998), and Service Cross (2000). In 2008, the Society recognized his years of outstanding leadership with its Centenary Medal.


Tony Kyle photo

In his professional life, Tony served the City of London for many years until his retirement in 2017. Widely admired for his intellect, his generosity and his boundless curiosity, Tony was a humanitarian who befriended and mentored many in the recreation and aquatic world. Tony’s interests were eclectic – the Lifesaving Society was but one of many organizations that benefited from his volunteer leadership – and this was reflected in a wide range of friends of all ages from many walks of life. The memory of Tony’s joyful and infectious laugh will brighten the days of all of us who had the pleasure of his company.

R. Bredin Stapells, Q.C.
August 13, 1925 – November 21, 2017

Bredin served as the 6th president of the Lifesaving Society Ontario (1957 to 1965) and as the Society’s national president (1973 to 1979).

His Lifesaving Society career began when he earned his Bronze Medallion (1940) at St. Andrew’s College and came to the attention of the Society’s president of the day – M.G. Griffiths – who was on staff. Within 15 years, Bredin was a vice president of the Society in Ontario and M.G. Griffiths’ successor as president.

Growth and development were hallmarks of his Lifesaving Society leadership. In his inaugural address to the membership, Bredin listed his 3-point plan of attack for the coming year: development of the Area Representatives system; consistent and clear examination standards; and communications with Affiliates. He warned Executive Secretary John McCutcheon and his office secretary that “if they think they have worked hard this year they had better grit their teeth because the work of a Hercules is still to be demanded of them.”

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall, and the London School of Economics, Bredin was one of the Canadians who fought for and meticulously laid the foundations for the transfer of authority from the Royal Life Saving Society Central Executive in England to a Canadian National Branch of the Society.

Bredin chaired the Society’s National Technical Committee and, from 1964 to 1969 the National Lifeguard Directorate. The establishment of a single, professional lifeguard standard was one of Bredin’s dreams and he personally oversaw the development and launch of the National Lifeguard Service across Canada.



Bredin was a leader and friend to all within the Lifesaving Society. He quickly followed up with those willing to contribute and gathered an amazing group of well-qualified citizens from many professions to share their expertise and to mentor young replacements to fill the expanding needs of the Society.

For his exemplary volunteer service to the Society, Bredin was presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). The Society honoured Bredin with the Society’s Centenary Medal (2008) in recognition of his outstanding leadership contributions.

Bredin made the inaugural presentation of the R. Bredin Stapells Cup – the Society’s annual affiliate recognition award for exceptional leadership training.

William M. Brummitt, B.A., M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)
June 15, 1927 - April 26, 2016

“Dr. Bill” served as the Society’s 11th president (1972 to 1974). Long before he became president, Bill, a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and staff pediatric anesthesiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, was one of the Society’s leading medical advisors. He represented the Lifesaving Society and the Canadian Anesthetists Society at the 1965 National Institutes of Health and National Research Council conference to develop a policy on CPR training. He participated in the first CPR Instructor Trainer course in Canada where he was, as he put it, “trained to painful perfection by an ex-navy petty officer from Michigan.”

With colleagues, Bill was involved in research examining the survival outcomes of patients who receive out-of-hospital CPR. Bill was a member of the Canadian delegation at the 1966 Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth Conferences in London, England, where cardiopulmonary resuscitation training for lifesavers and lifeguards was the hot topic of the day. Bill was rightly acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on the subject.

Bill served as a charter member and subsequently chair of the Society’s National Medical Advisory Committee. He was a key contributor to the sections on first aid and resuscitation in the Society’s Canadian Lifesaving Manual (1965) and Alert: aquatic supervision in action (1972).



For his exemplary volunteer service Bill received the Royal Life Saving Society’s Commonwealth Recognition Badge (1968) and Service Cross (1972). In 2002, the Society honoured Bill with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2008 (and pictured here), the Society’s Honorary Patron, Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley presented Bill with the Society’s Centenary Medal in recognition of his outstanding leadership contributions.

In its 100th anniversary year (2008), the Lifesaving Society Ontario named its annual affiliate recognition award for the largest first aid program – the Brummitt Bowl – in Bill’s honour.

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 125th Confederation 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 Pretty

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.

JANUARY 4, 1932 - NOVEMBER 6, 2013


Bob Wood

Michael R. Davis
January 17, 1942 - August 11, 2010

Michael joined the Society's volunteer ranks in 1975 as chair of the Examiner Committee. He served as president of the Ontario Branch from 1980-1982. Michael was extraordinarily talented and incapable of seeing his achievements as anything out of the ordinary. He was an artist and entrepreneur. He was a great thinker, terrific communicator and legendary wordsmith. He combined a shrewd, analytical mind with an abiding respect and passion for people. Whomsoever you see in distress, recognize in him a fellow man was not just a motto to Michael, it was a way of life.

Michael had a delightful wit and laughed a lot. Working with him was intellectually rigorous and always fun. He was genuine and down to earth. He cared not for ceremony or status - but he did cut off his pigtail when he became president.

Diane became a Lifesaving Society Instructor over 40 years ago and at her death was still current as a National Lifeguard. She held numerous Lifesaving Society certifications and portfolios in her aquatic career. She served as Area Chair for the Upper Ottawa Valley. She was a dedicated champion of drowning prevention in all its forms. She was a prolific Examiner and busy Instructor Trainer and Provincial Trainer. Diane's participation at the Society's Think Tank always ensured the Society's priorities were in tune with community needs. In her youth, Diane was a member of the Society's "Demo Team" which traveled the province in the summer months. Diane was awarded the Lifesaving Society's Bar to Service Medal for her outstanding volunteer contributions to the Society's mission over many years.

In its 100th anniversary year (2008), the Lifesaving Society Ontario named its annual affiliate recognition award for the largest first aid program – the Brummitt Bowl – in Bill’s honour.