Ottawa business community says goodbye to two great leaders

Grete Hale
Grete Hale at the presentation of the Key to the City to Maureen McTeer in 2019. Hale passed away Oct. 28 at age 93. Photo by Caroline Phillips.

Two well-known names in local business circles passed away recently, leaving a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

Denzil Doyle died Oct. 26 at the age of 90.

Affectionately known as the “father of Silicon Valley North,” Doyle grew Digital Equipment Corporation’s Canadian operations from a one-person sales office to a multifaceted corporation with more than 1,500 employees from 1963 to 1981. Following his career at DEC, he founded Doyletech Corp. to provide consulting services to entrepreneurs, investors, governments and policymakers. He was appointed to the National Research Council of Canada in 1982. He co-founded Instantel Inc., an Ottawa-based supplier of instrumentation equipment, and served on the board of directors for many successful Canadian high-tech companies, including Mitel, Newbridge Networks and Gennum Corp. He also served as chairman of Capital Alliance Ventures Inc., an Ottawa-based venture capital company specializing in technology investment.

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He was awarded an honorary doctorate of engineering by Carleton University, granted fellowship in the Engineering Institute of Canada, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal and was invested as a member of the Order of Canada.

Doyle was born in Vinton, Que., and received a bachelor of science degree from Queen’s University in 1956. He was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal for graduating top of his class.

Another icon of Ottawa business, Grete Hale, died Oct. 28 at age 93.

Hale was the second of Ottawa’s “Three Sisters,” the daughters of Cecil Morrison, co-founder of Morrison Lamothe Bakery. The eldest, Jean Pigott, was a businesswoman, MP and chair of the National Capital Commission. Pigott died in 2012. The youngest is Gay Cook, a former food writer for the Ottawa Citizen.

Hale graduated from Carleton University in 1954 with a degree in journalism. She joined Morrison Lamothe in 1966, becoming president in 1979 and chair of the board in 1989. Morrison Lamothe eventually moved its production to Toronto, though its head office remains in Ottawa.

Hale was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006. She was governor of the University of Ottawa, president of Beechwood National Cemetery and honorary colonel of the Governor General’s Foot Guards, the first woman to hold the position. She had honorary doctorates from uOttawa and Carleton and honorary life membership for Canhave Children’s Centre and the Community Foundation of Ottawa, both of which she helped found. She was also a member of 100 Women Who Care Ottawa, a group of women who share a common desire to give back and inspire local philanthropy in their community.

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