Geologist Dick Addison dies at 78

by Stockwatch Business Reporter

Richard (Dick) Addison, geologist, broker, company director, and geologist again, has died age 78. Colleagues gathered to celebrate his life on May 11 at Mooses Down Under, a basement bar on West Pender St. with inexpensive beer, just the way Dick liked it.

His friends came to remember the good times with their old friend and to trade colourful stories. Broker Harold Chang recalled his former brokerage colleague as "a knowledgeable geologist and a true gentleman." Don Farrell, a close friend, said Mr. Addison spoke about a dozen languages and dialects well enough to get by in China, Japan and several African countries -- even Northern Canada, where he could converse with six different Indian tribes. He also spoke Spanish, which led Ron Jones to recall the time he introduced Mr. Addison to his (Mr. Jones's) Mexican wife. Mr. Jones said he had turned his back for a second, to find Dick had swooped in, talking to her in Spanish.

The geologist

Mr. Addison's ease with language helped him turn geological jargon into plain English. Unlike many of his colleagues, Mr. Addison's explanations of geology were clear, concise and easy to understand. When it came to the work at hand and his theories, Mr. Farrell said Mr. Addison used to say, jokingly, "A geologist who doesn't agree with me is one geologist too many." Of the several properties he worked on, two stand out, Brenda and Mascot. Brenda was a copper-molybdenum-gold-silver mine near Peachland, B.C., and Mascot was a gold-nickel mine near Hedley, B.C.

Mr. Addison worked as a senior geologist on the feasibility study for Brenda Mines Ltd. In 1967, Brenda had optioned part of the property to Noranda Inc., in exchange for the money and help needed to bring Brenda to production. Three years later, the JV was mining. It ran Brenda for 20 years until 1990. Noranda took over the company in 1996, paying $21 a share. Today, the Brenda property belongs to Xstrata Corp.

Mascot was a past producer, that Henry Ewanchuk's Mascot Gold Mines Ltd. revisited in 1980. Mr. Addison helped bring that property to feasibility in 1985, and two years later it was back in production.

The broker and director

In the late 1970s, Mr. Addison thought he could better assess companies working as a broker, said Larry Reaugh. Mr. Addison joined Canarim Investment Corp. around 1979, but he lasted only several years, preferring work in the field, without the confines of a desk and the early-morning hours. In the early 1980s, he returned to his first love, geology, and at the same time accepted directorships with over a dozen companies, many of which he had worked with as a broker. There was Ed Mueller's long-running promotion, International Pacific Cypress Minerals Ltd., Barry Mann's Arapahoe Mining Corp., and four John Stirling companies, the liveliest of which was Cal Graphite Corp. Cal's stock peaked at $16 in December, 1987.

The adventurer

University friend David Phillips ("Toby" for reasons to do with drinking beer) said that when Mr. Addison was in Africa hunting for copper, he had a merry time indeed. While fellow geologists may have looked down upon fraternizing with the locals, Mr. Addison was a keen participant, befriending them and building warm relationships. This included shooting wild boars, one of which could feed an entire village. There, in the African wilderness he received his nickname, Bowang Tiwai, or foreigner, but that is another story.

Back in Vancouver, never one to put on airs, he also preferred the wilderness, frequenting the most-relaxed of watering holes, such as the Empress Hotel, the Ivanhoe, the West Hotel and the Legion on Main St. There, he would enjoy whatever was on tap, sometimes stocking up on supplies for his return to the field. Bars or cars, Mr. Addison's taste was the same. Mr. Reaugh said he preferred "anything he could drive for $1,000," and he would drive it into the ground. One time Mr. Addison was to meet Mr. Reaugh at a mining conference in Kamloops. On the drive up he hit some black ice, overturned his car and broke his neck. When Mr. Reaugh picked up him from the hospital, he found his friend in good spirits, pleased that his beer had survived the accident.

Come summer, it was down to Wreck Beach, Vancouver's well-known nudist spot for sun-bathing, dice and the odd beer. The 520 steps back up to the car held their own perils.

In his later years, Mr. Addison continued consulting as a geologist for Mr. Reaugh at Rocher Deboule Minerals Corp., which was listed in the United States, and Molycor Gold Corp. Around the same time he was diagnosed with cancer. Despite having to undergo treatments for the disease, he would come into the office every day but some days he would just sleep in his big brown chair. As the cancer progressed surgery interfered with his voice, but a stubborn Mr. Addison continued phoning his friends. Mr. Farrell says Mr. Addison was frustrated when the person on the other end could not understand him, but it never stopped him from calling.

Mr. Addison died of oral cancer on April 9, 2012. He leaves behind his wife, Maria, his daughters, a grandson and a sister.

In the words of his friends Clive and Roger Shallow, "We trust the new geology is to your liking Dick?"

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