Obituary - Lachlan M. D. Cranswick (1968 - 2010)

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Lachlan Cranswick (1968 - 2010)



Editor's note: See Council Highlights, p. 4 - Jim Britten has learned that the Mineralogical Society named a new Argentinean mineral, CRANSWICKITE, in memory of Lachlan (“Cranswickite MgSO4·4H2O, a new mineral from Calingasta, Argentina” Ronald C. Peterson, American Mineralogist 96 (2011) 869-877). An article about Lachlan by Armel LeBail and Ian Swainson appeared in the Spring 2010 RefleXions, page 15.

The following is from an article by Matthew Pearson and Zev Singer in The Ottawa Citizen, June 21, 2010:

OTTAWA - Lachlan Cranswick was a kind, shy and generous man, his older brother, Rupert, said Tuesday. Speaking by phone from Australia, where Cranswick is originally from, Rupert said he went through his brother’s personal records earlier this year and discovered that Lachlan had been donating a lot of money to charities monthly. A few years ago, Lachlan also sent large sums to his brothers to help them support their families. “It was just unbelievable,” Rupert said. “He was that sort of brother.” He also said Lachlan was supposed to travel to Australia last month to visit his family. “I would have preferred another sort of closure, but at least we know where he is and we can bring him back to rest, bring him back to his family,” Rupert said.

Lachlan, a National Research Council scientist at the Chalk River Laboratories, went missing in January, and his case baffled police. The 41-year-old physicist was unmarried and was last seen on Jan. 18. He appeared to have put out his garbage the next morning. Four days later, after he failed to turn up for a curling event, a search began. However, the trail was cold, with nothing to suggest either foul play or suicide. His wallet and laptop were in his unlocked home, and his car was parked there, too. Extensive ground searches using dogs and helicopters found nothing.

On Tuesday, though, Rupert said police had notified the family over the weekend that a man’s body was discovered Friday in shallow water by two people canoeing on the Ottawa River near Welsh Bay, downriver from Deep River. Lachlan Cranswick’s jacket and identification, including his Atomic Energy of Canada Limited photo ID badge, were discovered with the body, but police were still planning to do a DNA analysis to confirm the identification, his brother said. “It has hit the family very hard,” Rupert said. “I suppose you always live in hope, but now it’s a certainty that something happened. “He didn’t deserve it. He was a very loving sort of brother.”

Lachlan had two older brothers - Rupert and Noel - but their parents are deceased. The family is planning to have Lachlan cremated in Canada and to have his ashes sent to Australia for burial near his parents. Rupert said Deep River police and the OPP put a lot of resources into the investigation, stayed in regular contact with him and Noel and were helpful when each of them traveled to Deep River earlier this year. “I can’t praise them enough, I think they’ve done a wonderful job,” he said. Rupert described Lachlan as shy and private, but said he loved living in Deep River, where he moved in 2003. He loved his work at AECL and his involvement in a curling club in the area.

© The Ottawa Citizen