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Robert D. Carman Memoriam

Many people in the forestry profession and beyond were saddened to hear that Bob Carman passed away on January 7, 2024. 

Bob was born in Chatham, Ontario on July 13, 1932, and was the only son of Ralph and Minnie Carman.  His introduction to forestry no doubt came from his father, following his footsteps to graduate from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1954. 

Bob’s distinguished public sector career with the Government of Ontario commenced as a Forester for the Department of Lands and Forests in 1954.  He worked for 35 years in the Ontario Public Service with progressively responsible positions in the Department of Lands and Forests before moving to Management Board of Cabinet from 1972 to 1977.  Bob served as Deputy Minister for Community and Social Services from 1978 to 1981, returning as Secretary of Management Board until 1985.  He was appointed Secretary to the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council from 1985 to 1989, and as Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario from 1989 to 1990.

Bob’s private sector career in forestry included a four-year term in the mid-1960s as Chief Silviculturist at Northwestern Pulp and Paper in Hinton, Alberta.  He also worked as a consultant and served on many Boards including MMM Group, Bridgeport Hospital, Niagara Institute and Cobourg Hospital.

Bob was repeatedly celebrated for his exemplary public service by way of the Vanier Medal in 1988; a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995; recognition by the Public Policy Forum in 1989; the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977; and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

He will be remembered by many foresters as the person who led the effort to revise Ontario’s Crown Forest Sustainability Act in the mid-1990s to establish the Forest Renewal and Forestry Futures Trusts, which dedicated revenues from stumpage fees to the renewal of Crown forests.  This reversed decades of uncertainty in funding forest renewal in Ontario.

Bob never forgot his connection to forestry and the people associated with the profession.  His later years included time spent at his 100-acre tree farm in Colborne, Ontario where he would happily engage in conversations about woodlot pests and forest management plans.

Bob was appointed as an Honourary Member, R.P.F. (Hon.) in the Ontario Professional Foresters Association in which he served on the Blue Ribbon Panel, a senior advisory committee to Council and the Registration Committee, from 2001 to 2016.  He was a valued member of Forest History Ontario until his final days.

Bob Carman was a remarkable man, whose accomplishments never stood in the way of the compassion and interest he showed for other people.  He is survived by his wife Beverly and is missed by all who knew him.

 Robert Carman