Andrew G. Kniewasser R.I.P.

Written by  //  November 16, 2013  //  Absent Friends  //  2 Comments

KNIEWASSER, Andrew Graham O.C.
September 9, 1926 – November 8, 2013

Andrew Kniewasser_SoldierStatesman

Passed away peacefully in his 88th year after a rich and fulfilling life. Sadly missed by his wife of 62 years, Jacqueline (née Delaney), children Peter (Nancy Gale), David (Astrid Golinski), John (Michael Soye) and Andrea (David Magahey), grandchildren, Alexandra, Max, Paul, Lauren and Julia, great-grandson Lucius, his sister Barbara (Frank Oakes) and many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his father Dr. Andrew Vernon Kniewasser and his mother Helen Cooch and his sister Betty Anne (John Smith). Andy was born in Ottawa where he attended Lisgar Collegiate before going on to study Economics at Queen’s University where he excelled both academically and in sports, in particular football, where he was rookie of the year.
Andy, with Jacqueline at his side, began his career in the Foreign Service after his graduation. His postings would take him and his family to Athens, Beirut, Cairo, and Caracas and then four years in Paris as Canada’s Commercial Counsellor. In 1963, Andy returned to Canada as General Manager of Expo 67 The World’s Fair in Montreal. The management group for Expo became known as Les Durs – the tough guys – in charge of creating, building and managing Expo. Andy had a reputation as a straight shooter. He remained in the public service after Expo and worked in Ottawa where he was named Assistant Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, then Senior Deputy Minister. In 1972 Andy left the public service to become the President and CEO of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada where he remained for 20 years. During his tenure with the Investment Dealers Association Andy advocated for the securities industry and provided expert advice to numerous governments on securities and regulatory markets. –
Whether working for Canada abroad or at home, Andy was a passionate Canadian who felt a great gratitude and responsibility towards his country.
An avid outdoorsman, Andy enjoyed fishing and hunting trips all across Canada. In every small town or remote location that Andy would visit, he made a point of meeting and chatting with people. He continued to shoot skeet and did so better than his sons for the rest of his life. He went hunting in Saskatchewan in his 87th year. He gave up downhill skiing after one too many broken legs and instead worked the bush on his country property and regularly involved friends and family in tree cutting forays. Throughout their lives together Andy and Jacqueline would travel the world, speaking many languages and making friends abroad. After retirement and extensive travel, Andy and Jacqueline settled in the countryside in Blackstock, Ontario and moved back to Ottawa in 2005 choosing to spend winters in Clearwater, Florida.
In recognition of his great contribution to the immense success of Expo ’67 Andy was awarded The Order of Canada and, in recognition of his contribution to the investment industry, he was awarded the Investment Industry Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff and doctors of the Elisabeth Bruyère Hospital for the compassionate care Andy received in his final days.
A celebration of Andrew’s life will be held on November 23rd, 2013. The family will receive friends at the Garden Chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 3440 Richmond Rd., Ottawa, on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 from 1pm until the Funeral Service in the Chapel at 2 p.m. A reception for friends and family will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation in memory of Andrew G. Kniewasser to The Salvation Army or the Bruyère Continuing Care.Guest Book

A little-known aspect of AGK’s private life was his activity with the Salvation Army in Clearwater , Floriday, as illustrated by  this profile in the Salvation Army magazine Priority Soldier Statesman — Career Diplomat Enlists in Salvation Army.

AGK obituary photoAs one of the first 100 employees of the Expo Corporation, I knew Andy Kniewasser from the early days.  And despite the considerable gap between us in the hierarchy, he was always kind and supportive, often asking me to go with his car and driver to meet VIPs at the airport, or to accompany VIP guests on tours of the site pre-Expo; and instead of sending me back to the office (as others would have), he always invited me to join him and them for lunch. In the early days (must have been the spring of ’64), I was called-out by the Protocol Officer for accompanying a higher-ranking colleague to a dinner for foreign commissioners general as I was not on the ‘protocol list’. Andy intervened and seated me beside him, telling the P.O. that I knew more about the Expo site and plans than most of the other people in the room (those were the early days when I was running around the country being the official Expo briefer).
During the Christmas holidays after Fiona was born (‘66), Andy and Jacqueline and little Andrea came to see us at the house, view the babe and meet my parents to whom they were absolutely charming.
Post-Expo, Andy did more to try to find jobs for Expo colleagues than most of the other senior people combined (sometimes resulting in square pegs and round holes, but most of them eventually found their levels). He was immensely loyal;  during Expo, contrary to the public image of “Fire-the-Bastard Kniewasser” , he rescued several quite prominent black sheep, finding them jobs out of the limelight after they got themselves into hot water, thus saving the organization much embarrassment.
After he returned to Ottawa as ADM of the Department of Industry Trade & Commerce, his door was always open to us and many others, and later at the IDA. Whenever I was in Toronto, I always tried to stop in for a quick chat with him.
By sheer coincidence, when he was at the IDA, he also became a close friend of my cousin Jacques de Larosière, who was Managing Director of the IMF; Andy used to spirit Jacques away for fishing expeditions in the wilds, giving Jacques rare moments of informality and tranquility.


2 Comments on "Andrew G. Kniewasser R.I.P."

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson November 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm ·

    Ma chère Diana,
    France et moi avons appris avec beaucoup de tristesse le décès d’Andy Kniewasser. Nous l’avions bien connu, ainsi que sa femme , à l’époque de nos années au Fonds Monétaire.
    Il nous avait reçus de façon charmante et à plusieurs reprises au Canada et notamment lors de l’Assemblée Annuelle qui s’était tenue à Toronto à l’automne de 1982. Il m’avait organisé des contacts précieux ainsi qu’une partie de pêche mémorable en Gaspésie. Il nous avait invités, à une autre occasion, dans un lodge dans l’Ouest canadien où nous avons passé plusieurs jours dans la nature la plus belle et la plus sauvage. Andy était un homme extrêmement attachant par sa chaleur, sa bonté, sa gentillesse, sa générosité, sa disponibilité, sa fidélité en amitié, sa bonne humeur. Il a joué un rôle important dans le développement du marché financier de son pays et était l’objet d’une reconnaissance unanime.
    Dis à son épouse Jacqueline, qui est complètement associée à Andy dans notre souvenir, toutes nos vives condoléances et l’expression de notre amitié.
    Bien affectueusement,
    Jacques de Larosière

  2. Diana Thebaud Nicholson November 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm ·

    The service was simple and very well done.
    I was amused that as the family filed in bearing the ashes, the music was an instrumental version of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluja – I have certainly never heard it used as a liturgical piece before – it was lovely – and a good thing that there were no words!
    Andrea, their daughter, spoke wonderfully of her father and brought him alive. Two of the sons also spoke and told extremely funny stories about “Life with Father”. In both cases, there was enthusiastic applause from the audience (something else I have not seen). It really was a celebration of his life.
    The last part was presided over by a Salvation Army chaplain and I found it an inappropriately intimate discussion of Andy’s faith (also, according to at least one of the sons, a very inaccurate one).

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