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A wonderful and full life ended in its 84 year for Lumir Anthony Drevjany. He died peacefully in his sleep and undoubtedly during his last breath he was thinking of his wife Eva with whom he spent 56 beautiful years. A life filled with adventure, accomplishments and personal sacrifice, Lumir and Eva were selfless in their decision to relocate to Canada from their native Czech republic. A better life for their children Eva and Martin was the sole motivation. The prizes for their courage are four grandchildren, Emily, Philip, Madeline and Georgia, as well a son in law William and daughter in law Chandra.
Your strength was worth its weight in gold father, you leave us a man with no regrets and your smile, humor and guidance will be dearly missed. As you look down upon us now, I know that you are smiling and watching over all of us, especially as Eva enjoys an evening swim in Lumir`s lagoon..
Live your life my friends Lumir did!
Remembering Dr. Lumir Drevjany by his friend Terry
Back in the 80s Lumir Drevjany went on a course in which participants were asked to choose from among an animal, bird or fish the species that best described him. He chose a salmon. The salmon is fast and rambunctious and strong, swims against the current, and sometimes rises to impossible heights as it jumps over waterfalls that limit the other species to a smaller pool.
I first met him in the early 70s on the badminton courts at Kemptville College and little did I know we would battle each other in badminton and tennis over the next 25 years. Some days after work we would head to the gym and play the best five out of seven games in badminton, more than two hours of singles badminton. He never gave up.
On several occasions, he phoned the secretary across from the hall from where I was teaching and I was summoned believing something must have gone wrong at home. He told me to dismiss my class early and get over to the gym because they needed a fourth.
He was a sportsman and loved a game but he was also the best scientist at Kemptville College while I was there. He published three books I know of, two in English and one in Czech. His book on heavy calves, how to raise them to 600 pounds and sell them for red veal became the industry standard. I still meet beef farmers who use the book. His second book on raising and caring for dairy calves provided farmers with the best scientific information along with new approaches to raising dairy animals.
In those days I put together the College scientific report for the minister of agriculture. Some years he had more published scientific papers than the rest of the staff put together. He once confided in me that he was glad he ended up at Kemptville College rather than at a university. At Kemptville College, he was allowed to pursue experiments and program he would never have at another institution.
But the road was some days rocky. I remember the day he held his heavy calf seminar at Purvus Hall. Several hundred farmers had jammed into the building to get the straight goods on how to make money in the hard pressed beef industry. On my way back I met the principal and instead of being joyful because of the program’s success he was wringing his hands. Though the program was cutting edge, the top brass in Toronto were nervous about it because many of these ideas were unfamiliar to them.
His problem was that he was always a scientist among bureaucrats and they could never handle him. I read in a personnel management book one day that scientists couldn’t be managed, an Italian derivative which originally referred to getting a horse under control. When a researcher starts a research project, he believes he is doing something more important than anything else in the institution, maybe the world. The project comes first, hell or high water. Creativity can’t be managed. He was both a formidable opponent as well as a keen and creative researcher.
The first time I went to his home I was offered coffee and some poppy seed cookies his wife Eva had made. When Lumir saw I didn’t like the cookies, he offered me another, figuring I wouldn’t refuse because I didn’t want to offend his wife. Then he offered me a third and I caught on then that he was having a great time. He loved a joke.
Colleague Bob Morrison called him a meat fisherman because he fished with heavy equipment, using a 20-pound test line for trout. Yet he was able to catch more and bigger fish than the rest of us. He fished for trout in a six-foot wide stream at Hallville and who could have imagined he would have caught so many 12 and 14 inch speckled trout. He had a talent for looking at nature and understanding it.
In later years sickness took a toll, and I told him we had been through a lot together. It was time for him to get together with God. I left it there but in his last days at Winchester Hospital I brought up the subject again. He said he had made his peace with God.
Lumir was born in Janovice, Czech Republic. After 3 years in the army, he studied agriculture at Prague University, where he met and married his beloved wife Eva. Even though Lumir lived in a communist country, he was always fascinated with the west. After the Russian invasion in 1968, Lumir convinced Eva to move with their two children, Martin and Eva, to Canada and start a new life. Even though it was a difficult transition for all, the decision to leave was the best alternative and his whole family is grateful for the opportunity!
Lumir worked and taught at the Kemptville College from 1971 to 1992 and enjoyed both the teaching and research he worked on. He received his PhD in Animal Nutrition from McGill University in 1985.
He enjoyed life and had a great sense of humour. He loved to fish, play tennis and badminton and then later in life his passion became duplicate bridge. He became a Silver Master in 2008. Lumir enjoyed the competition and played an unpredictable game. I am so grateful for all that he taught me! Eva Jr.
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