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Born: Oct 04, 1950

Date of Passing: Aug 11, 2019

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October 4, 1950 - August 11, 2019

Derryl passed peacefully, holding his son's hand and listening to Vivaldi, at St. Boniface General Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer.
Left in sadness are his loving partner Sylvia Middleton, who provided devoted support through his illness; son Grant (Sydney) of Vancouver, BC, and daughter Reagan; former wife Shirley; mother Irene; siblings, Scott (Barbara), Laura (Rod), Edmonton, AB, Colleen (Skip), Saskatoon, SK, Shawn (Jan), and Leslie (John); nephews and nieces, Gina Bauer, Saskatoon, Amanda Bauer, Lethbridge, AB, Megan (Eric), Edmonton, Goldwyn (Marie-Pier), Gatineau, QC, Anna, Angus and Calum McKinnon, Matthew, a growing number of great-nieces and nephews and many dear friends.
He was predeceased by his dad George and his youngest brother Kevin.
Derryl was a passionate Winnipegger who grew up on Tache Avenue in Norwood, where he acquired the lasting nickname "Spanky". Derryl moved his family back to Winnipeg following a few years in Ottawa. In later years he returned to Tache Avenue to a condo beside the Cathedral. He loved St. Boniface and the Forks and proudly provided tours of the neighbourhood to family and friends.
Derryl graduated from the University of Manitoba with degrees in Arts and Commerce. He went on to become a senior economist in Department of Transport and later Director General of Western Economic Diversification with the Government of Canada. Derryl relentlessly promoted Winnipeg's interests in the national government and helped, to some degree, in securing several of the major federal initiatives in Winnipeg over the past three plus decades. He was particularly enthusiastic about working on the Forks redevelopment and the national research centre facility.
Derryl had a wonderful retirement which included travel and enjoying the urbane lifestyle offered by Winnipeg / St. Boniface with Sylvia, hanging with his friends at the Forks, and working on his French language skills. His life was enriched by friendships made with new Canadians through his volunteer work at the Immigrant Centre Manitoba and the Winnipeg School Division.
Derryl was devoted to his family and worried we would all be too sad when he was gone. He was right.
Friends and family are welcome to attend a celebration of Derryl's life on Sunday, September 1 at 2:00 p.m. at The Inn at the Forks.
Publish Date: Aug 24, 2019


Derryl passed away peacefully in the early morning of August 11, 2019.
A celebration of his life will be held on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at The Inn at the Forks.
A longer obituary notice to follow.
Publish Date: Aug 20, 2019

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 20, 2019, Aug 24, 2019

Condolences & Memories (10 entries)

  • I worked with Derryl at Western Diversification for over 20 years and he taught me much of what I know about program delivery. He was a true gentleman, had a great sense of humour and very creative in how to get things done! My favourite memory was when the DGs were meeting in Winnipeg and he so graciously toured us around the city (a place he truly loved & was so proud of), giving us a great history lesson as well as a history of WD investments there - even had the famous "Nips" (breakfast burgers) at the Salisbury House on the Esplanade Riel. He was an amazing human being and will be missed by many. My deepest condolences to the family. - Posted by: Nadean Langlois (Colleague) on: Aug 30, 2019

  • I am saddened to hear of Derryl’s passing. He was always very supportive of his colleagues at Western Diversification and I recall several times where I appreciated his calming presence in contentious client meetings. His good humour, sage advice, and friendly chats will be missed. - Posted by: Ron Sellen (Colleague) on: Aug 28, 2019

  • Derryl was a soft-spoken, principled, kind and caring individual. My condolences to his family. May he rest in peace. - Posted by: Jim Monzer (Colleague) on: Aug 28, 2019

  • I had the pleasure of meeting Derryl about ten years ago through, my now mother-in-law Sylvia Middleton. Derryl was always so welcoming and down to earth. Right off the bat I found him very charming and so likeable. We enjoyed meeting up with Derryl and Sylvia for many dinners as well as him hosting meals and evenings at his condo on Tache. We eventually had one, two then three kids in tow and Derryl continued to make us feel right at home and most welcome. We Will always remember watching the fabulous Canada Day fireworks at his place and enjoying having a beer or walking around The Forks. Through every milestone that my husband and myself reached Derryl was always the first to send his congratulations and would send over a bottle of nice champagne for us to celebrate. That was always such a special touch that showed how kind and generous of spirit he was. Our children loved Derryl and continue to enjoy the Madeline books that he gifted to them quite a few years ago. We were very sad when he passed as he deserved to enjoy many more years. He was a positive and bright person in our life and we will miss him so much. Most of all we won’t forget his kindness and his bright smile. - Posted by: Leslie Middleton (Friend ) on: Aug 26, 2019

  • I was saddened to hear of Derryl’s passing. My condolences and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. I was Derryl’s administrative assistant at Western Economic Diversification for over a decade starting in 1988. He was kind, caring, interesting and generous. I have memories of typing long agreements for Derryl on a typewriter with carbon paper, before we had computers. Derryl would come up to me with revisions and say, “Sorry, Kid” and back to square one I’d go. To this day he still called me “Kid” or “BL”. Derryl was a brilliant writer and intelligent. His writing was minimally touched (if at all) if sent for review. Other support staff have told me how Derryl was their favourite at meetings if they had to take minutes. He didn’t ramble and he kept things on point. If his children ever called I was to interrupt any meetings he was in if needed. His family was important to him. Derryl was kind and treated everyone equally, a quality you don’t always see at his level in the workplace. I even caught him answering my phone the odd time (before voicemail). Nothing was beneath him. The yearly Federal Budget involved working late for a few of us. Derryl treated us to Pizza Hut (it had to be ‘meat lovers’) and a beer while we did our work. He always made sure we got home safely. On occasion, Derryl offered me rides home after work. During these drives he introduced me to new music such as Diana Krall and Enya. He also talked a lot about Pink Floyd. Derryl was also a very cool boss to have. He let me take time to get ready at the office for my first KISS concert. This involved having full KISS face paint done by another colleague. He also let me wait in line at Select-A-Seat in Winnipeg Square so I could get front row tickets to the Scorpions. This was before wristbands and the internet. He could also be a prankster. I found a TIME magazine on my desk that was flipped over. The cover was of a great white shark, jaws wide open. Up in the corner a happy face drawn on a post-it note was stuck on. He heard me shriek from my desk and he felt terrible (he knew I was scared of sharks). Derryl was extremely thoughtful and generous when it came to special occasions. He always got me something for Administrative Assistant Week and Christmas. I became a connoisseur of Morden’s chocolate, nice wine and dark French Roast coffee thanks to him. He used to tease me about my ‘soda pop wine’ (Lonesome Charlie, Fontana Bianco) which prompted some changes. My palate also became a lot more refined. During birthday lunch outings for our small branch, he taught me how to ‘work your way in’ with all the cutlery at a place setting. He joked I was used to eating out of Styrofoam containers (Big Macs). He occasionally left a box of dim sum pork buns on my chair after he had gone to meet a friend for lunch. Eventually I found his weak spot for homemade rice krispie cake (extra chewy) that I then made for his birthday. For Christmas it was always a bottle of Glenlivet scotch. He cradled the bottle every time he opened the predictable box and joked that his company could drink his cheap stuff. When my position was being cut from Western Diversification after 24 years it was Derryl who gave me advice on how to maintain my attitude during this challenging time. He taught me how to roll with the punches during some of the trials in my life. At the time of his approaching retirement, I was not his assistant any longer but I did work in his branch. I was really honoured when he asked me to type his resignation letter ‘for old times’ sake’ as he put it. Derryl was definitely the best boss I had. He was unique and he will be missed. He had a big heart. - Posted by: Brenda Letain (Friend & Work Colleague) on: Aug 26, 2019

  • I first met Derryl when I began my employment with Western Diversification upon its establishment as a western federal department in 1987. Derryl was a very welcoming individual, very positive and intelligent and a pleasure to work and associate oneself with. Derryl was non-judgmental -- never having a negative thing to say about anyone. He was a consummate team player with a very keen but subtle sense of humour! Our sincere condolences are extended to the Millar family on Derryl's untimely passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you! - Posted by: Ronald (Ron) Smith (Work colleague and friend) on: Aug 25, 2019

  • Derryl and I worked together in Western Economic Diversification between 1988 and 1992. Always, I was impressed by his sharp mind, quick wit and ability to speak truth to power. Derryl played an important part in keeping Portage La Prairie’s economy strong when National Defence closed CFB Portage. He helped advance health industries in Manitoba. Derryl also worked closely with senior officials in the Province of Manitoba on a variety of important economic matters. Derryl was well liked by all; employees, colleagues, the business community and officials of other governments. He leaves a legacy of successes behind. Manitoba and Winnipeg are better for his contributions. I will remember him. - Posted by: Dennis Wallace (Friend) on: Aug 25, 2019

  • Derryl Millar was a truly good person. Friendly, always positive, a keen observer of human nature and passionate about Winnipeg. I am sad that he has passed on - Winnipeg needs people like him. I am sad for his family and friends who will miss him dearly. When I worked with Derryl at the Federal Economic Diversification Office in the early 1980s he was a dedicated public servant bringing his best to the team every day. He was the guy you could depend on for every task and the guy who could get along with everyone. Whenever I ran into Derryl over the years we always picked up easily from where we left off. He had the ability to make people feel at ease. I truly regret that I didn't have more occasions to enjoy his company over the years. I will remember him fondly. - Posted by: Ian Gillies (Work Colleague) on: Aug 24, 2019

  • Derryl Millar: Deep intellect, caring and a killer wit never to be replaced. I truly enjoyed the time I spent with Derryl, at work and play. He always took time to listen, to mentor with a few words of wisdom and was always ready with a good restaurant recommendation or critique! A devoutly proud Manitoban and a genuinely real/interesting person to be around. Will miss our hockey drafts, sharing a cold beer at The Forks, the Norwood Hotel for ribs and the odd Jets game here and there. Will always carry a smile when I envision him rattling off one of his many Princess Bride quotes. Loved his sense of humour and balanced life perspective. Wishing his family and friends the best during this difficult time. - Posted by: Joe Keszi (Friend and colleague) on: Aug 20, 2019

  • Derryl was an original owner here at 500 Tache. I am the board secretary and have been associated with 500 Tache since the sod was turned on May 5, 2005. Derryl was an extremely kind gentleman. He had a lovely smile and was a very important addition to our community. I will miss him very much. Louisa Ryz - Posted by: Louisa Ryz (Neighbour at 500 Tache) on: Aug 20, 2019

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