David Lister Myles
David Lister Myles died at Hospice House in Fredericton, N.B., August 22, 2019. He was born January 16, 1938, in Fredericton, the son of the late Audrey Alberta Lister and Wesley Morris Myles. His grandparents were Frank Stratton Lister, Charlotte Alberta DeLong, Robert Long Myles and Alva Jane Wilbur.
He is survived by his wife Diane Taylor Myles, daughter Jane Elizabeth (Peter Moreton), grandson Jacob Taylor Myles Moreton; sister Jane Rogers (David); brother John Myles (Dianna); sister-in-law Carmel Myles, as well as numerous nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by sisters Frances Myles and Charlotte Duncan (Jim), and brothers Ross Myles, Robert (Bob) Myles (Glenna) and Jim Myles.
At a young age he began delivering The Telegraph Journal and took on more responsible roles over the next decade. He often referred to this as the best education he ever received as the paper route enabled him to remember every building in the downtown and who lived there. It established his pattern of making friends with everyone he met. He was a kid who loved books, technology and tinkering with things. By high school, those interests led him to become an Amateur Radio Operator (VEIJQ), fluent in Morse Code.
David had a lifelong passion for learning. As one of eight children, he had to self fund his education. While attending University of New Brunswick, he worked for Canadian National Railways and as the custodian at a local business. He was a "spotter" during aerial spraying for Forest Protection Ltd. and he collected sample plot data for the Federal Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. He was employed by a local land surveyor and was involved with timber cruising, regeneration surveys and related forestry work for the Department of Lands and Mines. Following graduation, he taught history and science briefly in Lower Southampton and Fredericton High Schools.
In the mid 1960s, he became a site supervisor during construction of the St. Anne Nackawic Pulp Mill. He was an explosives and demolition expert specializing in construction. Eventually his teaching inclination returned and he developed the curriculum and taught the explosives course for the Provincial Department of Labour.
David loved the local history of buildings and furnishings. He was a frequent patron of a variety of archives. During the development of Kings Landing, he was responsible for research and acquiring buildings and material history. He provided technical assistance, advice and supervision for restoration and maintenance of provincially-owned buildings, including the Legislative Assembly, Legislative Library and Old Government House. He worked diligently to repatriate culturally relevant material significant to New Brunswick. He was an expert examiner in the province for the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Ultimately he served on the Kings Landing Board of Directors for 15 years and was made an honourary life member.
He was always interested in toponymy (place names) and served as the provincial representative on the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names; a member of a committee studying the production and content of Canadian Gazeteers, and a member of the Provincial Comité de terminologie, Official Languages Branch of Cabinet Secretariat. The purpose of this work was to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of place names for cartography.
In 1990 David was asked to establish the NB Power Electricity Museum. It opened in 1991 on Canada Day and was later honoured by the American Association of State and Local History. The museum was a way for David to excite people about history through storytelling and exhibits. He and Judith House co-authored Seventy Years of Service, the story of how the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission delivered electricity to New Brunswick. He received the Governor General's Commemorative Medal to mark the 125th Anniversary of Confederation awarded to Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, community and Canada.
Typical of his diverse interests and energy, David took on a new career at NB Power combining his surveying expertise and love of technology. He joined a team of government, academic and industry organizations leading the development of geographic information systems technology. His background in history made him the go-to person for geographic queries from both staff and customers. He willingly shared information to educate young and old. David recently retired from NB Power as a Geographic Information Systems Specialist.
Throughout his life, David maintained a child-like exuberance, passion and wonder for exploring and discovering places and information new to him. When he discovered birding in 1985, he eagerly travelled throughout New Brunswick and Maine to observe species that he had never before encountered, forging many new friendships, and entertaining and delighting fellow birders along the way. When his quests were successful, his eyes would sparkle and he would gleefully laugh and rub his hands together. Within a few years, he achieved the milestone of having seen more than 300 bird species in the province. David was especially fascinated by owls and would never pass up an opportunity to search for Great Gray Owls, a species rarely seen in our part of the world. He eagerly participated in the Mactaquac Christmas Bird Count every year from 1985 through 2019, and was the compiler for this count for many years. His most noteworthy discovery on this count was an immature female Blue Grosbeak, a species that rarely ends up in New Brunswick in the spring when it overshoots its northward migration but overwinters in Mexico and Central America. He also often participated in the Fredericton, Jemseg and Stanley Christmas Bird Counts, and the New Brunswick Owl Survey.
In a downtown bar in Fredericton after a Guinness, David once told a friend how he looked at life: "Either you can sit at home and watch things on TV, or you can get out of doors and do things." It seems that David's life was a testimonial to the latter.
David had an abiding compassion for and admiration of Aboriginal peoples and under the tutelage of Dr. George Frederick Clarke of Woodstock, he began to research their material history through the collection of archaeological artifacts. He maintained long-standing relationships with the family and was instrumental in seeing that the George Frederick Clarke Artifact Collection came to the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Brunswick for study and education. It was a great honour to David to learn that in 2016, Mary Bernard, granddaughter of Dr. Clarke, dedicated the fourth edition of her grandfather’s archaeology book, Someone Before Us, to David Myles.
David was very kind, warm and generous, always willing to help others who asked for or needed his help. He was fun loving and well known for his wicked sense of humour. He was a superb teller of stories and anecdotes, whether fabricated or real. He made thousands of friends over his lifetime, a true representation of his curiosity and social nature. He loved meeting people of all ages and backgrounds, always looking for new ideas and connections through people.
David's family would like to express appreciation to the Upper Kingsclear Fire Department, Ambulance New Brunswick, staff of the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, and Hospice House. For those who wish, donations may be made to the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, 649 Queen Street, 2nd Floor, Fredericton, NB E3B 1C3; Prince William Cemetery Inc., 144 Pike Hill Road, Temperance Vale, NB E6G 2E7; or Hospice Fredericton, 621 Churchill Row, Fredericton, NB E3B 1P5.
A celebration to commemorate the life of David Lister Myles will be held at a later date.