Art Sager’s Obituary

Art Sager in Spitfire

SAGER, Arthur Hazelton

On the afternoon of September 22nd, in the 91st year of his extraordinary and rich life,

Art Sager succumbed to cancer of the liver and passed away quietly and peacefully at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.

He was born on 22 October 1916 in Hazelton, British Columbia, the son of Dr. William Sager, a medical missionary, and his wife Esther (Hettie), nee Duckers. His life took him to many places: he lived in Surf Inlet, Port Simpson, Port Coquitlam, Vancouver, London (England), Ottawa, New York, Addis Ababa, Rome, Aix en Provence, and, finally, Victoria.

From early 1942 to 1945 he was a Spitfire pilot in the RCAF, becoming a Flight Commander and then Commanding Officer of 443 Squadron. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Legion d’Honneur. He was, at various times before and after the war, a journalist, actor, steamship deckhand, mucker, teacher, CBC radio producer, Assistant to the President of the University of British Columbia, Executive Assistant to the federal Minister of Fisheries, Public Relations Director of the Fisheries Association of B.C., Director of the UBC Alumni Association, Director of UBC’s International House, and international civil servant with the United Nations. He finished his career with FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization) in Rome, and then moved to Aix en Provence in 1978, where he lived for a quarter of his life. He moved to Victoria in 2000, and spent seven gloriously energetic and happy years at Somerset House on Dallas Road.

A disciplined and punctilious wordsmith, he is the author of Line Shoot: Diary of a Fighter Pilot (Vanwell, 2002), It’s In the Book: Notes of a Naive Young Man (Trafford, 2003), a family history entitled The Sager Saga (1998), a history of Somerset House, and many short articles and biographies in The Trumpeter, the Somerset House magazine.

Twice married (to the late Dorothy Planche of Vancouver in 1941; to Jacqueline Roussel of Rouen, France, in 1967), he is predeceased by brother Murray and sister Shirley, and survived by his son Eric Sager of Victoria, daughters Ann Blades and Susan Henry of Surrey, granddaughters Catherine and Zoe, grandsons Jack, Angus, James, Kevin and Ian, brothers Melvin and Henry, sister Elsie Wilson, a multitude of cousins and nieces and nephews, friends in several countries, and his beloved companion of recent years, Scotty Day.

Art insisted that there be no funeral, but family and friends are invited to a gathering of remembrance in the Harbour Room, Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel, 45 Songhees Road, Victoria, at 2 p.m. Sunday 30 September.

In lieu of flowers or gifts the family recommends donations in Art’s memory to Y2-K Spitfire”, the Spitfire restoration project, c/o Comox Air Force Museum, 19 Wing Comox, P.O. Box 1000, STN FORCES, Lazo, B.C. V0R 2K0. 411869

Published in The Times Colonist from September 25 to September 26, 2007

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