Brian du Heaume was a long-time supporter of the Devonian Botanic Garden, and the Friends of the Garden. Over the years he has donated funds to FOG and the garden, and when he passed away recently, he left a generous bequest to FOG.
Brian was born in India, where his father was stationed with the British army. He went to boarding school in England at the age of eight, and he grew up there since it was too far to travel home for the summer holidays. He went to University and became a doctor. He met his wife May in a London hospital where she was a nurse. In due time they got married and had two children, Susan and Alan.
In 1965, the family immigrated to Canada, settling in Edmonton where Brian was a GP. The family decided to embrace life in their new country, and one of the things they learned to love about Alberta was the plants that grew here. They started going to the Devonian Botanic Garden a few years after they came to Edmonton, and spent many Sunday afternoons there as a family.
Brian and May spent many hours in the DBG, especially on the old dock in the Imrie Wetlands. They loved to watch the birds and enjoyed the variety of plants growing there as well. Armed with binoculars and a picnic lunch, they spent many happy hours watching the birds and admiring the plants. Even after the dock fell apart they would visit the Imrie Wetlands, although they no longer had a place to sit. Brian and May had a close, loving relationship and held hands throughout their life. May passed away in 2012, and Brian was devastated. He donated funds to have a new dock built in the wetlands and he spent a lot of his time there, remembering his wife.
The du Heaumes felt that children should be outside, and learn to enjoy nature. They believed that children should be free to play and get dirty while exploring their world. The DBG was a natural setting for these activities, and therefore worth supporting.
Brian was a very private man, and did not want a big fuss made over his donation. He did not show his emotions in public, but was a caring and kind doctor who treated his patients with respect. His generous bequest will be used for the Evergreen Terrace. This is a good fit for Brian, since it will showcase native Alberta plants, and symbolizes the couple’s decision to embrace their life in Canada.
We are grateful for the support of the DBG and FOG by Brian and May. Their generosity, and that of others, has helped the DBG become what it is today.