General Withers, who passed away in his sleep on Dec 24th, was the oldest living past Chief of the Defence Staff.
Born in Scarborough, Ontario to Scottish immigrant parents, Withers spent 35 years in uniform, serving in the Korean War and in command and staff positions throughout Canada and overseas. He became Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in 1977 and then Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in 1980 before retiring in 1983.
From his retirement as CDS in 1983 until 1988, Withers served as Deputy Minister of Transport, during which time he was awarded the Commissioner's Award of the Northwest Territories and the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada.
Withers was a professional engineer and a Fellow of Georgian College, holding earned degrees from the Royal Military College of Canada (student # 2951) and Queen's University. He was a graduate of the Canadian Army Staff College and Britain's Joint Services Staff College.
After retirement, Withers became president of a government relations firm, director of an aerospace technology company, a consultant to the Office of the Auditor General and Chairman of the Industry Government Relations Group.
He also continued to be active in volunteer work. In addition to chairing a committee that reviewed the undergraduate program at the Royal Military College of Canada (culminating in the Withers Report), Ramsey was the honorary director of the Canadian War Museum. He was a former Trustee of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Chairman of the Canadian War Museum Committee, former Director of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies, and an Honorary Vice-President of the Boy Scouts of Canada.
General Withers was married, and he and his wife Allison (née Saunders) had three children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
He was awarded the Commissioner's Award of the Northwest Territories and the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada. He is the winner of the Queen’s University Alumni Achievement Award. He was an honorary graduate of the National Defence College and the NATO Defense College and held two honorary doctorates.