Cover photo for Graham Lee-Whiting's Obituary

Graham Lee-Whiting

d. November 21, 2020

Graham Lee-Whiting, a theoretical physicist who made significant contributions to nuclear physics throughout his career, passed away peacefully at the age of 94 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 at Margaret Bahen Hospice in Newmarket, Ontario.

Graham is predeceased by his parents Florence Whiting (née Barlow) and George Whiting, and his dear wife Dr. Brenda Lee-Whiting (née Townsend). He is survived and sadly missed by his sister Phyllis Wilson (née Whiting) and brother-in-law Thomas Wilson, and nephews and niece Tim, Terry, Ron and Susan along with all his great nieces and nephews (Chris, Keli, Tom, Rob, Jim, Matthew, Kate, Jesse, Leah) and many great-great nieces and nephews, along with his dear cousins and friends. As well, Graham was very fortunate to have caregivers, Sheila, Carolyn, Mary Ellen, Sunary, Heike and Frank, who in his last years and final days were of great comfort. 

Graham, who grew up in Iroquois Falls Ontario, was a graduate of the University of Toronto.  After a post-Doctoral stint in the UK he joined Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in Chalk River in 1952.  Graham put his expertise in mathematics to work in a number of nuclear physics topics ranging from the theory of beta decay to precise measurements on the energies of gamma rays.  His co-workers also valued his talents in magnetostatics, and Graham designed a number of high-precision spectrometers such as the pi-root-2 beta spectrometer at Chalk River.  Starting in the early 1960s many scientists in the Accelerator Physics Branch worked with Graham on the design of the Intense Neutron Generator (ING) and other accelerator-related projects. His expertise in magnets continued to be put to use through to the time of his retirement.

Graham was appointed head of the Theoretical Physics Branch at Chalk River in 1969.  He held that position until his retirement in 1991.  He then was appointed Researcher Emeritus, the second person to ever receive that honour, and spent several of the next years writing a still-unpublished book “Analytic Calculations in Magnetostatics.”

Graham was a kind and very generous family man whose encyclopedic knowledge on almost every imaginable topic often came in handy at family gatherings. Anytime a family member would start a sentence with “I wonder…” Graham either had a well-reasoned answer or could point us to a book we could explore and learn on our own.  

Graham’s wife Brenda was a published author and journalist, focused primarily on the immigration of German and Polish settlers to the Renfrew area, and Graham very much enjoyed accompanying her on research visits to local farms where she interviewed and took many photographs to preserve the history of the area.

Graham had a long and productive life, dedicating his time to his greatest interest, physics. He enjoyed the outdoors immensely and embraced the cold northern winters, spending much of his time canoeing, skiing, and skating. He loved bridge and played regularly in Deep River as well as in many competitions.

The family will receive friends respecting current COVID-19 restrictions (the mandatory wearing of masks and adhering to a social distancing protocol and only allowing 45 people in the building for a Private Visitation and Funeral Service at the M.W. Becker Funeral Home, Keswick, Ontario. Interment of cremated remains will be held in the spring in Iroquios Falls, Ontario The service can be viewed via Facebook livestreamed at: starting at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 30, 2020

In memory of Graham, donations made to the Society for the Preservation of Canada's Nuclear Heritage info@nuclearheritage  of would be appreciated. Sign an online book of condolences at


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