K. Hugh Ham

Kenneth Hugh Patrick Ham passed away on Sunday the 20th of October 2019 at the Dulcina Hospice in Calgary.  He was 72 years old and had only recently retired from his busy and successful law practice in Calgary.  Hugh was also a dad, brother, and grandpa. He is survived by his sons Jarrod Ham and Jeremy Ham, daughter in-law Sarah Ham, Grandson Lawson Ham, brother Gordon Ham, Gordon’s wife, Paddy, sister Jane-Anne Johnson, step-sister Jill Taylor, niece Brenda May and nephew Dean Johnson.

Hugh was born in Edmonton July 8th, 1947 to Harry Ken Ham and Catherine Theresa Ham.  As a boy he spent summers out in the woods at the family cabin at Long Lake and later Windermere.   He was a camper at YMCA Kamp Keewaydin as a youngster and went on to become a Counselor.

Hugh gave an indication of his possible career choice as early as High School as a member of the debating team. He completed his first degree in economics from the University of Calgary in 1969 and worked as a financial analyst for a major Canadian chartered bank. Hugh decided to change his vocation from finance to law. He graduated from the University of Alberta faculty of law in 1977.

As a student in the 60’s he had a strong social conscience. He was a critic of the Vietnam war and joined Students for a Democratic Society. His sense of social responsibility followed him through his career as he represented numerous groups and causes in Calgary. He went so far as to run for civic politics during the early part of his career. He also served as the Deputy Mayor of the Olympic Athletes Village in Canmore for the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Hugh’s sense of adventure would influence his life. He developed a passion for world travel as a young man which he pursued until a year before his death.  In the early 70’s, he traveled overland from Western Europe starting in England, to Eastern Europe, through the middle East from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and eventually ending in India.  Throughout his life he would visit other countries and continents from such faraway places such as Greece, Russia, Columbia, UAE and South Africa.

In 1977, in the early days of building his successful municipal law practice, Hugh welcomed his first child Jarrod Lawson Ham and his second child Jeremy Patrick Ham, in 1978. Hugh loved being a dad. He developed a strong bond with his two sons and instilled in them his love for nature and travel.   He was active for over a decade with his sons in Scouts Canada as a Scout leader with a troupe of over 20 kids. Hugh became Grandpa in 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed his grandson, Lawson.  He maintained a close relationship with his boys, Jarrod’s wife, Sarah, and Lawson. He took comfort in having family close in his final days.

Hugh became a well-respected and successful lawyer in the area of municipal law. He frequently appeared in court of all levels and before boards on behalf of his many clients. He created a multidisciplinary service in the area of municipal law and development – Municipal Counsellors and remained active in the Canadian Bar Association and Calgary legal community.

A wake will be held in Hugh’s Honour at Country Hill’s Crematorium and Funeral Services on Saturday, November 9, 2019 between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

Hugh was much beloved by his family, friends, colleagues, and associates and he will be truly missed. In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made on his behalf to Scouts Canada.




10 Obituaries

  1. Barbara Haskell (nee Dann)

    When I graduated from S.A.I.T. in 1977 with a Secretarial Arts diploma, I was assigned to do on-the-job training with Hugh and another colleague, Jeff Thom. I stayed with Hugh until he left Fenerty & Company, after 5 years, and was so glad to have known him. He was always looking out for others and did the best he could for his clients. Sad to know he passed.

    • Chris Davis

      Hugh will be remembered as a skilled advocate for his clients, a mentor for many of us practicing municipal law in Alberta and a man of strong opinion (but over which he was prepared to be convinced otherwise). He was also passionate about his family. Hugh (“Huge”) will be missed.

      • Denise Neigel

        Hugh was a dear friend for all the years I lived in Calgary. He and his family comprised a very tight network of close friends. Hugh had strength in his convictions and was tough and unflappable, qualities a good lawyer should have, as a friend he was very kind and supportive and was always there for me to help or to just have some good fun with family and friends. Hugh was a very loving father to his two boys and always seemed to have their best interest at heart. After I left Calgary, Hugh called me a couple of times with concerns about his boys and their future and then we lost touch. I will always remember Hugh with fondness and gratitude for the years of friendship. Particularly To Jerrod and Jeremy, but also to the rest of the family and to friends, I am deeply sorry for your loss. To lose a parent is the most difficult of losses, I pray in time your sadness and pain will be eased with happy memories of your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time.

        • Gwendolyn Stewart-Palmer

          I knew Hugh as a fellow practitioner in municipal law. He was always passionate in support of his clients’ positions, but a pleasure to deal with. He will be missed.

          • Ed & Alice Fedosoff

            We knew Hugh several years ago when we served together, beginning years of the Glenhaven Condo Board, Cochrane. In those early years he was a wealth of knowledge experience & determination. Always a friendly face & had the ability to lighten the mood at meetings. Our sympathies to all the family.

            • JIM MURPHY, Q.C.

              Hugh and I spent a lot of time together hammering over land use planning law issues. I don’t know that we ever saved the world, but we sure had a good time trying.

              I will miss you, Hugh.

              • Nigel Goodwin

                To my friends Jeremy and Jarrod, I’m terribly sad to hear about your dad’s passing. From Cubs and Scouts to summers in Harrop and hanging out at your family’s house, he was a central figure in my own childhood and I will miss him very much. He was always positive, happy, fun, hilarious and generous. He was just a wonderful human being and I can’t believe he’s gone.

                • Martin Buckley

                  I worked with Hugh when he was the solicitor for the Town of Canmore, in the 1980’s – mid 1990’’s; I was with the Town’s Administration at the time. Hugh was a perfect fit with Canmore at that time, as the Town was experiencing its high levels of post-miming growth: Hugh’s extensive and detailed knowledge of Alberta planning law was of vital importance to the Town during those years. Hugh also had a real gift for de-mystifying the laws, statutes, regulations and court rulings, being able to explain, in common terms, to both elected officials and ordinary residents, how the Alberta laws worked, within the planning realm. He was a wonderful person to know, and I am deeply saddened at his passing. My condolences to his family.

                  • Lana Do

                    Jeremy and Jarrod I am sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved father Hugh “ Huge” Ham!
                    Rest In Peace Hugh!
                    You are missed!

                    • Lana Do

                      Sorry about the loss of Hugh Ham, a brilliant lawyer and a dear friend!

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