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Born: Jun 01, 1951

Date of Passing: May 21, 2017

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BRIAN MICHAEL STASZENSKI June 1, 1951 - May 21, 2017 Brian Staszenski of Thorsby, Alberta passed away on May 21 of a sudden heart attack. We remain saddened and continue to deeply mourn his loss. As a close friend commented recently, he has left a huge hole not only in our hearts, but in the community where he was a courageous voice on behalf of the environment. Brian is survived by his sister Donna Staszenski and her husband Hans Smits of Edmonton, and his aunts, Helen Kurylko, Bernice Wasylishen and Olga Wasson. Brian is survived as well by a large extended family of cousins and their children. His relatives meant a lot to Brian, and there are many great family stories that will sustain happy memories. Brian was predeceased by his father Bronislaw (Brownie) Staszenski and his mother Josephine (Wasylishen), grandparents, uncles, and aunts who in each of their ways, inspired him. Brian was born in Winnipeg. His family moved to Prince Albert in 1962 and then to Edmonton in 1966 where he completed high school and university. In his youth, Brian loved football and played for the Edmonton Wildcats. After university in Edmonton, he spent a year studying at university in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since 1982 Brian lived on a beautiful forested property near Thorsby bordering the North Saskatchewan River. There he honoured his Baba's, Gigi's and parents' tradition of organic vegetable gardening. He loved his animals - dogs, cats and horses - and those animal companions gave him unconditional love in return. He was most at peace working on his land, going down to the river, and hiking into the mountains of the Willmore wilderness. Brian's deep attachment to his land reflected his commitment to environmental justice. His advocacy for the environment was inspirational. In 2000, he was recognized as a "Hero of the Planet" by Time Magazine for his environmental activism. Time described Brian as a "radical in the best sense of the word" and captured his unique qualities as an activist: "a 48-year-old bear of a man brimming with can-do enthusiasm, will try almost anything to help push humanity toward a greener future," a description to which we can still knowingly smile. A public tribute to Brian was held on June 18, 2017 in Edmonton, where members of his family and many speakers from the community and environmental movement spoke fondly about his character, life and work. The importance of home was central to who Brian was. Winnipeg was his original home and is home to many of his relatives. Family and friends are welcome to attend a memorial for Brian at All Saints Cemetery on Main Street on August 17 at 10:00 a.m., where his parents Josephine and Brownie rest in peace. Family and friends are also invited to join in a celebration of Brian's life on August 17 at 45 Kildonan Green Drive starting at 11:30 a.m. "His native home deep imag'd in his soul." -Homer, The Odyssey

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 12, 2017

Condolences & Memories (1 entries)

  • Donna, so sorry to hear this news about your brother. I stumbled on it by chance. I remember first meeting Brian when he was approximately 10 years old and later when he was just finishing high school. I remember how proud your dad was of Brian. Brian obviously lived up to your dad's expectations and beyond! Hope that we can get together for a coffee sometime and catch up. It has been a long time! Take care, Rod Wasylishen - Posted by: Rod Wasylishen (second cousin) on: Oct 07, 2017

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