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Born: Mar 21, 1947

Date of Passing: Oct 21, 2023

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March 21, 1947 - October 21, 2023

Vince passed away at the age of 76 at the Whitemouth Personal Care Home where he had been a resident since early 2021. Afflicted with dementia, his last couple of years were not easy, despite the wonderful attentive staff that provided care and comfort to him.

Born in Lasswade Scotland, Vince arrived in Canada on his first birthday with his parents, Izydor and Peggy Lopata. They had chosen Canada as their new home. While proud of his Polish and Scottish heritage, Vince was a Canadian through and through. He carried his worn and fading Canadian Citizenship certificate in his wallet, just in case.

Vince never had children, but he had three families, the growing one his parents started in Canada, his work and professional family, and his beloved cadets and veterans. Raised in East Kildonan, Vince attended Salisbury School and Miles Macdonell Collegiate. He was a good student but found his vocation and passion for chemistry when he studied at Red River College. Following summer employment at the Atomic Energy of Canada Research facility in Pinawa, he was offered a permanent research job on graduation. He embraced his new home, buying a house, joining the curling league, volunteering and being active in local activities. He was a real booster for his new hometown, joining the Chamber of Commerce and serving on the executive including as President. Vince constantly entertained people visiting Pinawa. Countless weekends were spent hosting not only family, but colleagues, visiting researchers and his annual camping sessions for his cadets from the city, so they could enjoy nature.

Professionally Vince was a recognized expert in carbon composite research, speaking at international conferences, and working on international projects. One project was assisting Lockheed Martin in developing a covering to ensure the new Stealth aircraft could avoid radar detection. Vince and his colleagues from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee received an award for “One of the Fifty Most Important Inventions in the World’.

When the AECL facility closed, Vince was proud he and several workmates started their own company, Acsion Industries, to continue the research and work they were doing, and keep jobs in Pinawa. After retirement, Vince continued to work with others especially where he could apply his research and analytic skills. He found new friends at Aqua Life and loved the thrill of helping find solutions to problems others could not solve.

Vince actively supported encouraging high school students to pursue careers in science. He organized summer projects at AECL for students participating in the Deep River Science Academy so they could experience science firsthand.

As much as Vince loved his work, he embraced cadets and veterans with unending service. As a boy he joined 526 The Winnipeg Grenadier Cadet Corps. Starting as a cadet he rose to instructor, then Captain and Commanding Officer. To him the cadets were another family. He often told stories of young boys and girls joining cadets and how through the cadet program they grew into talented young adults. His pride was in seeing them mature. He delighted when they returned, sometimes years later just to say hello, and more often than not ‘thank you’.

As a Grenadier, Vince appreciated more than most the commitment and bravery of the Winnipeg Grenadiers and their sacrifices. He came to know many of the vets and became active in the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association. Vince authored two books based on exhaustive historical research including hundreds of cables and military memos during the defence and siege of Hong Kong. Wanting to share this information and preserve the legacy of the vets he self published the books. To add to his professional accolades, Vince received the Minister of Veterans Affairs ‘Commendation for Service to Canada’s Veterans’, as well as several other honours including the ‘Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal’.

Vince is survived by his sister Betty Leitch (Don), brother Stan, cousins, Teresa Lopata (Bruce), Bernice Pokorny (Richard), and nieces and nephews, Andrew Leitch (Ayako), Rae Leitch, Sylvia Martin (Danny), and Carol Kiernicki (Steve) and numerous grand-nephews and nieces. Vince was predeceased by his nephew Stephen Vincent Leitch.

Vince’s funeral and celebration of his life will be held on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Glen Lawn Funeral Home. Interment in the adjoining cemetery. A reception will immediately follow.

At Vince’s direction, a fund supporting scholarships for Winnipeg Grenadier and other army cadets pursuing post secondary education will be established at The Winnipeg Foundation. Anyone so wishing may make a donation in Vince’s name to The Winnipeg Foundation to support the fund.

Glen Lawn Funeral Home



Publish Date: Nov 4, 2023


March 21, 1947 - October 21, 2023

Vince passed away at the age of 76 on Saturday October 21 at the Whitemouth Personal Care Home where he had been a resident for the past two and a half years.

A full obituary will follow in the next few weeks with details about a funeral service and Celebration of Life for Vince.

Glen Lawn Funeral Home


Tribute Link:

Publish Date: Oct 28, 2023

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 28, 2023, Nov 04, 2023

Condolences & Memories (3 entries)

  • My sincere condolences to you Betty and Don and all of your family on the passing of your brother - Posted by: Debbie Schmidt (nee Keeley) (Junior Bridesmaid for Betty and Don) on: Nov 06, 2023

  • It was with deep regret that I learned of Vince's passing. He and I were co-workers for several years immediately after his recruitment by AECL. We worked on fast reaction kinetics using a machine of which there were only three in the world. With it we could look at reactions a mere nanoseconds after they were induced by radiation. It was world-leading research at the time and it was a memorable time in my life as well as his. Following his time in the Radiation Chemistry section, he went on to achieve many of the things he was always capable of. On the personal side, I remember his love for the military and, particularly, his visits to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. During one visit, he got a taste of life in Yorkshire when he stayed at my parents' house on his way to Scotland. He was captivated by the different lifestyle and embraced it with aplomb (and a little mirth). It is a sad time when he is no longer with us. - Posted by: Robert Dixon (First co-worker at AECL) on: Nov 04, 2023

  • Condolences to families Rest In Peace and Salutations Vince - Posted by: Brian and Sandy (Friend) on: Nov 04, 2023

Glen Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

Glen Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

455 Lagimodiere Blvd. (Map)
Ph: 2049827550 | Visit Website

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