In Memoriam - 2016

Graham Wright

W. J. Graham Wright (‘50), born February 27, 1924, passed away peacefully on December 24, 2016, surrounded by his family, following unexpected complications from heart surgery. After graduation from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, Graham practiced in Kitimat for 5 years before returning to Vancouver to establish the law firm Mann & Wright.

Tony Greer

George Martin “Tony” Greer (‘61), born March 25, 1923 in New Brighton, England, passed away peacefully on December 11, 2016 at Kiwanis Care Centre with his daughter by his side. Tony graduated from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC in 1960 and practised corporate law for over 30 years. When Tony was 89 years old he received his doctorate of law from UBC.

Gowan Guest

Gowan T. Guest, CM, QC, KSJ (’54) passed away, peacefully, at his home in Vancouver, on December 7, 2016, with family by his side, at the age of 87. Born in Toronto in the winter of 1929, Gowan moved to Vancouver in the mid-1950's. Soon after graduation from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, he was lured to Ottawa by the chance to serve as Executive Assistant to Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. This fabulous opportunity launched an exciting career that combined law, business, and politics. In 1961, Gowan left Ottawa, and returned to Vancouver to start his law career with Robson, Alexander & Guest (now Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang). A pioneer in broadcasting law, Gowan also contributed to a range of important community initiatives, such as the development of Grouse Mountain, the establishment of Pacific Rim National Park, and the building of Vancouver's Canada Place. In his second act, Gowan moved to Owen Bird, from which he eventually retired in 1987. He continued to be active in a variety of businesses, the most noteworthy of which were a pair of investment management firms run. Throughout his life, Gowan maintained his dedication to public service, often telling his family to "give back more than you take out". He was an active participant in the political process and an advocate for education, serving as Chairman of York House School. He also served as the President of the World Federation for Mental Health, and as Chair of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada. In 1995, he was invested in the Order of the Knights of St. John; in 2002, his contributions to both the business world and to his community were recognized when he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Jim Gaffney

James “Jim” Lloyd Gaffney (‘65) passed away peacefully on December 3, 2016 with his loving family by his side. Jim attended High School at Campion College in Regina, and excelled in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. He earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas and returned to Canada to work in the oil industry. After marrying Donna in 1962, Jim found he was spending too much time away in the oil fields and left engineering to earn a law degree at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. After moving to Calgary, Jim began his career as a lawyer at Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas. It was there he became a respected international energy lawyer and traveled the world. Later he worked for Amoco Canada as General Counsel. He retired in 1992, but remained active with contract work.

Erin Dance

Erin Dance (’07) passed away peacefully, surrounded by the love of her family at Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario on Friday, December 2, 2016, after a courageous battle with leukemia, age 35. In Vancouver she pursued and realized her dream of being a criminal lawyer, and practiced with Bolton Hatcher Dance.

Ray Cocking

Raymond Eyre Cocking, QC, (’52) lawyer, rugby player, father, gentleman, and storyteller, suffered a stroke on November 19, 2016, and nine days later peacefully "passed from the scene" at the age of 89. Ray was a larger-than-life character with a fantastic sense of humour and stories for all occasions. Ray attended Laura Secord Elementary, and later Britannia Secondary. Ray entered the University of British Columbia where, after dabbling in the sciences for a few years, he entered Law School, obtaining a law degree in 1952. He joined McTaggart, Ellis and Company, specializing as a union-side lawyer later rising to partner. He represented the BC Teacher's Federation, the BC Nurses Union, and the General Labourers Union among others. His legal opponents in arbitrations, mediations and court cases were not adversaries; they were respected friends. His outstanding service in law was recognized in 1982 when the BC government appointed him Queen's Counsel; in 2004 he was named to the honour roll of the Law Society of BC.

Valerie Taggart

The Honourable Valerie Manning Meredith Taggart (’49) passed away on November 13, 2016. She was a proud British Columbian and, in many ways, a pioneer. Valerie entered the University of British Columbia to study science during World War II and, at 17 years old, enlisted with the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, becoming an anti-submarine specialist in Ottawa. After the war, Valerie returned to Vancouver to study at the newly-established law school at UBC. One of only four women of 130 in the class of 1949, Valerie graduated near the top of the class, and was called to the BC Bar in 1949. She made important contributions to Vancouver's Junior League, UBC's Continuing Legal Education, and the Law Foundation. In 1980, she was appointed to the BC Provincial Court, where she served as a judge until 1995. She was active in the legal community, professionally and socially.

Jim Taylor, QC

James "Jim" P Taylor, QC ('68) passed away on October 16, 2016. Jim was well known in the UBC community and far beyond. He started his association with UBC as a history student but discontinued his B.A. studies after 3 years to enroll in the law school, where he earned his LLB in 1968. He returned to UBC in 1974 as a faculty member, where he had a meteoric career, becoming tenured in only his 3rd year and promoted to the rank of full professor in 1979. To read the full tribute from the Dean, please click here.

Keith Lo

Keith Archibald Lo ('61) passed away peacefully on October 9, 2016. Keith was originally born in Jamaica, met his wife in China and moved to Vancouver to live. He received a Bachelor of Commerce from the Sauder School of Business in 1958. After graduating from the Allard School of Law in 1961, he started his own law firm and worked until retirement in 2014.

Kenneth McCurdy

Kenneth Brock McCurdy ('51) passed away on October 5, 2016. Ken was born in Saskatoon and raised in Lloydminster. He served in the Canadian Navy during WWII before coming to Vancouver to attend UBC and the Allard School of Law. He was a partner at MacQuarrie, Hobkirk & McCurdy until his retirement. He will be greatly missed for his wisdom, his correction of our grammar and his humour.

John Wood

John F Wood (’56) passed away September 24, 2016. He was born in 1933 in Halifax N.S., and spent the rest of his life in Victoria B.C. As a child, John attended Shawnigan Lake School, followed by Victoria College and finished his education with graduation from the Allard School of Law. He was called to the bar in 1957 and enjoyed a successful law career for over 40 years. John will be remembered as a loving husband and father, a successful and well-respected lawyer and a loyal friend with a wonderful sense of humour.

John Gardner

John D Gardner ('81) was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan to the late Jack and Gladys Gardner on October 18, 1950 and he passed away peacefully in hospital in Mission, B.C. on September 3, 2016 with family at his side. John graduated with honors from Menlo School in Atherton, California in 1967; Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa in 1971 and from Allard Law School, Vancouver, B.C. in 1981. He was called to the B.C. Bar in 1982. John was highly respected within the law and immigration communities of Greater Vancouver and admired for his brilliant legal commentary published by Thomson-Reuters in Toronto and read by law students, lawyers and judges from coast to coast in Canada.

Erwin Biedler

Erwin Ernest Biedler (’56) was born and raised on the family farm in Jansen, Saskatchewan, and he was destined to be a farmer until an accident with a threshing machine ended his farming career and provided an opportunity to return to school. He then completed a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, U of S (1950); Bachelor of Social Work, UBC (1954); and a Bachelor of Laws at the Allard School of Law in 1956. He was called to the Bar in 1957. He completed his schooling and articling, and developed a private law practice in North Vancouver. He passed away on August 16, 2016.

Robert Duncan Ross

Robert Duncan Ross, BA, LLB, QC, (’49) passed away August 7, 2016 in Vancouver B.C., one month after his 90th birthday celebration. Bob graduated from UBC law in 1949 and became an accomplished lawyer. Through his work, he was an advocate for many clients with spinal cord injuries. In recognition of his excellence in personal injury law, he was designated QC. He was an early backer of Rick Hansen's 1985 Man in Motion Tour, supported several para - athletes and promoted spinal cord injury research.

Henry George Sivertz

Henry Sivertz (’52) born at Victoria, June 1, 1927 died at Salmon Arm, July 26, 2016. Until moving to Salmon Arm in 1962, Henry mostly lived in Vancouver with schooling in Kitsilano and UBC where he graduated in Law in 1951. Henry's father, Gustav Sivertz, was an editor for this newspaper in the '50s and Henry once did a stint as a cub reporter. His roots at the coast are extensive.

The Honourable William Esson

The Honourable William Arthur Esson (’57), former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on July 14, 2016 in North Vancouver, B.C. Bill was born on November 1, 1930 in Vancouver and graduated UBC in 1953 with a B.A. and a strong interest in history, reading and writing. A hard year of running Esson's Bakery convinced him to return to UBC in September 1954, this time to study law. Bill found his calling, and thrived, in law. He practiced for 21 years, all at Bull Housser & Tupper, until he was appointed a Judge in 1979. He spent the next 26 years on the bench, serving twice on both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, including seven years as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Bill thoroughly enjoyed the law, which interested him passionately, and his colleagues, many of whom became friends. When he retired in 2006, at the age of 75, Bill was honoured with a Special Sitting of both Courts.

Ronald Piters

Ronald E. “Sekuru” Piters (’75)  passed away at home on July 6, 2016 at the age of 71. After attaining a Master's Degree in Education, Ron spent several years in education, ultimately as a University administrator, before going to UBC for a Law Degree. He found the perfect niche practicing Maritime law wherein he combined work with his love of the ocean.

Mark Dedinsky

Mark Francis Dedinsky (’86) born in Vancouver in 1958, died peacefully in his sleep June 22, 2016, after a courageous lifetime battle with Diabetes. After completing his law degree at the Allard School of Law in 1986, he went to Ontario and opened his law practice. It was there he met and married Carm and they raised their 2 children. He worked as a Trial Lawyer and Litigator since 1988.

James Berringer

James Berringer (’93) died from a sudden illness on June 21, 2016. Born in Vancouver, Jaime grew up in Richmond and graduated from the Allard School of Law in 1993, running his family law practice for over twenty years. He was a proud father; always happiest spending time with his family.

Michelle Pockey

Michelle Pockey (‘94) passed away on June 17, 2016. Michelle was an outstanding lawyer, who, during her 20-year career, specialized in environmental law across the forestry and mining industries, principles of corporate social responsibility, and the cultivation of successful, inclusive partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses. A tireless advocate for the advancement of women in business, Michelle was a founder of the Professional Women's Network, an organization dedicated to women's education and business development, with over 1,200 members across Canada. She was a member of the Women Presidents' Organization and the WEB Alliance of Women's Business Networks, and the recipient of many awards, including a Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business Award, a Champion for Change Award presented by the Women Presidents' Organization and GroYourBiz, and an International Alliance for Women World of Difference Award for extraordinary contributions to the economic empowerment of women. Michelle served as a board director for several prominent organizations, including the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, which drew not only on her business acumen but also on her musical talent: an accomplished jazz vocalist, Michelle performed at many clubs and concert halls while she was building her remarkable legal career.

The Honourable Glenson J.F. Baker

Glen Baker (’55) passed away peacefully at Peace Arch Hospice on Sunday June 5th with his family. Glen was born on July 12th 1930 in Victoria and spent his childhood in North Vancouver. Glen attended Ridgeway Elementary and Graduated from North Vancouver High School in 1948. After graduating, Glen attended UBC where he completed an Arts Degree. Glen continued his education at the Allard School of Law and graduated in 1955. He and his wife settled in White Rock where Glen had already started his law career at Thompson, Wilson and Baker in 1956. Five years later they built a house in Crescent Park which Glen called home for 47 years. Glen practiced law for 27 years. In 1976 he left Thompson and McConnell and started his own law firm in Langley with his friend and partner Edward Scarlett. In September of 1980 Glen was appointed as a Provincial Court Judge until retiring in July 2000.

The Honourable John F. Rowan, Q.C.

John F. Rowan, Q.C. (’55) passed away on May 23, 2016. After graduating from high school, John went to UBC where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts and a Law Degree in 1955. After graduating from law school, John articled in Kamloops, before returning to Vancouver to work as a solicitor at Tysoe Harper which is now known as Harper Grey LLP. In 1966, John decided that he no longer wanted to be a solicitor and left private practice to work as a Vancouver City Prosecutor. In 1970, John returned to private practice, at first in Burnaby and then down to Gastown for seventeen years. At first he had an office at Number One Alexander. He practiced there and then at 157 Alexander until his appointment to the County Court in New Westminster in 1988. John joined the BC Supreme Court in 1990. As a judge, he was known to be fair to everyone. His varied background as a lawyer meant that every case was a pleasure for John and the lawyers involved, if not for the litigants. John had some health problems in 1993 and 1994 that slowed him down, but he kept working as a judge until 2001 when he retired. He was one of British Columbia's leading trial lawyers and mentor to many lawyers and judges who went on to their own illustrious careers. He will be missed by his family, friends and members of the legal profession in British Columbia.

David Charles Ward Kiviaq

Kiviaq aka David Charles Ward (‘81) passed away on April 24, 2016. He graduated from the Allard School of Law in 1981 to become Canada's first Inuit lawyer, and was known for his lifelong fight for Inuit and Aboriginal peoples of Canada. His life and battle for equality for the Inuit are the subject of a 2006 documentary. Before acquiring his law degree from UBC, he attended Louisiana State and Washington State universities on scholarships. He was formerly an alderman of Edmonton, and a popular radio host. In 2003, March 14 was declared Kiviaq Day by the City of Edmonton.

Herbert Evans Williamson

Herb Evans Williamson (‘61) passed away on April 3, 2016 at St. Paul's Hospital following a heart attack in December. Born in Vancouver, Mr. Williamson attended Kitsilano High School and graduated from the Allard School of Law in 1961. After articling in Victoria, he taught law at BCIT and practiced law in Vancouver for nearly 40 years.

Charlotte Jane Banfield

C. Jane Banfield (’54) passed away on February 6, 2016 at the age of 85 years. Ms. Banfield was born in Vancouver and graduated from the Allard School of Law in 1954. After being called to the Bar in British Columbia, she worked in Toronto at World University Services of Canada, where she played an instrumental role in encouraging the organization’s board to incorporate as an NGO. While in Toronto, Ms. Banfield also earned an MA and a PhD, teaching in Montreal and California before becoming a professor at York University. At York, she founded the Law and Society program and acted as the program’s director. She was also the university’s first advisor on the Status of Women. Ms. Banfield was active in many American and Canadian organizations focused on interdisciplinary law and society education throughout the years. She retired in 2004 and returned home to Vancouver, where she served on the Vancouver Heritage Foundation board and actively supported the City Archives.

Furio De Stefanis

Furio Stefanis (’72) passed away on March 16, 2016 at the age of 80. Mr. Stefanis was born in Rome, Italy and obtained a law degree from the University of Piza. He later immigrated to Canada and received a law degree from UBC in 1972. Mr. Stefanis practiced law in Burnaby for over 35 years and had a general practice

Michael Kuta

Michael Kuta (’82) passed away on January 27, 2016 at the age of 61. Mr. Kuta graduated from the Allard School of Law in 1982, first practicing corporate law before starting various entrepreneurial pursuits. He later became General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Amerigo Resources. He had a gift for languages and a passion for golf, ballroom dancing, expeditions with friends and his family.

James Poyner

James Poyner (’64) passed away on March 14, 2016 at the age of 76. Mr. Poyner moved with his family between Ontario and BC before attending UBC and settling in Vancouver. He graduated from the Allard School of Law in 1964 and began a career lasting over 50 years. Mr. Poyner was a partner at the firm Poyner Baxter on the North Shore and enjoyed counselling North Shore residents and taking on the “big guys”. He gave many performances in “Lawyer Shows” through the TLABC and enjoyed coaching sports in West Vancouver.

F. Richard (Dick) Whiteside

Dick Whiteside (’53) passed away on January 7, 2016 at the age of 90. Mr. Whiteside was born in Vancouver, later  moving to North Vancouver where he lived until his passing. He received a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from UBC. He served Canada in World War II, before graduating from the Allard School of law in 1953 and working as a lawyer for 30 years. After his retirement, he was an active volunteer at the Margaret Fulton Centre and a member of the Kiwanis service club. He was also an active member of St. Martin’s Anglican Church and became a member of the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster in 2014.