Craig William HAWRYSHYN

March 23, 1954 ~ August 29, 2023 (age 69) 69 Years Old


Craig William Hawryshyn, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to William “Howie” and Edith Shirley Hawryshyn, passed away in Nanaimo, British Columbia on August 29, 2023, at the age of 69.

He is survived by his wife, Dianne Balfour, daughter Jessica Hawryshyn (Dillon Buerk), granddaughters Tessa Buerk and Kaya Hawryshyn, sister Kimberly Kuzminski (Greg), mother-in-law Mary Balfour and brothers-in-law Scott (Carmen) and Tom Balfour. He will also be missed by his aunts, uncle, cousins, nephews and nieces.

After graduating from the University of Manitoba (1972-76), Craig completed his M.Sc. in zoology at the University of Alberta (1976-79). His Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo (1979-1984) was the start of his passion for research on neuroscience and fish vision. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University (1984-86), he held faculty positions at McMaster University (1986-89), University of Victoria (1989-2006) and Queen’s University (2006-2012). Craig was passionate about experimental design in his research and always enjoyed building his laboratories and specialized equipment. His greatest satisfaction came from mentoring his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and collaborating with them as their careers developed.

Craig spent his early years in Winnipeg, mostly outdoors, bike riding, playing hockey and building forts in the local forest. Craig developed his love of fishing early in life in the company of his father and grandfather. In his teen years he spent summers working as a guide at fishing camps in the Kenora, Ontario region. Although Craig left Winnipeg in his early twenties to pursue his education, he made numerous trips back to visit family and spend time at the family cottage that he helped build.

Craig spent much of his adult life on Vancouver Island, spending the majority of his career in Victoria, where he and Dianne raised their daughter. The family cherishes memories of spending time together on the West Coast of the Island, in particular, around Bamfield. After retiring from his academic career in Ontario, Craig and Dianne moved back to Vancouver Island, where Craig continued to enjoy fishing, tying flies, and tinkering with his boat “Father Howie”. He always had projects on the go, whether it was installing drip irrigation in the garden or new flooring in the house. In his career and his personal life, he was analytical, a problem solver.

His greatest joy came when spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren Tessa and Kaya. He loved to take the “chickens” out for ice cream, and he gave the best “grizzly bear hugs”. Craig and Dianne enjoyed trips up to Prince Rupert when their daughter and her family lived there. Craig and his son-in-law, Dillon, had some epic fishing trips, and the family would enjoy seafood feasts with the catch of the day. In 2022, Craig and Dianne moved with their family into a shared home on a small acreage in Nanaimo. Sadly, his health began to deteriorate within the year, and he was diagnosed with cancer in June. He spent his final days in the Palliative Care Unit at Nanaimo Regional Hospital. His family is grateful for their compassionate care. Even in his worst days of pain and discomfort, he regarded his care team with respect, appreciation, and humour, and always had a big smile and hug for his grandkids. Throughout Craig’s life, he struggled with his mental health – despite this, he lived his life with remarkable persistence, courage, and dedication to his research career and his family. He would wish to see more compassion in our society towards those struggling with mental illness.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a future date with close family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, if you wish to honour Craig with a donation, please consider donating to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre to support youth and university students in accessing educational opportunities:

Bamfield was a special place to Craig, where he taught field courses, conducted research, and spent time fishing and beachcombing with friends and family.


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