December 20, 2018
Photograph By Chad Hipolito, The Canadian Press.
Russell, John – Formerly of Oshawa passed away peacefully on December 20, 2018 at the age of 63 in Maple Bay B.C. John is survived by his wife Valerie, children Heather, Andrew (Kristen) and Christopher, his parents Jim Russell and the late Irene Russell, brother Bob (Jessica) and sister Kathie Rowsell (Allan).
John attended Beau Valley P.S. and O’Neill CVI in Oshawa. He obtained his B.Sc. in forestry from the University of Toronto, completed a master’s degree at the University of California at Berkeley and his PhD at the University of British Columbia. John worked as an adjunct professor at both the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, supervising post-doctoral and graduate students.
John joined the Forests Ministry research centre at Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island in 1985. He was the world’s leading expert on the western red and yellow cedars. John was the principal research scientist examining growth, genetics and survivability of the western red cedar and yellow cedar for the B.C. Ministry of Forests. He co-authored more than 40 papers in scientific journals and organized an international symposium in Victoria on the two species in 2010.
John’s work was part of a province-wide effort to improve the forest health of various tree species. He was instrumental in developing the genetic diversity policies in B.C., and for many years served as an associate editor for the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Internationally, he enjoyed research exchanges in New Zealand and France where he studied cypresses and developed complex clonal forestry strategies and inbreeding studies.
A big thank you goes to the myriad of doctors and nurses who cared for John during his illness. The care and compassion he received both at home and in hospital was phenomenal. A special thank you goes to Drs. Roy Gilbert and Valorie Masuda, who went above and beyond and made a difference. A celebration of his life is being planned in the spring. In John’s memory, donations may be made to Kidney Cancer Canada.