You are here

Ian Thorson

Further Details Regarding Ian Thorson:

The following is taken from the obituary, and details of the celebration of life can be found at the end of this tribute to Ian:

THORSON, Ian Miles February 22, 1934 - January 26, 2010


It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, brother, grandparent, uncle, and friend. The eldest of four children, he was pre-deceased by his parents, Anton and Amy (Dahlstrom) Thorson, and his brother Lorne.

He is survived by his wife of over 49 years, Joyce, and siblings Valerie of Saskatoon, Boyd (Lynne) of Ottawa, and brother-in-law George Robertson of North Bay. His children, Chris (Sue) Thorson, Kim (Bryce) Code, and Carol Thorson, together with grandchildren Elan, Everett, and Mitchell Code, are grateful for his legacy of kindness, generosity and intellect.

Ian was born in Estevan, and grew up on a farm outside Macoun in southern Saskatchewan. Although he was raised in the country, Ian is remembered by his siblings as preferring academic activities. This included carefully reading each edition of Time Magazine and Popular Science while standing next to the kitchen stove and when possible, enjoying the wonderful delig hts of his mother's home-made sweet buns. After high school, Ian was keen to enroll in the most exciting science of the times, nuclear physics. He received a Bachelor Degree in Engineering Physics in 1956, followed by a Master of Science Degree in Nuclear Physics in 1957 from the University of Saskatchewan. Ian's sharp mind led to him receiving the top engineering science award during his graduating year. He then moved east to Deep River, Ontario, where he was employed by Atomic Energy of Canada in Chalk River, and served as a town councillor. It was here that romance blossomed between scientist Ian and teacher Joyce, and where their three children were born.

While helping raise the family, Ian volunteered in many sporting and scouting activities, as well as spending much time tutoring science at all levels. In the fall of 1969, the young family of five packed up and moved to Vancouver, visiting many relations and friends across the country. From this time forward, Ian was employed with Simon Fraser University, designing and working at the TRIUMF particle accelerator at UBC.

Ian's TRIUMF career spanned thirty years, where his reactor expertise from AECL in Chalk River proved an asset in designing the thermal neutron facility. He went on to play a leading role in addressing safety issues at the laboratory and specifying the radiation shielding requirements for the new beamlines. As the laboratory matured, Ian continued to play a significant role in Health and Safety, putting his considerable intellect and personable manner into chairing the TRIUMF Safety Advisory Committee and taking on a senior management role as head of the Administration Division reporting to the Director.

In his retirement he continued to consult and share his expertise with his colleagues at TRIUMF and in several other countries. Ian retired in 1999, and enjoyed spending time with family at their cozy Heffley Lake cabin. He continued his life long love of music, including operas and singing with the Vancouver Orpheus Choir, which brought him much happiness. Ian and Joyce enjoyed travelling, especially visiting grandchildren overseas and exploring his Scandinavian heritage with family. Ian's love of reading, which inevitably led to discussions of substantive science and other global topics, continued to shine. During his later years, Ian served as a Board member for the PLAN support organization.

The family wishes to thank Ian's doctors and the palliative home support medical team who ensured that all of Ian's final wishes were fulfilled. His mind was keen to the end and in true scientific spirit, Ian donated his mortal self to the UBC medical department. A celebration of Ian's life will be held on February 2, from 3-6 PM (program at 3:30 PM), at the Burnaby Golf Club, at 7600 Halifax St. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Ian's name to your favourite charity would be appreciated.