Dave Bennett – In Memorium

Posted by as In Memoriam

David G. Bennett 1949 – 2022

Dave Bennett ready for the public at the Centre of the Universe - 2013
Dave Bennett ready for the public at the Centre of the Universe – 2013

Dave Bennett was diagnosed with leukemia about a year ago. On Monday afternoon this week, he passed away peacefully at home.

Dave was a member of the Victoria Centre where he was active in education and public outreach for many years.

His family, extended family and his many friends will miss his humour, his kindness and his enthusiasm for whatever activity he undertook.

Following his wishes, his body will be given a green burial in the Royal Oak Burial Grounds. No flowers, please (allergies). In lieu of flowers please donate to the BC Cancer Foundation or the Saanich Peninsula Hospital & Healthcare Foundation.

The obituary will be available at Care Funeral in a couple of days.

There will not be a Service, but please raise a glass of your favourite tipple and drink a toast to his memory.


A collection of photos showing Dave’s and Susan’s time with us at RASC Victoria Centre


Memories of Dave from members

This is so sad to hear. Dave was such an advocate for public outreach. I have missed him at outreach events such as the Saanich Fair and as a prominent Astronomer in the parking lot for Saturday nights at the DAO. What a loss for our community. I will be certainly thinking of Susan and his family at this time.

Lauri Roche

I’m very sad to hear this news. Dave was one of many RASC members who encouraged me to be active in public outreach activities at the DAO and to pursue my interests. He was a kind, generous man.

Matt Watson

I’m so sad to hear this. I still remember our little adventure of recording the asteroid occultation of 1263 Varsavia on July 18th 2003. I still remember being so pleased that we actually picked the right star and that it blinked out at approximately the predicted time. I have to admit it was David’s excellent starhopping skills as neither of us had goto systems. He will be missed.

David Lee

It is really sad to hear the news.  Dave and I [spent] many happy times doing the public outreach.  When needed he was always there.

Sid Sidhu

I remember Dave’s dry sense of humour the most, but also his willingness to evangelize astronomy at any and all public events. Despite professing to be a “grouch”, he was great with the younger generations interested in astronomy, challenging them to dive in. Dave was also a dedicated observer and one of the first Victoria Centre members who welcomed me to the group – thanks Dave. I certainly will raise a glass to Dave’s memory, and celebrate his contributions to amateur astronomy through RASC.

Joe Carr

Wow this sucks. He’s been one of the members who I’ve wondered where they’ve gone. Sadly now it’s permanent. He thought he presented as a grump but always had a kind manner. Will remember him with that big blue refractor. Needs to be said, F… Cancer.

Bill Weir

This is very sad.  Dave was a member when I joined.  He me feel good to be part of the group.

John McDonald

Very sad news, indeed. Dave was an immediately likeable fellow, whose immense astronomical knowledge and infectious enthusiasm was appreciated equally by his RASC colleagues, and the public.  Dave will be deeply missed, and fondly remembered.

Sherry Buttnor

I remember some great conversations with Dave at outreach events and particularly at the Halifax GA (2015). Dave was a proud member of RASD and was Dave XXII. He will be missed.

Chris Purse

Dave was an active, very friendly, welcoming member of our Centre. Betty and I enjoyed interacting with him at meetings and outreach events.  We often saw Dave and Susan at Victoria Symphony concerts, too. We are very saddened at his passing.

Jim & Betty Hesser

Sorry for your loss Victoria Centre. Condolences to the family.

Kim Hay

I’ve known Dave Bennett for most of my time in the Victoria Centre, and more recently when we lived near each other on the north end of the Saanich Peninsula. I greatly regret the press of time conflicts, work obligations and finally the pandemic that limited the time I had with Dave and Sue in recent years. Like other members of the Victoria Centre, I have many memories of Dave’s participation in our outreach activities, especially a trip that we took with Sid to a school on Saltspring Island several years ago. His love for astronomy, sense of humour and friendly manner were always front and centre at these events and at other Victoria Centre activities. I’m glad I knew him and I will miss him.

Chris Gainor

Bill Almond – 1933-2022 – in memorium

Posted by as In Memoriam, Memories & history

With great sadness the family of Bill Almond announce his passing.
Lovingly remembered by his wife Janet; children Carol (Dave) John (Barb) Dawn (Mike), Alison (Colin); 11 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and many friends.
He was loved by all and remains forever in our hearts.

Frederick W. Almond – June 12, 1933 – July 03, 2022 – obituary (Legacy/Times Colonist)

Bill became a member of RASC in 1989, and soon became involved in Victoria Centre, sharing his passion for astronomy with both his fellow members and the public. He lead Victoria Centre as President from 1997 to 1998. Bill was awarded the Newton-Ball Award in 2003 for his exemplary service to Victoria Centre. He enthusiastically helped build Victoria Centre Observatory (VCO) atop Observatory Hill, and provided valuable advice about what gear would reliably serve our members’ needs. Bill was thrilled when the VCO officially opened in 2008.

Bill worked with CCD imaging since the early 1990’s and was published in CCD Magazine with his images of M27 The Dumbell Nebula and M8 The Lagoon Nebula. He was an early leader in digital imaging at a time when the technology had very limited capability, and the gear was often beyond the means of amateur astronomers. Bill encouraged members to tackle the learning curve called astrophotography, often hosting members and groups at his home and observatory. Bill’s astrophotography

Bill Almond presents a copy of his Victoria Centre history to RASC Archivist Randall Rosenfeld

In order to commemorate Victoria Centre’s centennial, Bill applied his writing skills acquired during his career with our local newspaper The Times-Colonist, to compile historic records and media, and write and publish the history of RASC Victoria Centre. This was a daunting task, considering our Centre’s long history!

In 2021, Bill decided it was time to wind up his personal observatory, which was built beside the family home in Colwood in 1992 as a “watch tower”, and featured a Meade 10″ SCT, and later a 12″ LX200. Cameron Burton and Lisa Miester took on the considerable task of moving the observatory to their home on Elk Lake, and have rebuilt the observatory in the process. Moving and installing Bill Almond’s observatory – May 31, 2021 AstroCafe – a 1 hour video presentation by Cameron and Lisa.

What a wonderful video of Cameron and Lisa realizing the significance of my fathers hard work and combining that dome with the passion that Lisa’s father passed on to her. Thank you to the RASC Victoria members in this video who spoke fondly of my father.

John Almond (Bill’s son) – May 31, 2021

Bill Almond – in memorium – a collection of photos from Bill’s involvement in RASC Victoria Centre


Victoria Centre members remember Bill

Remembering Bill’s skill and generosity. So sad to hear that Bill is gone. I knew him from his Times Colonist days, from his diaper service, and from the RASC Victoria. Take care. – Sandy Barta

I’m very sad to hear that Bill has left us. He was president of the Centre when I came to Victoria, and of course he wrote the history of our Centre more recently. – Chris Gainor

I too am sad to hear the news about Bill. He did a fine job on the Centre History that Chris mentioned and he was helpful with advice and tips for those of us starting out. He also gave us some excellent advice when we were considering what telescope to get for the VCO. It was that we should pay the most attention to getting a quality mount. He pointed out that telescopes can be replaced but without a good mount no telescope would do a great job. – John McDonald

Bill was a leader for those of us who were exploring taking photographs of the celestial objects in the night sky. He was a great mentor, a good friend, and a generous man. – Joe Carr

I am so sorry to hear about Bill. He was knowledgable and always helpful to RASC members who were new to astronomy. I was privileged to see Bill´s Observatory Dome just last weekend at it´s new home overlooking Prospect Lake. His legacy will continue. – Lauri Roche

When I joined RASC Victoria in the early `90s I remember Bill would often host evenings at his home in Colwood which of course included a visit to his dome. He will be missed. – David Lee

Diane Bell – a memorial

Posted by as In Memoriam, News

Diane Eleanor Bell, joined RASC in 2010

Diane Bell celebrating a birthday with friends in southern Arizona in 2019 – photo slideshow

It is with sadness that I announce the sudden passing of Diane Bell. The Victoria Centre has lost one of its most active members. Diane was a positive spirit who radiated a sense of wonder. Her contagious enthusiasm about Astronomy elevated the joy and energy of our observing sessions and gatherings. She possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of the night sky and was often seen at RASC events hoisting huge binoculars with a sketchbook nearby. She had served as editor of SkyNews, was the current Centre Librarian and a Member in Charge at the Victoria Centre Observatory. Diane generously shared her knowledge and passion through her participation in Public Outreach and Education programs. We were most fortunate to have her in the Victoria Centre and she will be sadly missed.

Reg Dunkley, President, RASC Victoria

Diane. Our very loved friend, sister, sister in law, aunt, cousin and all around the most genuine kind and faithful human being has passed away. We are all taking comfort that she is with Mimi, Sport, Rick and Aunt Mickey. – Lannea MacDonald


BELL, Diane Eleanor March 7, 1953 – November 9, 2020 – Obituary in the Times Colonist


Very sad. My condolences to family and friends. I will miss her. – Li-Ann Skibo

I was so saddened to hear this shocking news. My sincere condolence to family and friends. – Michel Michaud

I am so very saddened about Diane, she was a beautiful person. Every time I look at the constellations and binoculars, I will think of her. Bless everyone that was close with her. She was very welcoming and friendly to be around. What a bright light she did shine. Sending blessings to her family and friends. – Jennifer Ikle

This is such sad news. Diane shone so brightly in our community! She exclaimed about how the sky is a gift for us all. She encouraged us to appreciate the science and the art of astronomy. Diane got me sketching from the telescope eyepiece – and then I saw so much more than I had before. Her clever cookies and quilts delighted us. Her knowledge of the constellations was an inspiration. We will miss her. – Randy Enkin

That’s devastating news. Her infectious enthusiasm and willingness to help out were hallmarks of Victoria Centre. I’ll sorely miss her. – Dave Robinson

I am so saddened by this news. Diane was always cheerful, and positive. If I was down I just had one of her hugs and it would all go away. There are many memories of being “roomies” at AGM’s and down at Garry’s in Arizona.
I will miss her joy at working with kids at the CU with her Constellation blanket, sharing eclipse cookies at Astro Cafe, her love of Orion and Omega Centauri. She will be so sorely missed. Rest In Peace, Diane.
Lauri Roche

This is terrible news. She has been such a good friend to all of us, and will be deeply missed…Nelson Walker

Very sad news! My deepest condolences to her family, friends, and the Victoria Centre. – Ed Majden

This is such shocking news. We are deeply saddened to hear it. In the three years we’ve been members, Diane has always been at the sessions we’ve attended. Whether sitting in the second row at AstroCafe, showing people the stars on the Hill at summer star parties, or sharing stories of her astronomy adventures and passion for travel up at the VCO, Diane has been a steady fixture of our local group.

She has always been enthusiastic, energetic and engaging. She was extremely generous with her knowledge, her time, her baking and her commitment. She was creative and talented herself, yet always provided genuinely positive feedback to other people on their work and accomplishments.

Since March, we have looked forward to seeing Diane at the weekly virtual AstroCafe. Her absence on Monday evening was noticed by many. Her passing will be felt by us all for a very long time to come. She will be missed greatly.

When the time is right, we would like to be part of a virtual get-together to honour Diane’s life. We could share stories, and, when I spoke to Lauri earlier today, she suggested we all bring cookies in Diane’s memory – a sweet farewell to a kind soul.

And from Nathan: See you in the stars, Diane. I will miss you very much.

Kathy, Nathan and family

This is very sad news . I will miss her so much for the way she welcomed new members and taught to the young ones on nights at the hill. – Maryl McCay

I have posted a short notice of Diane’s death on Victoria Centre’s Facebook group, and I have created a collection of photos to memorialize Diane on our Zenfolio photo hosting site. Diane was a close personal friend, astronomy buddy, and all-round good person. Her cheery face and keen observational skills will be missed deeply. – Joe Carr

I will miss her vibrant smile and her willingness to volunteer whatever was asked of her. She left us too soon. She will be missed. – Sid Sidhu

Oh No! We are very much saddened by this awful news. Both Glynis and I were greatly inspired by Diane’s infectious and powerful enthusiasm. At the AstroCafe nights, the VCO, and everywhere else we attended, Diane was always there to guide and answer. What a loss for the Victoria Centre! – Rod and Glynis Miller

So sad. Sympathies to you. – Emma MacPhee

Very sad to hear this. She will be missed. – Catherine Gregory

Terrible news – condolences to her family and friends. She was always had great energy and enthusiasm during the UVic and other events. #RIP – Brian James Kyle

A sad loss to everyone who knew her and to those who never had the chance. Such a gentle soul. She was always one of the first people I called for any public outreach event.- Bruce Lane

This is extremely sad to hear. She was a great volunteer and I will miss her dearly. Condolences to the family. – Nishith Eluri

I was deeply shocked to hear this today and took several minutes to come back from tears. She was a very kind, giving and outgoing friend . I send condolences to her family and all those who knew her. I am sure many members both within the Victoria RASC family and others she knew will deeply miss her. – Malcolm Scrimger

Such a sad loss. – Chris Spratt

A devastating loss, Diane Bell was a rare soul of relentless positivity and enthusiasm. – Matt Watson

That is very sad news indeed. – Jim Cliffe

So very sad to hear about Diane’s passing. She was such a lovely person with an infectious enthusiasm for astronomy that drew everyone to her. Clint and I send our condolences to her family & friends and wish them peace at this difficult time. – Melissa Tupper

Oh, this is very very sad indeed – Donna Andrew

I am terribly saddened by this news. I last saw Diane Bell in person in May when she gave me a mask that she had made out of astronomical fabric. That is still the mask I wear most of the time these days. She only asked that I contribute to a local charity, which I did. We often saw her great skills with fabric, notably the ‘star blanket’ she brought to the DAO to educate members of the public about various constellations. And who can forget her eclipse cookies?
I always enjoyed talking to Diane about her youth in a military family, growing up on Canadian Forces bases around Canada and in Europe as part of NATO. One of them was CFB Cold Lake in Alberta, close to where I spent many summers growing up. I note that her final posting on Facebook was in anticipation of Remembrance Day, the day the news first came out of her unexpected passing.
Although Diane experienced her share of ups and downs in life, I always remember her being enthusiastic and positive. She did a lot for the Victoria Centre, including her current service as Librarian. I know we’ll all miss her. – Chris Gainor

I read about Diane’s passing on my lunch break at work, but now that I’m home, I’m still having difficulty coming to terms with it. All the superlatives being used to describe Diane are of course true, yet she is much more than the sum of those. Diane was instantly likeable. Her apetite for learning was exceeded only by her passion for sharing that knowledge. Her talent for her crafts; sewing, baking, music, and more were enjoyed by all who were fortunate enough to sample them. Her enthusasm and generosity were amazing. Our bike rides together were immensely enjoyable. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her. – Sherry Buttnor

Please add our names to the (I am sure) long list of friends of Diane, who will be sadly missed. She was a real force of positivity for Victoria Centre and a friend to all. RIP, Diane. Thanks for making a huge difference with your outreach and friendships. Jack and I will continue to wear our “Diane astro masks”♥️ with pride! – Alice & Jack Newton

Heartbreaking. I can’t fathom not seeing her again. – Deb Crawford

I am so sad to hear this. Diane was part of what made the observatory such a magical place to be. She will be so missed. – Jennine Gates

My condolences to Diane’s family. I was in shock when I first read your post. Her enthusiasm and kindness stand out for me. I can’t imagine a star party without her. I was one of the happy recipients of a star mask. It turns out that it is perfect as with so many of her creations. I will miss her a lot. – Ida von Schuckmann

We were shocked and deeply saddened hearing of Diane’s death. Her infectious enthusiasm for all things about the night sky was inspiring. With her beloved 8” Dob and original constellation blanket, as sky-guide, she enlivened any observing event, whether organized or impromptu. We remember in particular our sharing with her sessions at the Kingswood Camp with the Brownies and Girl Guides, separate years, and the challenge of finding objects through the small hole in the forest canopy and explaining their locations in constellations beautifully displayed on her blanket but largely blocked from view overhead by our restricted view of the sky. Her absence will be felt at all our events – Dorothy and Miles

2015 – Diane & friends beside the Shawnigan dome

Our tents were pitched side-by-side at the first RASC star party I attended in Metchosin, and Diane’s genuine and enthusiastic welcome then continues to inspire me to do the same with newcomers to astronomy activities. Also inspiring was her unique talent of using oversize binoculars without a tripod to take binocular observing to another level. Her spirit that we are all missing so much right now shines through in the many images people have shared, including in this chrome reflector on the exterior of the Shawnigan Lake Observatory in 2015. – JL MacGillivray

Just arrived home from the mainland, what a shock to find out, Diane Bell, has passed away. Diane and I go back a long time, I will always remember the wonderful conversations Diane and I had and enjoying watching her sketching some of the many wonders of the night. Sadly missed. – Jennifer Bigelow

Her knowledge, enthusiasm, energy, friendship and much, much more will be sorely missed–a huge loss all the people she touched. – Jim Hesser

She will be missed and leaves a wonderful legacy of her passion for astronomy. – David Lee

Diane was one of the Victoria RASC;s most active members and I always appreciated her enthusiasm and support. My deepest condolences to her family and friends on this indeed sad day. – James Di Francesco

This is such a shock and difficult to take in. What a huge loss. In many ways Diane has been the life blood of Victoria Centre. I am so sad. – John McDonald

Diane was a major part of our Centre and I was always impressed that she could remember where she was when she saw her favourite targets for the first time. Like her brother, who I believe died of a heart attack in his 50s, her’s was a life too short. She will be missed and will join those I remember on Remembrance Day. – Chris Purse

I am so very sorry to hear of Diane’s sudden passing. She has been such a solidity of presence and knowledge during my three years in RASC Victoria. The photo of her at the top of a ladder at Garry’s Arizona telescope is a favourite for me. Diane always had informative astronomical comments and a warm, open way of being with people. She will be tremedously missed. – Marjie Welchframe

Very sad and unexpected news! Lynn and I offer our condolences to her family and those who knew her! We recently met her at the 2018 GA in Calgary where we became friends. She was so delightful and genuine. Diane will be in our prayers and thoughts! – Stephen Beddingfield

How sad. Jane and I used to camp next to Diane every star party. She was such fun and had so much enthusiasm for astronomy. – Mark Hird-Rutter

I still cannot believe this sad news. Diane will be missed by many, for a variety of reasons. RIP Diane. – Patricia Buttnor

Shocked to hear of Diane’s passing…met Diane on the military base in Cold Lake Alta…..we we in grade school at Athabasca school….we became great friends..we were military brats and would joke and address each other as such..however growing up in the military has its drawbacks…we were stationed from base to base and lost track of each other…than I found a group on facebook called Cold Lake Brats and low and behold I found Diane again…we were now able to keep touch with each other there and on facebook..she was so warm and genuine…can’t believe she is gone now forever…rest in peace my dear friend….will miss you always my dear friend….wont be the same on facebook without you… – Debra Smith Nadeau

I have been a pen friend of Diane’s for some 32 years and have stayed with her in Victoria during a holiday there and attended with her one of your evenings. Diane visited us in Australia several times and stayed with us. I felt quite saddened to hear this news and felt a deep sense of loss of someone I had come to know very well and yet saw so little of her. In spite of that she had a large impact upon our life and we all felt at home right from the start when she contacted us through friend to see if we could provide accommodation for her in Brisbane during Expo 88 which were able to do. Our friendship began almost immediately we met on her arrival here in Brisbane.

Please convey our condolences to any who knew her well if opportunity rises. I will miss her correspondence but am well satisfied that she has been a part of our life’s journey and we will remember her fondly and with love. I am sure she will be missed by all members of the RASC, the work of which she was justly proud. – Rev. Bruce Worthington

Diane was always generous with her knowledge and upbeat about everything. Her positive sense of humor made everyday more joyful. – Chris Aesoph

Timo Markkanen, 1951-2015

Posted by as In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Timo Markkanen

It is with sadness that we announce the sudden passing of RASC Victoria member Timo Markkanen on Dec 29th 2015. Timo was frequently found perched on a special stool at Astro Cafe. He made many interesting contributions to the discussion and he was looking forward to mastering the use of his recently acquired telescope. The stool at the Cafe, now vacant, will remind us of Timo. He will be missed by his many friends in the Astronomy Community.

John McDonald, Chris Purse, Reg Dunkley and Joe Carr attended Timo’s Celebration of Life, held on Jan 16, 2016.

 

RASC Victoria Centre: John McDonald &emdash; April 12 2014 at the VCO
Timo operating a telescope with John McDonald at Victoria Centre’s Observatory, April 12, 2014

RASC Victoria Centre: John McDonald &emdash; April 12 2014 at the VCO
Timo enjoying the night sky at Victoria Centre’s Observatory, April 12 2014

RASC Victoria Centre: RASCals Star Party 2014 &emdash; Charles' workshop on how to photograph satellites
Timo attends Charles’ workshop on how to photograph satellites at the 2014 RASCals Star Party


Times-Colonist Obituary

Timo H. Markkanen (April 09, 1951 – December 29, 2015)

Timo Henrik, (Kylmaniemi) born 1951-04-09 in Helsinki Finland.

Timo passed away Dec. 29th, 2015 at RJH with friends at his side. Survived by half bother Teuvo Kylmaniemi and half sister Vappu Koivuniemi in Finland. Timo had many friends in Victoria and abroad. He was an avid sportsman with natural athletic ability and excelled, in his early years, at many sports including tennis, golf and darts. His early working career in the hospitality industry allowed him to take many trips abroad where he developed many lifelong friendships. His later working career was with the provincial public service.

Timo had many life interests. He was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada -Victoria, Member of HTML Writers Guild, he loved books and was a punster extraordinaire creating many laughs and even more groans to the joy of those who knew him. For thirty years Timo suffered from Ankylosing Spondylitis. As was his nature he met the challenges this presented in a positive manner and became a founding member and Web administrator for www.kickas.org a source of support and information for those suffering from this chronic arthritic condition. His friends admired his resilience and courage in this battle.

As per Timo’s wishes a Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday Jan. 16th at Smugglers’ Cove Pub, 2581 Penrhyn St. from 1:00Pm to 4:00PM. Timo would be honoured by donations in his memory to www.kickas.org.

Published in The Times Colonist on Jan. 5, 2016

Don Dundee 1926-2013

Posted by as In Memoriam

Don served the Victoria Centre in many capacities during the more than thirty years he was a member. Those who remember him will recall that he was a quiet, modest man who took pride in doing things well. Many will remember his keen support for the Hobby Show each year and many other activities that he was involved in.

Geoff Jones 1928-2012

Posted by as In Memoriam

JONES, Geoffrey Burrett Died peacefully on July 6, 2012 , in Victoria, B.C. He was born on May 2, 1928, in Calgary, Alberta. Predeceased by his wife of 48 years, Mary; Geoffrey is survived by his children, Ted (Susana) and Bronwen (Mark); his grandchildren, Gisela and Fernando and his three nieces, Wendy (Pat), Carol and Susan. A Memorial Service will be held in MCCALL BROS. FLORAL CHAPEL, Johnson & Vancouver Streets, on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm with a reception to follow in McCall’s Family Centre. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC. Condolences may be offered to the family at McCall Bros.