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PIERS – Edward

December 23, 1938 – July 18, 2010

Edward Piers, beloved husband of Shirley Piers of Calgary, Alberta, passed away on July 18, 2010 at the age of 71 years.

Edward was born in Neerlandia, Alberta, the fifth of seven children in a Dutch immigrant farming family. He attended high school in Barrhead, before entering the University of Alberta where he earned B. Sc. (1959) and Ph. D. (1963) degrees in organic chemistry. He then moved in 1963 to British Columbia where he became a faculty member in the Chemistry Department at UBC, the beginning of a distinguished academic career for which he garnered many awards, both for teaching and chemical research. Edward mentored more than 90 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and inspired many to pursue careers in chemistry. His many accomplishments resulted in his election to Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada in 1989. Edward also made significant leadership contributions to the profession of chemistry in Canada and was widely respected among his peers—“a true scholar and gentleman”. Throughout, Edward remained committed to integrating his faith with his vocation and was heavily involved in Christian educational institutions, from high schools to graduate schools, often serving in positions of leadership. In addition to his professional activities, Edward enjoyed sports—he shot two holes in one!—photography and hiking in the outdoors.

Edward is survived by his wife Shirley, his sons Warren (Marrian) Piers of Calgary, Alberta, and Kevin (Gloria) Piers of Jakarta, Indonesia and his six grandchildren, Jeffrey, Jared, Rachel, Amani, Alexander and Nicholas; brothers Peter Piers of Neerlandia, Alberta, Bert (Joanne) Piers of Ripon, California, John (Lucille) Piers of Edmonton, Alberta, Kenneth (Sharon) Piers of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and sister Hilda (Bob) Doughty of Campbell River, British Columbia; and many nephews and nieces. Edward was predeceased by his parents Oona and Grace Piers, and his brother Henry Piers.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 4 p.m. at Emmanuel Christian Reformed Church (3020 – 51st Street Southwest, Calgary, AB). You may forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tribute can directly be made to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada (20 Eglinton Avenue West, 16th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 1K8) in his name.

In living memory of Edward Piers a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park, Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE NORTHWEST, ALBERTA. Toll Free: 1-800-661-1599.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Gary and Reta :

    Dear Shirley,
    We send our sympathy and pray for strength for you as you grieve the loss of Edward.

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  2. Ed was a wonderful mentor and friend and will be missed. Heartfelt condolences to the families.

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  3. David Walker :

    To Ed’s family, I would like to tell you that he was a wonderful colleague in the Chemistry Department at UBC and he was a true gentleman, every day. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.
    David Walker.

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  4. ivene & Bob Ellis :

    Hello Shirley – I had talked to Beryl Woollard on the weekend and she mentioned she had been talking to you and that Edward was failing. It has been a “hard row to hoe” for you and he over the past few years. It is so sad what devastation Alzheimers can do to a person.

    We are thinking of you and send our sincere sympathy to you and your family. Regards Ivene & Bob Ellis, YVR Green Coats

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  5. John Sherman :

    I am very sorry to hear of Ed’s passing. He was a mentor and friend. To this day Ed represents a standard and is often mentioned as a reference therein. A standard of a person who is: honorable, reliable, venerable, thoughtful, driven, measured, successful, capable. Ed was also not many things: an operator, a manipulator, a bully, slick, a horn-blower. He once commented that he’d never get a job today, intimating that he does not have the slickness of many of the candidates we had interviewed. They broke the mold when they made Ed, yet many of us would like to see more of his ilk.

    John Sherman

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  6. Kevin and Sonja Cook :

    Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family Warren.

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  7. eleanor mccomb :

    Shirley, I remember with fondness visiting with you and Ed — Ed’s dry humor, and his sudden laughter at times.
    Please accept my condolences for you and your family.
    Eleanor McComb

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  8. Hank & Eda Vandenberg :

    Our sincere condolences to you, Shirley, Warren and Kevin and families with the passing of your husband, father and grandfather. We will always rememember Ed from our Vancouver and Richmond years and respected him as a forthright Christian man. May God comfort you

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  9. Dear Shirley

    Ed gave so much of himself over the years as teacher, mentor and friend. For him, the details were always important! I will fondly remember his dry sense of humor and that infectious laugh.

    My profound sympathies to you and your family.

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  10. Dale & Tami Piers :

    Dear Aunt Shirley, Warren & Kevin –
    We extend our sympathy to you in Uncle Ed’s passing. Our prayers are that God will grant you strength and hope in this valley.
    Sincerely,
    Dale, Tami, Josh & Janelle Piers

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  11. Dear Shirley, Warren, and Kevin,
    This is indeed a sad occasion and I extend my sincere condolences to each of you. I personally find myself reflecting on a life well lived. Ed was blessed with a wonderful wife and two great sons. He had the fortune of influencing so many scientists throughout his life and his scientific legacy lives on in so many of us. His calm demeanor, his challenge to excel, his rigorous scientific integrity, and his understated paternal caring were all traits that slowly but strongly registered on a brash graduate student. He greatly influenced my direction in life, and I will always remember him with great fondness.
    Sincerely,
    Neil

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  12. Bill&Helen Visser :

    Dear Shirley. We are sadend to hear of Eds passing. We wish you Gods presence and peace at this time

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  13. Gerry nad Joan Bouman :

    Shirley, Kevin and Warren and family: We were so sorry to hear about Ed’s passing. We understand the last years were difficult for him and Shirley. We know he is with his Maker. We surely trust that God will support all of you in the difficult days of sorrow to come. Our sincere condolences.
    Joan and Gerry Bouman

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  14. Tina Blink nee Kwantes :

    Dear Shirley and family,
    I was so sorry to read of Ed’s passing away. Even though it goes back so many years, to my babysitting times in 1964/65, I hold dear memories of your family, and I pray that you will feel surrounded by the comforting arms of our Heavenly Father during this difficult time.
    Tina Blink [Kwantes]

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  15. Diana Wallhorn :

    Dear Shirley,

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. It was my privilege and honor to have been taught by and to have worked for Ed. He was a brilliant synthetic chemist and a beautiful human being. I am so sorry that this disease took him so fast. He deserved more time with his family. He will always live on in my memories!

    Peace Ed.

    Yours sincerely,
    Diana.

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  16. Cristian Harrison :

    Dear Shirley and Family,

    In the six years that I spent as a graduate student in Ed’s group, I came to admire him as a great mentor, a patient teacher, a trustworthy friend to myself and all around him, and a truly honorable human being. I will truly miss Ed.
    My sincerest condolences to you and to all whose lives were touched by Ed.

    Cristian.

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  17. Matt & Dorothy Kwantes :

    Dear Shirley,
    Please accept our sincere condolence on the passing of Ed.
    We always found him to be very ordinary, in spite of his lofty position at University Prof.
    It was certainly our privilege to have known him (and you, of course). We have fond memories of both of you in our early married lives and before that even.
    We wish you God’s nearness in this difficult time; may He comfort you and your boys.
    All is well with us and our family.
    Sincerely,
    Dot & Matt Kwantes

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  18. To the family of Dr. Piers,

    I was very saddened to read of the passing of Dr. Piers in the Vancouver Sun newspaper. Dr. Piers was the instructor of my second year organic chemistry course at UBC in 1974-75. Like most of the other students who took second year organic chemistry, I took the course because I had to, not because I wanted to. It was a prerequisite for further studies in the life sciences. It was widely rumoured to be a very difficult course and a major stumbling block for many students. I was not looking forward to it. Yet I found the course very interesting and had little difficulty with it, and this I now believe was solely because of Dr. Piers. He made the material easy to understand and his personal character and wit made the classes enjoyable. When I reflect back on my education, both in high school and university, I can say that only a small handful of my teachers stand out for their excellence as teachers. Dr. Piers was one of them.

    After I finished Dr. Piers’ course I recall only seeing him a couple of more times in passing on campus over the next few years. Yet when I read the paper yesterday I recognized his photo immediately. I will remember him.

    Bruce

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  19. To the family of Dr. Piers,

    I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Piers as we have certainly lost a true “scholar and a gentleman”!. He was an excellent teacher and mentor and I consider myself fortunate to have taken his class. I will always look back fondly on my memories of Dr. Piers.

    Paul

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  20. Alfred Leung :

    Please accept my most sincere condolences on the loss of Prof. Piers – he was an excellent scientist and teacher who inspired many of us young chemists.

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  21. Harro and Wilma Van Brummelen :

    Shirley,

    Having been away teaching in Korea, we did not hear about Ed’s passing away until yesterday. We remember Ed for his commitment, his insight, his love for education. I had many memorable meetings with him at UBC, and I will always remember him fondly as we worked together on the Christian Education Advisory Committee.

    We wish you blessings and strength as you enter this new phase of your life.

    Grace and peace,

    Harrro and Wilma

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  22. Jagadish Boppisetti :

    Dr. Piers and my relationship was limited to email contacts about my research proposal during the year 2002. He was very responsive and a great advisor. His loss will always be felt in my heart. My deepest sympathies to his family.

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