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SPICKETT, Ronald John (Gyo-zo)

April 11, 1926 – Regina, Saskatchewan
April 28, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Ronald John (Gyo-zo) Spickett of Calgary passed away on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the age of 92 years.

Gyo-zo lived a rich and unique life. His experiences were vast and any attempt to summarize will be incomplete. Gyo-zo was a child of the depression, a crewman on the HMCS New Waterford during WWII, a gifted artist, a family man, a mentor and Buddhist lay-priest.

Gyo-zo would use the expression “grubbing at the roots” when describing his efforts to start a family in the 1950’s. His work ethic and imagination gained him success in the three decades following. Until the early 1980’s Gyo-zo taught drawing, worked on commissions or retreated to his studio where he produced a remarkable body of work. During his tenures at the Alberta College of Art and University of Calgary, Gyo-zo helped to inspire many young artists. Gyo-zo’s phrase “respect the space” may resonate with a few.

Gyo-zo’s artistic talents were not limited to visual arts. He has left us with wonderful writings, the odd piece of furniture, homemade bells and he spent some of the 1990’s at a keyboard creating music. Gyo-zo returned to drawing and especially collage in the early 2000’s until failing eyesight put an end to those efforts.

Gyo-zo’s immersion into Zen Buddhism may ultimately define him. The dharma name Gyo-zo means “everything done is with the practice”. He lived true to his name and for more than sixty years dedicated himself to Zen meditation. Gyo-zo was loving, understanding, always at peace and he provided an opportunity for others to touch a true Buddha heart.

While living a quiet life, Gyo-zo attracted people who were themselves open-hearted. Gyo-zo’s dharma daughters: Hansha, Okori, Sora, Tori and Kaji are deserving of special thanks from the family. In his later years especially, these five people helped Gyo-zo with their individual unique personalities while all exemplifying a Buddha heart of their own.

Gyo-zo is survived by his three sons and one daughter-in-law, Ron, Rick and Rae and Leeanne; his two grandsons, Rory and Ryan (Christine); and a great-grandson Ryker. He was predeceased by his wife Anna Barbara in 2003.
Our father and mentor will remain with all of us as a warm source of peace and guidance.

In Gassho

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In living memory of Gyo-zo Spickett, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road S.E., Calgary, AB, T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Ron, Rick , Rae and families,
    John and I were so sorry to hear about the passing of Gyo-Zo. He was an inspiration to both of us as students of his at the Alberta College of Art from 1960-65. Please accept our condolences and know that we will always remember him.
    Joice and John Hall, West Kelowna,BC

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  2. So sorry to hear about Uncle Ron from my mom (Lynda), It was such a long time ago since I saw him. 🙁 My deepest sympathy to the family.

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  3. Thayre Angliss

    Thoughts are with you all. The passing of a giant of the visual arts community, in so many ways. He leaves a powerful legacy of art and ideas, that inspired me as a beginning artist. So great to have witnessed the impact of his retrospective at the Triangle Gallery. The school children who visited with their classes were mesmerized by his work. I always visit his painting in the Buddhist gallery at the Glenbow. Such a beautiful tribute that you have written for him. And I will remember him. … Thayre Angliss

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  4. So so sorry to hear of this. Sincere condolences to you all.

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  5. douglas maclean

    To the Family and all. Gyo – Zo, or Ron as we knew him at Canadian Art Gallery, was an incredibly inventive and original artist, throughout all his years. My wish for his legacy is that his art works are better understood for the value they represent in Canadian Art history. There was no one like him. To all of you I wish you peace in the future.

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  6. Heidi & Colette Hubner (Wallace Galleries)

    Our deepest condolences to the Spickett family and friends of Gyo-Zo (Ron). We new Ron and his work through the year and have always been long admirers of his work. My his spirit live on through his art and his contributions to the arts. My you relish in his memory.

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  7. Your father was the most influential adult I met when I was young .To this day I often think of him and remember his kindness and humanity.

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  8. Just found out that Ron died last year. I am so glad we were able to visit in the last few years. He was always so kind and accepting of our whole family– we loved him. Such a gentle soul. We will miss having him in our lives.
    Wendy and Leslie Dawson

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  9. I found out yesterday of Ron’s passing this past year. I was one of Ron’s students in the late 70’s and I just want to pay my respects to him as a phenomenal professor and mentor and a kind and nurturing person when .

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