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McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes
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ZISSOS, Adrian Yeoryios

September 28, 1958 – Chelmsford, England
April 19, 2018 – Canmore, Alberta

On the sunny Thursday morning of April 19, 2018, Adrian Zissos was in his prime as he set off for his usual cross-country ski: a loving partner, father and grandfather, son and brother, and a leader in the orienteering world, a successful entrepreneur, an adventurer and traveler, and a giving community member. He died suddenly on the trail, leaving the people lucky enough to be in his world devastated.

Adrian is survived by his partner of twenty-seven years, Charlotte MacNaughton. Charlotte and Adrian had an incredible partnership, filled with love and adventure. Adrian is lovingly remembered by his mother, Diane Zissos of Calgary. He was incredibly proud of his two daughters and their families, Chandra (Andrew) Kuran and Kali (Darren) Sinden of Calgary. Adrian was an inspiring, active, loving and energetic grandfather to Michael and Emma Kuran and Alex and Aiden Sinden. Adrian was the eldest brother to Andrew Zissos of Irvine, California, Nicholas (Magali Pons) Zissos of France, and Peter (Lisa) Zissos of Calgary. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Alexis, Youri, Krysten and Sydney Zissos; his Uncle Dave Oliver and cousins in England and Charlotte’s mother, Jean MacNaughton of Calgary. He was predeceased by his father, Demetrius Zissos.

Adrian was an uncommon leader, joyful and unbounded. “Audacious” was one of Adrian’s favorite words. He loved putting big ideas into practice and encouraging others to join him along the way. His lifelong quest for knowledge and energy was infectious. He was not one for special occasions: he looked for the magic in the everyday.

One of his everyday passions was orienteering. His involvement with the sport of orienteering took him around the world, and his contribution to the sport leaves an incredible legacy. He started Barebones Orienteering, built on the concept of plus iucunditatis, quam laboris, nil querenti – more enjoyment, less work, no complaining. People participating in a Barebones event could complain if they wanted to — but had to pay a fee! He was an active volunteer and mentor with the International Orienteering Federation, Orienteering Canada, Alberta Orienteering Association, Foothills Wanderers Orienteering Club and, his latest project, SOGO Adventure Running, which aims to get more Calgary kids outside, active and adventurous. He organized numerous international orienteering events in Canada. Above all, he thought orienteering should be fun for everyone, young and old.

Adrian always had time to mentor others, whether in orienteering, computer science or business. He was instrumental in setting up the University of Calgary Computer Science Alumni Association.

New ideas and adventures were the language of his every day. He split his time between Canmore, Whistler and Calgary – and adventurous spots all around the world. Whether heading to Kazakhstan, Ghana or France, x-country skis, bikes or running shoes were part of the luggage. So, too, was his camera. He was an avid amateur photographer. Adrian was also an avid fan of musical theatre. He loved the ability of music, acting and movement to capture the beauty, emotions and aspirations of the human spirit.

Adrian was born September 28th, 1958 in Chelmsford, England, and moved with his family to Calgary, Canada when he was 10. He started university at sixteen and completed two degrees at the University of Calgary in computer science. Adrian held a few jobs as a software developer before launching one of the pioneering companies in Calgary’s tech industry, Merak Projects. With friend and co-founder Don Jeffers, Adrian spearheaded novel user-interfaces that took mainframe computing to the desktop, and the resulting economic evaluation software became the industry standard in the energy sector.

A Celebration of Adrian’s life is planned for July 22, 2018 in Cochrane. Details at In Adrian’s memory, please consider a donation to one of: Orienteering Canada’s Endowment Fund, SOGO Adventure Running, University of Calgary Computer Science Alumni Chapter Undergraduate Scholarship or the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Donation information is available at

In living memory of Adrian Zissos, 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. An amazing man. My deepest condolences

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  2. My condolences to everyone in Adrian’s life. He was a wonderful person who made so many lives so much nicer.

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  3. I was fortunate to have known Adrian and have no doubt my life is better because of knowing him. I still cannot believe how lucky I was many moons ago when he and Charlotte took me in as their “roommate”…it’s been one of the best experiences of my life. I felt so safe and welcome in their home. I also was fortunate to enjoy skiing, cycling and even a hike in whistler with them. You know you get along as roommates when you drive to another town to visit them :). My heart is full of warm memories and I will work to take his passion for the outdoors forward in my pursuits. I love you both very much Charlotte.

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  4. Patricia Graupner

    Our sincere sympathy. We will support you, Charlotte, in any way you need. Sincerely, David and Patricia Graupner

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  5. K Peturson-Laprise

    Sending condolences from the Okanagan. It was a long time ago when I knew Charlotte and Adrian in Calgary but I knew they had a special relationship. It’s so hard for those left behind when someone leaves us; people like Adrian make it easier by living such beautiful lives with great legacies.
    I shall raise a glass in Adrian’s honour on July 22 and hope that his loved ones find comfort in the day.

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  6. Dear Charlotte and family, my heart goes out to you. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to know Adrian. He was an amazing person! Ursula Goeres

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