August 14, 1942 – November 14, 2020
It is with great sadness that we share Gerard Edwards passed away on Saturday, November 14th. Members of the Richmond Chamber will remember Gerard as our Chair from 2014-2015 and as a director from 2011-2017.
Throughout his years of involvement with the Chamber, Gerard’s kindness, generosity and unpretentious brilliance won him many friends. For those who were fortunate enough to know him, remembering Gerard will always bring a smile.
“My Way” by Frank Sinatra was his favourite song, and it epitomizes how Gerry tackled his final challenge – living with ALS. He left us quietly and peacefully, surrounded and comforted by his caring family. Through his final two years of life with significant health issues, he exemplified bravery, dignity, grace and acceptance.
Gerry was born in Liverpool, England, just down the road from where The Beatles tried out their first songs on the local population. His love of their music stemmed from that connection, and he often wondered if he and Lennon or McCartney shared time at the local pub.
He arrived in Canada from his native England in the late 1960s, armed with a bent for engineering and a mountain of optimism. Starting out in the telecommunications field, his work as a systems engineer took him across Canada, and around the world. As a former engineer for Nortel, he became the lead engineer for a project in Turkey, revamping the country’s telecom network. The culture, food and experience in Turkey lived on in him and piqued his life-long interest in travel and international business. From Nortel, he went on to ownership of several technical companies and start-ups.
Management consulting came next – it combined his experience and passion for working to empower and support small and medium sized businesses. His 8 years with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce culminated in his becoming its Chair, a role he thoroughly enjoyed. In October of 2020 he was honoured by the Canadian Association of Management Consultants with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Throughout his consulting career he worked enthusiastically with a wide range of clients, right up until days before his death.
One of his greatest loves was working with young people, and this evolved into him being an award-winning educator. He co-authored educational materials, and was honoured with a faculty emeritus designation from Douglas College. Throughout the years, he taught at Douglas College, Royal Roads University and the University of the Fraser Valley, as well as CMC Canada. He developed lasting relationships, and it is testimony to his impact on students that he still maintained connections with them and offered counsel and support up until he passed away.
Even when the ravages of ALS changed his physical capabilities, his mind remained strong and his steely determination to live positively was amazing. Throughout his illness he still took enormous pleasure in seeing his family and friends, as COVID permitted, and in spending time with them, via Zoom or in person. As he reflected on his journey with ALS, he wrote a book on his experience, which he wants published, to help others.
Gerry is survived by his wife Carla Gail Tibbo, stepson Mark Tibbo-Lenoski, step daughter-in-law Stacey Neves, grandsons Diego and Noel, sister Margaret Lynch (Peter), brother William Edwards (Fiona), first wife Nicole Edwards, and many nieces and nephews. He loved and was particularly close to his “adopted” family, Jorge (Coco) Flores, Miriam Ortiz, Valeria and Isaac, as well as Aaron Kopp. And his faithful 4-legged companion Simon…
Gerry was defined by integrity, had a keen interest in the welfare of others, and always showed his positive “can-do” attitude. There was nothing he didn’t know how to fix, no manual he left unread, and few tasks he wasn’t up to attempting. He was devotedly interested in all of our lives and he will be missed immensely.
No flowers please. Memorial contributions may be made in Gerry’s name to the ALS Society of BC (https://www.alsbc.ca/donate/ ), or friends can just enjoy a glass of robust shiraz and reminisce about a great life, well lived.
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