Husband, brother, uncle, human resources professional, world traveller, foodie. Born Feb. 1, 1946, in Windsor, Ont. Died March 13, 2011, in Kelowna, B.C., of liver cancer, aged 65.
Brian Siegner followed in his father’s footsteps in Canada’s military while still in high school in Ottawa, where he distinguished himself as part of the Governor General’s Foot Guards.
The eldest of six children born to Rosaline and Douglas, Brian became the man of the house at 19 after his father’s sudden death from a heart attack. He acted as a surrogate father to his younger siblings while dealing with the emotional stress of losing his dad and attempting to find a career.
Brian attended St. Clair College, then the University of Windsor, graduating with a BComm. He continued his military career as a reservist until he married Nicky in 1976. Although they had no children of their own, Brian enjoyed spending quality time with his nieces and nephews.
He loved his work in human resources, spending many years with the Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta hospital associations. After being made redundant, he took positions at three successive universities from Ontario to Qatar until his retirement two years ago.
It was in Qatar that Brian was first diagnosed with cancer. He was optimistic but also realistic about his chances of survival. Quality of life meant a lot to him, and his faith in God and belief that he should not stop living helped him enjoy the time he had left.
Brian and Nicky loved to travel and reached many parts of the world as well as exploring much of Canada. He faithfully sent postcards from exotic locations on trips that were, like all things in his life, meticulously planned and executed. He always took time to visit friends and relatives whenever he travelled, while making new friends along the way.
Generous and thoughtful, Brian kept in touch with his family through greetings, advice and standing invitations to visit. He always carried his Canadian restaurant guide, a resource that fed his interest in good food experiences that we all shared.
He was a mentor to his siblings and a role model in his genuine attempts to do the right thing. Brian was always aware of others’ needs and developed a talent for truly listening. During his own fight with cancer, he was his sister’s inspiration as she survived a battle with breast cancer.
In the end, he did not seem to waver in his determination to move toward his fate with dignity and strength. His courage, faith and acceptance made us all proud. He travelled to Ontario for his 65th birthday only weeks before he died.
Brian always conducted himself in a non-judgmental manner and treated people with honour and honesty. He conducted himself as if God were watching him. We miss him and will enjoy the memories.
By Scott Siegner, Brian’s brother.