ObituaryBorn in Toronto on October 25, 1940, the middle child of Michael and Ruth (Petrie) Russell, Ian died at 1:40 am on April 12, 2018 at his home in Christie Gardens. A graduate of UTS and with a Master degree in Engineering from the University of Toronto, he was a brilliant student and an independent thinker, moved and directed by high principles of justice and compassion. His career at Ontario Hydro spanned over two decades. He was its Comptroller General and, when promoted Director of Corporate Planning and Forecasting, he introduced major management innovations in the department, including increasing employees’ autonomy and gender parity. He inspired staff and colleagues around him in various ways. One of these colleagues, after a visit with Ian, reminisced on different aspects of the influence Ian exerted on him. His words echo other peoples’ frequent comments about Ian. Professionally: “There were times […] Ian had to play referee. I don’t think he ever directed me to take a different approach, he just pointed out alternatives.” In health and fitness: “If Ian had not been such an avid runner and avid student of running, I would […] have a totally different body shape”. As a parent: “He was definitely ahead of his time in taking such an active role in parenting. Things like leaving a meeting before it was over to make the daycare pickup time weren’t common at the time, yet somehow Ian was able to manage it all and be respected by his boss, staff and colleagues for being able to do that.” Curious, loyal, and thorough, Ian distinguished himself by his ability to read a situation, capture its essence, and introduce improvements. Socially aware, an engaged citizen, a feminist man before his time, unassuming, gentle and sensitive, Ian was an active member of the local, national and international social justice community. Some of the Boards and Committees he served on were: as Chair of the Board of the Addiction Research Foundation (Present CAMH) from 1993 to 1997; as Co-chair, with Jack Layton, of the White Ribbon Campaign; as Treasurer of COSTI; on the Board of Oxfam Canada; on the Admission Committee of the United Way of Toronto. He is survived by his wife Bruna Nota, son Michael, grandson Rashon, step-children Moira and Martin Nota-Smith, step-grandsons Xavier and Félix Lorrain-Smith, sister Jane, brother Michael (Marlene Turner), niece Emma (great-nephew Kaenoa) and nephew Ben. Bruna and the family are deeply appreciative of the staff at Christie Gardens for their consistently dedicated care. At his request, Ian’s brain will support research on Parkinson’s disease at the Movement Disorder Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. Other organs will be used for donation or research. A memorial will be held at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the Christie Gardens Foundation or other charity.
April 23, 2018
Cobourg Union Cemetery
The Family Are Having A Graveside Service