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ZARINS, Harry Joseph
January 2, 1951 - December 26, 2016
A man of integrity, loyalty, and generosity, Harry was the best father, husband, son, brother, and friend you could have. He died in Ottawa with complications from Lymphoma with his family by his side. He was married to Jane Kelly and had two wonderful children, Nicholas (Montreal) and Alexa (Antigonish, N.S.), a brother, Peter (Maryse) and several nieces and nephews. Born in Montreal to immigrant parents Elisabeth Wurdinger (Germany) and Nikoljas Zarins (Latvia), he was a proud Canadian. He attended Darcy McGee High School, then McGill University. He worked enthusiastically in the field of athletics at McGill University, University of Victoria, and Concordia as Director of Athletics. He later moved to Ottawa and worked with Water Polo and Soccer associations. He became the Executive Director of Brain Injury Canada and with passion he brought the association from a small grass roots organization to national conference status. An avid Football fan, he became a certified referee in which he enjoyed the camaraderie of the team and was involved in both the amateur level and the CFL. In his last month he discovered that he loved painting through the encouragement of May Court Hospice. He was optimistic and determined to the end. "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Friends are invited to Beechwood, Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Services (280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa), for visitation on Friday, December 30, 2016 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 11 a.m. in Beechwood's Sacred Space. In Harry's memory please consider a donation to May Court Hospice Ottawa or Brain Injury Canada.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Monteal Gazette from Dec. 29 to Dec. 30, 2016.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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40 entries
May 15, 2017
I was so sorry to read of Harry's passing, and send much sympathy to his wife and children. I also have a brain injury, so I know what it's like to live with this. I don't give up, and I see he didn't either. He is truly an inspiration!
Susan Ryall
February 25, 2017
It is with deep sadness that I have just learned of Harry's passing. I knew Harry professionally, particularly in his role as Executive Director of Water Polo Canada. At this time I was the Senior Program Advisor at Sport Canada. I will always remember your smile, eternal optimism and kindness to others.
My condolences to all of his family members.
Annette Wildgoose
February 12, 2017
So sad to learn of Harry's death. He was a gentle giant and I will miss him. I just found out today, I am so sorry.
Denise Unhola
February 2, 2017
Greetings. My wife and I worked with Harry promoting Brain Injury Canadas work but failed to see this notice until recently. He was an amazing man fueled with passion and integrity. Everyone he touched and assisted became empowered by his advocacy. We will miss Harry's direction. Peace my friend. You are missed.
norman willet
January 18, 2017
Dear Zarins Family,

I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Harry via the Brain Injury Canada newsletter.

I first met Harry five year ago when volunteering for the BIAC. We continued our correspondance given that my medical school class chose BIAC as our class charity for which all fundraising activities went towards his organization.

I can say that Harry was one of the most humble and selfless people that I have ever known. He dedicated his life to others, and always put all others needs above his own. He made significant strides in the world of brain injury education and prevention. He was truly a remarkable person and will be missed by many!

Please accept my most heartfelt condolences.
Erika Schmitz
January 9, 2017
Dear Zarins Family,
I met Harry at McGill Homecoming two years ago and we corresponded about various fundraising ideas to help the Faculty. It was always a pleasure to receive his emails or phone calls and he was always enthusiastic about all things McGill. Mt deepest sympathies to you all.
Melissa Margles
Development Officer, Faculty of Education
Melissa Margles
January 5, 2017
It was a pleasure and honour working with Harry. He inspired dedication and excellence in all those around him. He is dearly missed.
Sonia Hanea
January 5, 2017
Sad news indeed. Heartfelt condolences to his family. Harry was a man who could always find a solution. He did great things for our Canadian image and will be missed. RIP Harry...Fly Free
Deborah Dee
January 5, 2017
Very very sad to learn of Harry's death.
First Class fellow, respectful, considerate, enthusiastic, completely competent.
Is missed, will be missed.
Deepest condolences.
Ron Perowne
January 4, 2017
Harry was the most positive individual I have ever met, I worked with him at Brain Injury Canada for many years and it was this positive attitude that I appreciated the most. He will be greatly missed.
Barb Butler
January 4, 2017
Condolences to Harry's family and the volunteers of Brain Injury Canada. He was a remarkable person providing thoughtful leadership as well to Neurological Health Charities Canada. We will all miss him.
Deanna Groetzinger
January 3, 2017
My deepest sympathies. Over the past several years, Harry has been an inspiration to me and those I work with. Selfless. Dedicated. Encouraging. He is missed.
Arden McGregor
January 3, 2017
I am deeply saddened. I met Harry several times, last time in the fall of 2015, but was involved in email correspondence with him in early 2016. I did not know he was sick at the time, he never mentioned this, and continued to be very welcoming and supporting. He rests in peace now, but his ideas and vision of Brain Injury Canada as an organization and a community will remain in our thoughts for many-many years to come.

My heart joins his family and friends in this time of sorrow.
Tatyana Mollayeva
January 2, 2017
Harry was the first (and most over-qualified) employee of BIAC, now Brain Injury Canada. With his hire (when I was on the Board, and on the Fundraising Committee), we acquired legitimacy of a high regard. That was because he was out face, and he showed professionalism, empathy and intelligence.
I had no idea of his illness until recently. He gave his life to the betterment of others lives and we should remember the memory of his joyous and infectious goodwill appropriately.
Madeleine Welton
January 2, 2017
I, like so many others, am saddened to hear of Harry's passing and extend my condolences to his family.

Harry helped to raise the awareness of the effects of brain injury and in so doing not only helped those who have had brain injuries and their families, but, also helped to prevent many people from sustaining brain injury. He has left a great association of dedicated people who will continue his work for years to come. He will be sorely missed.

Michael D. Cusimano, Toronto, ON
January 2, 2017
My deepest condolences to you, Jane, and your family. I learned much from Harry while I was on the Brain Injury Canada Board, not the least of which was his way of getting results by way of gentle questioning.
Jane Warren
January 2, 2017
I just heard of Harry's passing and wished I could have attended the viewing. As first President of BIAC I was on the board that selected Harry as Executive Director. I worked with him and enjoyed his calmness, devotion and outlook on life. He left a trail of good memories for many to remember for a long time.
To family and friends, please accept my sincere condolences.
Yvan Teasdale
January 2, 2017
Dr Joanny Liu #HopeForMillionsWithBrainInjury
My condolences to the family of Harry Zarins. I did not know him well but he, Barb Butler and Brain Injury Canada set me off on a path towards helping people with concussions and post concussion syndrome. I will be forever grateful for his invitation to speak at BIC's events!
Dr. Joanny Liu
January 2, 2017
Dear Jane, Alexa and Nic, I just saw a posting on Facebook from Beth and am so very sad to find out that Harry has passed away. I remember how sweet Harry was when I stayed with you in 1982 in Montreal. I know there are no words; your sadness must be so deep, but I do hope you can take some comfort in all the wonderful memories you, Nic and Alexa have of happy times together as a family. Mom will likely give you a call in the next couple of weeks. We are so very, very, sorry for your loss. Sending you huge hugs, Sue, Marie and Jane.
Susan Robichaud
December 31, 2016
Dear Jane,
I am so very sorry to hear of Harry's passing. My heart and thoughts are with you and your family. With deepest sympathy,
Liz Cooke
December 31, 2016
Dear Jane, my sincere condolences to you and your family.
Sean Murphy
December 30, 2016
Dear Jane, Alexa and Nicholas,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Harry was a wonderful
friend and neighbour on Percival Ave. in Montreal West.
He always shared a kind word with everyone and had a very contagious smile. I shall miss and remember him.
Mary Winrow
December 30, 2016
Dear Jane,
My deepest condolences to you and your family. As you know, your husband was a mentor to me, and he will always have a special place in my heart! His integrity inspired us all, and is matched by few, and we will all strive now to become better people because of Harry.
He will be sadly missed forever!
Julie Jenkins
December 30, 2016
CFL Crew
December 30, 2016
My sympathies to your family.
Perry Koziris
December 30, 2016
EODSA Coaching Conference 2015
Dear Jane, Alexa and Nicholas,

My sincere condolences in this difficult time. Harry was a great colleague to work with and an even better person.
I learned a lot from him in our time working together.

Harry will be missed by the EODSA soccer community and myself personally.

We are all thinking of your family.

Joe Scheier
Joe Scheier
December 30, 2016
Condolences to your family. Remembering happier times at McGill. Diane Pinky Lambert
December 30, 2016
Dear Jane
My thoughts are with you during this difficult and sad time. Mes sincères condoléances.
France Tassé
December 30, 2016
Dear Nick
Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your dad. I am so sorry for your loss. :(
Carol Packwood (ex Boutilier)
December 29, 2016
Harry was a gentle and kind man. I'll miss him. I'm very sorry for your loss, Jane and family.
Harold Rosenberg
December 29, 2016
My dearest Jane. I cannot believe that Harry is gone and we never got to meet him. I have heard so many wonderful things about him over the years. I guess that is our loss. our concern now is with you and your children. No matter how old we are ,losing a parent is sooooooo difficult, losing a spouse however is another unexplained heartache We are so very sorry for your great loss. Our prayers go out to you and Nicholas and Alexa
Rochelle &Peter Morris
December 29, 2016
Jane, I am so sorry for your loss.
Lynn (Gagnon) Koumbias
December 29, 2016
Dear Jane,
Please accept my sincere condolences at this very sad time.
Peggy Lussenburg
Peggy Lussenburg
December 29, 2016
Dear Jane,

We are so sorry to hear about Harry. Such a good man with that wonderful smile. Many memories from your years in MW.
Thinking of you and sending love.

Jane and Hillary
December 29, 2016
To the Zarins family,

My sincerest condolences to all of you.
I met Harry during his time with serving on the Board of the Eastern Ontario Soccer Association. He stood by his integrity.

Tony Zito
Westboro Wolves Soccer Club
December 29, 2016
Jane, Nick and Alexa, so sorry to hear about Harry. He was a truly lovely guy. We are thinking of all of you at this difficult time.
Susan, Barry, Matthew and Elizabeth
December 29, 2016
Harry Zarins serving as holder on the ceremonial kickoff to the 2004 McGill football Homecoming game
Very sad of learn of harry's passing. He was a mentor to me in my long career at McGill University. My condolences to Jane, Nicholas and Alexa. I have written and posted an obit online at the McGill Athletics website:

OBIT: Former McGill athlete, coach, administrator Harry Zarins was 65

OTTAWA -- McGill Athletics & Recreation is sad to announce the passing of Harry Zarins, a former athlete, coach and administrator at McGill University. He was 65.

A native of Montreal, he died in Ottawa on Dec. 26 of complications from lymphoma after a year-long battle with liver cancer. He had served the past eight years as executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Canada and was the chief executive officer of Water Polo Canada from 2005 to 2008.

Zarins was a university sports administrator for 26 years, with stints at McGill (1976 to 1991), Victoria (1991 to 1993) and Concordia, where he served as director of athletics from 1993 to 2002. After leaving the university scene, he was president of Harry Zarins Enterprises, a business management consultancy company, from 2002 to 2008.

"A great loss to us all," said Pat Sheahan, head football coach at Queen's University who worked alongside Zarins during former coaching stints at McGill and Concordia. "A real (Canadian university sports ) visionary who was in many ways ahead of his time. Some great years at McGill and to date the most successful decade in Concordia University athletics history."

Born Harry Joseph Zarins on Jan. 2, 1951 to immigrant parents, he graduated from Thomas D'Arcy McGee high school, then went on to play varsity water polo during his undergraduate years at McGill, before earning an arts degree in geography in 1974. A University Scholar, he was a member of the student senate, elected president of the Education Undergraduate Society and received a Scarlet Key award for leadership.

He also earned a diploma in institutional administration from Concordia in 1978 before returning to his alma mater to complete a master's degree in educational administration in 1979.

Zarins had a lengthy career in administration, serving as sports information director at McGill, along with stints as a swim coach and aquatics instructor. He oversaw the McGill athletic department's intercollegiate programs for 15 years, from 1976 to 1991, including the 1987 season when the Redmen won their only national championship. An avid football fan, he became a certified referee at the amateur level.

"An incredibly nice man who always had a positive, kind word to share," said Chuck Petitpas, who kicked a winning 46-yard field-goal with no time remaining in the 1987 Atlantic Bowl, a 30-29 victory over Saint Mary's, which sent the Redmen to the Vanier Cup game. "He will be missed."

Zarins was part of the Canada delegation at the FISU world university games on four occasions, serving as chef de mission at the respective 1993 and 1999 Games in Buffalo, N.Y., and Propad, Slovakia. He was an assistant chef de mission at the 1989 and 1997 Games in Duisburg, Germany and Sicily, Italy, respectively.

A longtime member of the College Sports Information Directors of America, Zarins was one of the founding members of the Association of Canadian University Sports Information Directors. He also served as honorary chair of the 2002 Montreal Shrine Bowl football game and chaired the McGill Homecoming committee in 2003.

In his final month, Zarins discovered a passion for painting. He is survived by his wife Jane, son Nicholas and daughter Alexa. Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 30 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Beechwood, Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Services in Ottawa with the funeral service on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 11 a.m. (280 Beechwood Ave, Ottawa, Ont. K1M 8E2).

In his memory, please consider a donation to May Court Hospice in Ottawa or Brain Injury Canada. Messages of condolences can be left online here and/or on his Facebook page or through The Gazette obituaries Guestbook.

Earl Zukerman
McGill Sports Information Office
(514) 398-7012
Earl Zukerman
December 29, 2016
My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Harry was a dedicated and principled individual. He was a tremendous asset to the EODSA, and I very much relied on his advice and suggestions during my time as EODSA President. During the past 18 months I watched him address his health challenges with courage and good humour. He will be missed by Ottawa's soccer community.

Peter Studer
(former) EODSA President
Peter Studer
December 29, 2016
Dear Jane,

Simone and I are saddened to read of Harry passing. I have fond memories of many chats together in Montreal West. He was a lovely man, and we are sure you will all miss him.

We are thinking of you

December 29, 2016
Dear Jane and Family,
My thoughts are with you during these sad days. May you find great comfort in the happy times you have all spent together.
Carole Lindsay
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