Karel KLINKA
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KLINKA, Karel, Ing., PhD, RFP
Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Karel on September 15, 2015. Karel will be greatly missed by his beloved wife of 53 years, Irene; his two children, Karel Thomas and Maria; son-in-law, Wilfred; three granddaughters, Polina, Maria, and Daria; sister, Barbara (Prague, Czech Republic); brother, Jan (Victoria, BC); and extended family. Dr. Klinka was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, June 18, 1937 and went on to study forestry at Charles University, Prague, where he graduated with the earned degree of For. Ing, Faculty of Forestry in 1960. He married the love of his life in 1962 and immigrated to Canada in 1969. He continued his studies and earned his Ph.D. at the Faculty of Forestry, UBC in 1976 under the mentorship of renowned botanist Vladimir Josef Krajina. Karel had a distinguished career holding various positions with the BC Ministry of Forests, and then joined the Faculty of Forestry at UBC in 1980, where he taught Silviculture and carried on the research work of Krajina in plant ecology and ecosystem classification until the end of his university career. His knowledge of plants, their distribution and ecology, was encyclopedic, his field trips were hectic, and his ability to recall Latin names was legendary. He was recognized for his contributions by being awarded the 1977 Distinguished Forester Award (Association of BC Professional Foresters), the 1989 BC Science and Engineering Gold Medal Award, and a 1993 UBC Teaching Prize. He finished his career as a Professor Emeritus, Forestry Science Department, UBC. After his retirement, Karel spent much of his time in Pender Harbour, BC, enjoying the solitude, nature, tending his gardens, and travelling the world. He enjoyed sharing this special place with family and friends. The family would like to thank the staff and nurses at St. John Hospice for their care. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Karel's name to the B.C. Cancer Agency. A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at St. Augustine's Catholic Church, 2028 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC.




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Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Sep. 19, 2015.
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40 entries
March 16, 2016
Vzpominka na hluboke pratelstvi
S Karlem odesel velky clovek a vyborny pritel. Zanechal nesmazatelnou stopu, casto na nej myslim a postradam jeho vzdy mirne ironicke vyroky. Nase pratelstvi trvalo pres 60 let, pricemz jsme pres 40 let zili kazdy na jinem kontinentu. Sovetska okupace Ceskoslovenska nas donutila opustit domov a hledat svobodu ve svete: Karla s rodinou zaval osud do Kanady, me s rodinou do Nemecka. Ale i pres velkou vzdalenost jsme se neztratili z oci a cas po case jsme se setkavali ve Vancouvru nebo ve Freiburgu. Karel vsechny pocatecni obtize uspesne zvladl a svoji skromnosti a pili - a s podporou rodiny - se dopracoval vynikajiciho postaveni na universite Vancouvru.
Poznali jsme se v roce 1955 na zacatku studia na Lesnicke fakulte CVUT v Praze a pomalu se vyvijel pratelsky vztah, ktery neznal stinnych stranek. O letnich prazdninach 1957 jsme spolu pracovali v kynsperskych lesich, Karel coby Prazak tehdy poznaval zapadni Cechy - a tezkou rucni praci v lese. Po ukonceni studia v roce 1960 jsme nastoupili na stejne pracoviste, do Lesprojektu (Ustav pro hospodarskou upravu lesa UHUL) v zapadoceskem lazenskem meste Karlovy Vary. Dvouleta vojenska sluzba od podzimu 1960 nas zavedla do ruznych mist republiky, Karla na Slovensko, kde poznal Irenu, svoji budouci manzelku. 1962 jsme se opet setkali ve Varech, kde Karel se zacal zabyvat stanovistnim pruzkumem. O rok pozdeji se nase cesty opet rozesly, Karel se s rodinou natrvalo usadil ve Varech a ja odesel do Decina, oba nadale u stejneho podniku. 1964 jsme obe rodiny spolu podnikly cestu po Rumunsku a prozili prijemne dny v Mamai u Cerneho more.
Spolecna snaha modernisovat praci v Lesprojektu zavedenim tehdy se rozvijejici moderni vypocetni techniky nas opet sblizila, i kdyz jsme zili a pracovali v ruznych mestech. Zacali jsme vyvijet PC-program na vypocet a vyhotoveni hospodarske knihy, ktera je vysledny elaborat planovaci cinnosti nas a vsech kolegu v Lesprojektu. Podminky byly obtizne, s programovanim nam pomahal mathematik z Nejdku (jmeno jsem zapomnel). Program i data se musely derovat do pasky, testy jsme provadeli v Praze na pocitaci National-Elliott. K priprave jsme se setkavali u Karla ve Varech, kde mi rodina poskytovala i moznost prenocovani. V te dobe jsme take spolu vypracovali methodu zjistovani drevni zasoby lesnich porostu na zaklade fotografickych zkusnych ploch a publikovali ji v nemeckem odbornem casopise Allgemeine Forstzeitschrift.
Prepad vojsk Warsavske smlouvy 21. srpna 1968 nas projekt naraz ukoncil. V predtuse neblaheho vyvoje pristich let jsme bezprostredne s Karlem v Chebu zkoumali moznosti ilegalni emigrace do zahranici, ale tehdy to nebylo mozne. Obema rodinam se ale podarilo opustit Cechy pozdeji, me rodine v listopadu 1968, Karlovi s rodinou na jare 1969; po kratsim pobytu v Nemecku emigroval dal do Kanady.
Leta pozdeji jsem mel moznost provest Karla zapadonemeckymi lesy, kdyz s dcerou Marii pobyl nekolik dni ve Freiburgu zacatkem 80-tych let. Byla to doba pocinajicich obav o zdravotni stav evropskych lesu a tak jsme spolu procestovali nasi spolkovou zem majic stale na zreteli poskozene lesni stromy. V roce 1985 nas Karel naopak provadel lesy Britske Kolumbie, spezielne na Vancouver Island. (Nezapomenutelne bylo pohosteni v lesnim ucilisti, kdyz jsme 'museli' sporadat hory zakusku, ktere kratce pred tim odcestovavsi studenti nestacili snist.) Pobyt u Karlovy rodiny, tehdy jeste v Ash Street, byl velice prijemny, s jeho kampingovym autem jsme pak mohli procestovat a videt velkou cast zapadni Kanady a Severozapadu USA.
Politicke prevraty v Evrope a pad zelezne opony nam konecne umoznily zucastnovat se v Cesku pravidelnych rocnich setkani nas obsolventu rocniku 1960 Lesnicke fakulty. Tak jsme se zase pravidelne vidali s Karlem a Irenou. Karel se mezitim stal znamym a uznavanym lesnim odbornikem a jeho cinnost byla hodnocena nekolikrat vysokym uznanim fakulty a kanadskych lesnickych organisaci.
Prijemny cas jsme prozili v roce 2007 spolu s kolegou Jaroslavem Dobrym na Karlove venkovnim sidle v Garden Bay. Nezapomenute jsou nase zazitky pri budovani plotu nad skalnim srazem a zahradniho domku pod heslem 'two by for' - (jen pro zasvecene). Krasne jsou i vzpominky ze spolecne cesty po Vancouver Island a na setkani s rodinou dcery Marie a s jejich tremi rozkosnymi holcickamy ze sibirske Rusi. 2012 jsme opet pristali v Garden Bay, tentokrate spolu s Vladkou. Tyden jsme zpristupnoval lesni pozemek pod Karlovym sidlem a budovali drevene a kamenne schody. Nasledna spolecna cesta lodi podel pobrezi az k ledovcum jizni Aljasky byla - pres neprizen pocasi - take velice zdarena.
Osud bohuzel Karlovy nedopral uskutecnit dalsi plany, ktere jsme spolu meli. Jsem z toho nesmirne smutny. Karel byl mily, vzdy uprimny pritel a velice jsem si ho vazil.
Sbohem Karle, priteli.
Joachim Hradetzky,
Freiburg, Germany
Joachim Hradetzky
January 23, 2016
I'm honoured to have been schooled by Dr Klinka...a true field Forester.
John Brace RPF
October 6, 2015
Vladimira Hradetzky, Freiburg
September 26, 2015
A great man, not only as a professional scientist,but in his relationship to people of all levels. Enjoy your new territory, Karel, with its unlimited biodiversity and beauty.
September 26, 2015
Karl made an immense contribution to UBC and Forestry in BC. Very Grateful
James Gates
September 24, 2015
It was a great privilege and pleasure to be associated with Karel at UBC for many years.

Karel was an outstanding teacher, demanding while supportive and encouraging, and was much beloved by undergraduates and his graduate students alike. He was always in demand as an instructor on field trips, and he made the biogeoclimatic system of ecosystem classification understandable and useable to generations of field foresters and students. He made a major contribution to the improvement of forestry in BC, and around the world.

Karel was a gentle, compassionate man, always humble about his own achievements, and insistent on attributing accolades about his work and achievements to others. Students were indeed fortunate to work with Karel and be known as "a Klinka" student, a status of which they were all proud.

As a student of Dr. Vladimir Krajina, Karel inherited his mentor's vast knowledge of and experience with soils, climates, vegetation and ecosystems. Karel had very large shoes to fill, which he did with great accomplishment. With his untimely passing he is a great loss not only to his family, but equally to forestry and his science of ecosystem ecology.

Karel worked energetically on the ecological reserves program in BC. He did much to promote our knowledge and understanding of biological diversity, and even more so of ecological diversity.

Karel was a giant in the ranks of forest ecologists and he will be greatly missed. Happily he trained many talented graduate students who can continue to carry the torch of ecosystem knowledge that was passed to him by Vladimir Krajina

I greatly regret my failure to attend his memorial for health reasons. I send my best wishes and condolences to his family and friends


Hamish Kimmins
Professor Emeritus of Forest Ecology, UBC Faculty of Forestry
Hamish Kimmins
September 23, 2015
It was with great sadness that I read of Karel's passing. His attention to detail was impressive. Among my many fondest memories was his dry sense of humour. In the field, he always challenged his students, and although his response to an explanation by a student was often "most interesting and well thought out, but totally wrong". After which he would carefully explain his analysis - we all benefitted. Thank you Karel, in particular for the very detailed ecological map (complete with explanations) of the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest.
Peter Sanders
September 23, 2015
Our collective UBC'91 undergrad fear of Professor Klinka pointing us out for rapid-fire questioning in Silvics was quickly overwhelmed by his persistence in engaging every single student in the class: there was no escape! His unassuming range of scientific knowledge, pratical experience and human warmth left us all in awe; and he read the forest like a book. He was one of the great ones at UBC! Sincere condolences to his family.
Christen Audet
September 23, 2015
By far, my best field days were looking for research sites in the sub-boreal forests of northern BC with Karel. What an amazing man to spend time with in the woods. I learned so much. I still cherish those days.
Dave Coates
September 23, 2015
Karel's passion for forestry and forest ecology was contagious. His significant contributions to forest ecology and silviculture in B.C. over the past 40 years stretched from academia to operations. Through his teaching, writing, and mentoring, he influenced the path of many of us throughout our careers. For that I am very grateful.
Allen Banner
September 23, 2015
Karel was the epitome of a gentleman and a scholar. His encyclopedic knowledge and European manners made him highly respected by all, and a wonderful colleague as well

...Bob Kennedy
September 23, 2015
Karel was an exceptional person with a passion about forests. He was a relentless, but kind, teacher and so generous sharing his knowledge. I owe him much.
Jace Standish
September 22, 2015
Karel Klinka was brilliant, generous with his knowledge, and approachable. He was our bridge to Krajina, built on it, and left a valuable legacy. So many years later, I remember him well.
Anita Wolfe
September 22, 2015
I first studied Krajina's work while in high school. Once at UBC, I met Karel Klinka, who quickly became a mentor. A man of passion and integrity, being with Karel in the field for one day was better than weeks of study. Rest in Peace.
Angela Wood class of '79
September 22, 2015
Karel was a splendid and good-humoured colleague, an original thinker, a great teacher, a worthy bearer of the biogeoclimatic torch passed on by VJK. We shared excellent times in the forest and the office.
Jim Pojar
September 22, 2015
One of the few professors that left a lasting impression on myself and many other students. Inspiring and tough; a true professional. Memorable quote "this A horizon is greasy, I could put it in my car" from 3rd year field camp Malcomm Knapp Research Forest. Eli.
Eli Bintner
September 22, 2015
Karel Klinka was one of the instructors I remember with great respect. His knowledge and ability to communicate the importance of that information was a great benefit to those of us fortunate to study under him. His legacy lives on with so many of his students. Thank you, Dr. Klinka.
Gordon Todd
September 22, 2015
Your legacy will live on in the forests of this beautiful province. We owe so much to your vision and dedication to sustainable ecosystem management. Thank you for touching the lives of so many forest professionals.
Michael Pelchat, RPF (Ret)
September 22, 2015
My wife Colleen McKendry and I (both of us UBC Forestry grads; BSF 84) were very saddened today to learn of Dr. Klinka's passing. I was fortunate to have Dr. Klinka as my thesis advisor and will remember him as a patient and helpful teacher, whose passion for forestry lives on in all of his students. RIP Karel.
Ian Miller
September 22, 2015
Through the development of the biogeoclimatic zone system that all foresters in BC use today, Karel's work will live on. I greatly enjoyed the times I got to attend workshops with him. He had a unique way of helping a young forester find his or her own answer.
Gary Gallinger
September 22, 2015
My first meeting with Dr. Klinka was at fall field school as a staff member. Not being a student who graduated in any forestry diploma or degree I was frightened of his expectations. I quickly appreciated him for his whit,knowledge and appreciation of teaching those who wanted to learn from him. I have fond memories of him during those fall field school sessions. Condolences to the family.
Bev Atkins
September 22, 2015
So sorry to learn of the passing of Professor Klinka. Best wishes to his family.
Kathryn Buchanan
September 22, 2015
I am saddened to hear of Dr. Klinka's passing, and send my condolences to his family. As a Forestry undergrad we knew by reputation that we were in the presence of a leader in his field. But he was such a kind and patient teacher, which only goes to show what a great loss this is. Thank you Karel and I am humbled to have been a student.
Susan Foster BSF '89
September 21, 2015
God be with you on your next journey Karel. Well I remember Vlad K. telling me he had this new PhD student who would go on to do great things for Ecology and BC. How right he was!!
Don Munro
September 21, 2015
Dr. Karel Klinka was one of my professors at UBC when I was an undergraduate. He always took his class on trips to the forest and really spent time with his students there. He always challenged his classes - I appreciated that aspect of his teaching style. Karel was one of the many people I met when I was starting out that helped me develop my love for plants and plant identification. Today I work at TRU and with the faculty here I take students to the forest to see the plants, learn about classification, and learn about forest ecology. I will always remember Dr. Klinka whenever I speak to my students.
Peggy-Jo Broad
September 21, 2015
It has been 16 years since I heard his voice for real, but I still hear his voice in my head when I'm reading or writing about the biophysical environment. I was recently on a field tour with both regulatory and industry reps who had never met before and came from several different disciplines throughout BC. When his name came up in conversation during a break, we suddenly all connected over a mutual fondness for his classes at UBC, despite all graduating in different years. He has had a huge influence on our environment for the better, and he will be missed.
Roberta Dight
September 21, 2015
I am sorry to hear about Professor Klinka's passing. His field trips were legendary - not only for their interesting (and often quite entertaining) content, but also for the pace at which he could gallop up the hill, like a mountain goat with a cigarette. We students were all in awe.
September 21, 2015
I will surely miss Karel's knowledge, but will also use the knowledge he shared with us students forever. god bless!
Sally Sellars
September 21, 2015
Dr. Klinka was one of those unique professors that was able to impart his vast knowledge of forest ecosystems and soils to his students in a way that was interesting and understandable. His students always paid attention, not only because they were in fear of being asked a question, for which he expected a sound and thorough answer, but because of his passion and knowledge. He really enjoyed teaching even though he was always busy with many research projects. We are not likely to see another persona like him in forestry for a long time...if ever.
Mauro Calabrese
September 21, 2015
He will be missed, but has left a great legacy in all of us that were fortunate enough to spend time with him in the classroom and in the forest.
Kerry Rouck
September 21, 2015
My sincere condolences to Karel's family. Karel was an inspiration to many young foresters, ecologists and soil scientists - indeed he was a most Distinguished Forester.
Personally, I fondly recall the many days that I spent in the forests of B.C. with Karel.
Terry Lewis
September 21, 2015
Sad to hear about your loss. My sincere condolences.Rest in peace Karel. Your forestry legacy lives on in your students, research and the landscape of British Columbia. May God's light eternal ever shine on you and your family.
Bruce Devitt
September 21, 2015
So sorry to hear of Karel's passing. As a young undergraduate in forestry, I had the great pleasure of spending three days in the field with him digging soil pits on a very steep slope north of Harrison Lake. The image of Karel's head poking above the rim of a particularly deep pit, with a puff of cigarette smoke holding a cloud of black flies at bay, remains etched in my mind 35 years later. Karel was a great person, so knowledgeable in ecology and silvics, and willing to share that knowledge with legions of students. He will be missed by so many.
Paul Bavis
September 21, 2015
I was sad to hear of Karel's passing. My greatest sympathies go to Karel's family. As an undergraduate student of Karel's at UBC I will fondly remember his enthusiasm for BC forest ecological classification and his teaching of it from which I benefited. I will remember Karel fondly as a teacher and mentor.
Cindy Lipp
September 21, 2015
Our sincere sympathies to the family on the passage of a first rate ecologist and a noble soul
Mohan K. & Sara Wali
September 21, 2015
Ani slová nemôu vyjadri smútok, ktorý s Vami cítime v tejto chvíli.
Príjmite úprimnú sústras vo Vaom hlbokom zármutku. Posledné zbohom Ruena, Jarka a Robo s rodinou, Igor a Iveta s rodinou
September 20, 2015
My sincere condolences to Karel's family. Karel was a great mentor to so many of us in the field of forest ecology. His pioneering work in ecosystem classification has had a profound effect on forest management in British Columbia. Karel built on the work of Dr. Vladimir Krajina to make the biogeoclimatic system the practical guide that it is today. I always enjoyed time in the field with Karel, and always learned something from his keen observation skills and insight. BC was enriched by his career. We will miss him dearly.
Bill Beese
September 20, 2015
While taking my PhD in forestry, I had the pleasure of taking the Forest Ecosystem Classification course with Karel. When I mentioned this to my brother - he exclaimed "If Krajina is God, then Klinka is Jesus Christ" - he was truly one of the best profs I ever had. I recall a field trip to the Seymour Demonstration forest, where he out hiked us all, knew more than all of us, and had time to knock back a cigarette or two while waiting for the class to catch up. A brilliant and kind man, I will miss him at Mass at St. Augustine's and will think of him often. God Bless you Karel and your family.
Paul Mitchell-Banks
September 20, 2015
We are very sad to hear about Karel's passing. Karel was my professor and thesis adviser at UBC, 20 years ago, and my husband attended his SIBC training sessions before that. His teachings about forest ecosystems left a profound effect on what we both see and experience when we walk in a forest to this day. We remember Karel as an individual who paid the most meticulous attention to quality, and whose enthusiasm about the intricacies of forest ecosystems inspired and touched many others besides us. He was a first class professor, and we both feel very fortunate to have had opportunities to benefit from his excellent teachings. Our sincerest condolences to his family and friends who will miss this truly amazing individual.
Christine and John McClarnon
September 20, 2015
So sorry to hear of your loss. Karel was a great boss and also a friend. I will always remember him.
George Shishkov
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