Dr. John Harry Gilbert Smith

Dr. John “Harry” Gilbert May 28, 1925 – June 3, 2002 passed away at home. Harry is survived by his loving wife Helen of nearly 49 years, his exceptional and loyal brothers Bob (Marj), Ted (Dot), and Carman (Barb), two sons, Craig (Linda) and Alan (Laura) and his adoring five grandchildren; Melissa, Eric, Mark, Danielle and Madeline as well as his many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his beloved daughter, Heather.

Harry’s parents, Gilbert and Carmen, were B.C. pioneers and Harry grew up in the pioneer life-style of Chinook Cove and Blue River and later lived in Kamloops. He lived in a log cabin, was schooled in a one room schoolhouse and went on to a distinguished academic career obtaining post graduate degrees in forestry from the University of British Columbia and Yale University. Harry served in the RCAF during World War II as a navigator/bombardier.

Harry was a professor in forestry at UBC, where he worked for over 40 years. There he initiated many courses and studies in the department of forest resource management. He was a past president of the Canadian Institute of Forestry and received the Distinguished Forester Award from the Association of B.C. Professional Foresters. Harry generated research information at an incredible rate and his more than 250 publications are a credit to his perseverance and hard work. Harry’s non-stop work ethic reflected his pioneer determination. Harry loved the outdoors from his early days of ski racing and ski mountaineering to his later passion for fishing and high-yield gardening. Harry was a president of the Varsity Outdoor Club and he and Helen were active members in the club. His commitment to his family, career and love of life was exceptional and admired by all who knew him. His legacy is in the love he shared “in the people he trained and the wisdom he dispersed.” We will miss him more than he could ever have imagined.

A funeral gathering of family, friends and colleagues celebrated his life on Saturday, June 8, at 3 p.m. at Knox United Church, 5600 Balaclava St., Vancouver, B.C., and a reception followed at the Arbutus Club.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Harry to the “Jubilee Lecture Series,” Faculty of Forestry UBC, 2045 – 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4.

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