We are sad to announce the passing of Roger Cristofoli on April 12, 2020. After a lengthy illness he finally succumbed to kidney failure and died peacefully at home in Castlegar with his wife and daughter in attendance.
Roger was born in Trail hospital on September 17, 1948. At the age of 2 he moved with his family to Castlegar where he grew up and attended Stanley Humphrey’s Secondary School, graduating in 1966.
He enjoyed many occupations in his life time. From the ages 6-12 he was a delivery boy for the Castlegar and Nelson newspapers in North Castlegar, including to the house where he eventually died. He became a Journeyman Carpenter and, following the footseteps of his father, did his apprenticeship at Cominco in Trail. While being Security Guard and First Aid Attendant at Selkirk College, he was president of the PPWC and respresented many workers in their struggles for employment rights. To quote Tom Wayman, a long-long friend, “Roger was a great soul: absolutely true to his principles, while never losing sight of both life’s practicalities and the need for humor to give us perspective and the inspiration we need to keep going. In those wonderful qualities of his, he was an inspiration himself: original, forthright, perceptive, and a top-of-the-line shit disturber.”
Building on his carpentry skills, he attended the Fine Woodworking School in Nelson where he created many beautiful pieces of furniture. At the age of 40 he returned to academia, finished his Grade 12 requirements, and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Education at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. On return to Castlegar in 1994, his first teaching job was ironically at SHSS.
Since jobs for teachers or carpenters in the West Kootenays were scarce, in 1999 Roger and his wife left Canada to teach English overseas. For the next 10 years they lived and worked in Korea, Thailand, Oman and China. Roger was a popular teacher with all of his students, using humour and music as a method of instruction, and always showed a deep respect for both students and colleagues.
In the course of his life he also worked as a Real Estate Salesperson, Resident Manager of a high rise complex in Edmonton, a musician, and a pulp mill worker in Prince Rupert.
Roger was predeceased by his father Giacomo, mother Florence, brother Brian, and sister Yvonne (Magee). He is lovingly remembered by his wife Judy Smith, daughter Erin Cristofoli (Sal Couling), siblings Caren Brookes (Joe) and Richard (Arlene). He will also be remembered fondly by his 2 grandchildren (Iyra and Asha), previous wife Kathy Loxam, stepdaughter Jessie Smith and step-grandchild Akie Leesmith, 6 nephews and nieces (Kathy Brookes (John), Lori Gerrard (Phil), Glenn Magee (Lori), Tara Cristofoli, Tim Cristofoli (Christina), and Marty (Anna) Cristofoli. Many friends have shared significant life experiences with him, including Karl Koerber, Rob MacArthur, Terry Kaufman, Bo Melnick, Craig and Gayle Barnsley and more.
Thank you to his physician, Dr. Lee MacKay and to the Palliative Home Care nurses for their sensitive and generous support throughout his illness.
A memorial will be held after the ban against group gatherings has been lifted.
Roger was a staunch supporter of those less fortunate in life. A donation to the Castlegar Food Bank on his behalf would be greatly appreciated.
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