Ian Buckwold was born in Saskatoon on October 30, 1948 to Alvin and Ruth Buckwold and passed away on July 14, 2013. He was raised with sisters Marney and Patsy, brother Bruce and a close family of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. The Buckwolds regarded anyone with the remotest kinship connection as a near relative, and the family grew through the years under that principle.
Ian exemplified that tradition and was Uncle Ian, not just to his immediate nieces and nephews but also to many others. Ian married Mary Ellen (then Nieman) in 1978 and had three children: Jessica, Alvin and Laura. Ian was Grandpa to Jessica’s children, Marcus and Ruth, and he loved to spoil them, especially with his time. Ian also had two loving sons-in-law, Kacper Jaskowiak and Justin Holmes.
Ian graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with an Arts degree and from the University of British Columbia with a law degree. Ian’s first job as a lawyer was with Legal Aid in northern Saskatchewan. He then moved into private practice in Saskatoon, first with the Goldenberg law firm, then as a partner at Gauley & Company (now McDougall Gauley) and finally with the Concorde Group of Companies, where he worked for more than 20 years.
Ian loved spending time with his family and friends. Nothing made Ian happier than sharing all life had to offer with those he loved. His commitment to family and friends extended to the broader Saskatoon community. Ian served others quietly with no wish for recognition. He simply saw things that needed to be done and did what he could, whether for the community, his family, his friends or the person he met on the street. He genuinely liked and cared about people -a quality that not only motivated his work in the community but earned him an enormous number of friends.
Ian was very proud of his Jewish heritage, and he embodied the Jewish tradition of community service. Ian’s father, Alvin Buckwold, was one of the creators of Camp Easter Seal and his mother, Ruth, was very involved with support for the disabled, especially children. Ian’s summers at Camp Easter Seal as a young man were the first step down a long path of community service. Ian was involved in community work throughout his adult life. He was a long time member of the St. Paul’s Hospital Board and Chair of the Board for several years. Ian was especially active in work related to mental health. He sat on the Mental Health Review Board for many years and, with Mary Ellen, was a leading force in the Future in Mind campaign that helped build the Les and Irene Dube Centre for Mental Health. Ian and Mary Ellen’s commitment to mental health causes was strengthened by their son’s struggle with schizophrenia.
The B’Nai Brith award would be especially meaningful to Ian because it highlights his commitment to building the understanding and resources so desperately needed to support the many people who face the enormous challenges of mental illness. He would have wanted us all to be reminded of the pressing need to carry that work forward. As a community, we know he would want us to continue his work to advocate for mental health, an issue that afflicts so many families.