May 19, 1946 – October 22, 2021
“I believe that we humans are beings created for ethical action, beings meant to step into the stream of human life and create causes, create effects, to be, to know, to love, and to do right in the human world.”
The above quote, from a letter to the editor Michael Jessen wrote just a few weeks ago, perfectly encapsulates the way he lived his life. The environment was Michael’s life-long passion and all who knew him remember the energy and vigour with which he spoke on this and other topics close to his heart.
Born in Denmark, Michael came to Canada with his father at the age of two. He settled in Vancouver and graduated from the UBC in 1970 with a BA in history and political science. Originally a journalist, Michael ultimately wrote more than 900 newspaper and online columns about sustainable lifestyles, climate change, and waste reduction.
Shortly after moving to Nelson in 1970, Michael served for two years as one of the youngest councillors ever elected. A proud Green Party member since 1993, Michael served on the Provincial Council from 2008 to 2013. He was the RDCK recycling coordinator for 10 years and served as the Nelson volunteer director of the BC Lung Association from 2009 on. In everything he did, he strived to leave the world a better place than when he entered it.
Michael also owned and operated one of the first vegetarian restaurants in Nelson in the 1980s, Preservation House (later Roxanne’s). In that small, welcoming space, he met many lifelong friends, including his future wife, Carol. His proudest accomplishment was his daughter, Caitlin. He loved to tell the story of her birth and how he carried her around the halls of the Nelson hospital, proudly proclaiming “this is my daughter!” to everyone he met.
Michael died on October 22, three days after suffering a massive stroke. It happened as he was walking in his beloved West Kootenay woodlands with his beloved wife.
In one of his final public letters, mentioned above, Michael also wrote, “We are neighbours and we are supposed to love one another.” As we remember him, he would want us to remember that as well.
Michael is survived by his wife, Carol, daughter Caitlin, half-sister Vibeke and her husband, Mogens, in Denmark, and step-sister, Vita.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made at the Environment Fund of the Osprey Community Foundation at https://Ospreycommunityfoundation.ca/funds/michaeljessen or by phoning 250-352-3643.
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