Mike Lesnik

November 6, 1946 – September 14, 2021
Michael, McTour, McMick, Scar, Daddiss
One must look no further than to Mike for a role model, a heroic example, for how to live and love with one’s whole-hearted, all-encompassing humour, attention, and an authentic capacity for “being here now.”
Michael Lesnik was born in Detroit to social activists Rose and Jack who worked hands-on for improved working conditions in the automobile industry and other trades. Their passion for social equity and justice was woven into the fabric of Mike’s daily outlook. Mike was introduced to camping, fishing and hiking; he inherited their love of forests, lakes, and the natural world. As a youngster he learned to play the accordion! Mike graduated with a Chemistry degree from Michigan State University and later after moving to British Columbia, a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Victoria.
Mike had a deep love of family, adventure and nature. He was playful, loved to laugh, had strong convictions, and volunteered throughout his adult life. Mike loved live music, athletics, pitchforking the garden, traveling the world, all season trail-romping, mentoring youth, exploring, and delightedly eating ice cream. Every nature experience to Mike was “all world,” every vista was ‘exotic.’ “McTour” never missed an opportunity to get blissfully lost, laughing epically about the scrapes, the views, the fun of it all, and the overall journey. He bounded out of bed every morning with “I love this life!”
Mike’s circle of friendships was legendarily large. There was no local or distant destination too short or too far, no drive too lengthy, no flight too inconvenient to gather to commune. A gathering at the mailbox, beach or a friend’s table was as important as a trip to the tropics. Mike personified that the most treasured offering is the gift of your time.
As an educator, Mike’s contributions and influences are everlasting. He shaped countless lives with his creativity and innovation in schools, and his talent for bringing out the best in those around him defined him. His ukulele and sports programs were ‘world famous’ in his small towns. Mike’s time as principal and teacher in Arrow Lakes and Kamloops schools were years spent doing what he loved most: cultivating positive life-long learning. Mike led by example. He could be found on the playground at lunch, strolling the halls at class change, leaving well-timed notes of support on colleagues’ desks, or taking teams and groups of students all over the province.
Mike’s wife Marion, sons Dan (Heather), Jack (Kate), daughter Emma (Dan) and grandchildren Sierra, Olivia, Jack and Julius were first in his heart. There were no limits to his devotion to family. To his sisters Susanne (David) and Rebecca (Bruce), nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, sister and brothers-in-law in Canada, U.S, and Australia he was the loyal patriarch. He was always available to help out, give a shoulder, ponder the universe, chirp in the stands; he gave his undivided time and attention effortlessly. Grandpa, Pops, Dad, Mike, we thank you for showing us how to live a deep, simple life with love and laughter.
The Lesniks wish to thank the four hospitals (SLCH, KLH, Cranbrook ICU, Kelowna ICU) and family physician Dr. Van der Berg for their expertise and compassion during Mike’s sudden and unexpected illness and passing during a pandemic. Mike’s family also expresses the deepest of gratitude to the network of friends and family in our neighbourhood, in our town, and beyond who have supported Mike and the Lesniks. The loving kindnesses have been exceptional and we thank you.
Mike’s family honours his seventy five years of brim-full living with profound gratitude for time together in this world. Mike’s colossally large life leaves behind a hole of equal size. “A ‘Lesnik’ is a keeper of the forest, a guardian of family and friendships.” Mike far exceeds expectations of such cultivation. The universe has been gifted the eternal and magnificent magic of Mike’s energy. We invite the members of his global community to send a written story or experience about Mike by email (jacklesnik@gmail.com), snail mail to 507 Derosa Drive, New Denver V0G1S1, or drop off at the Lesnik residence between Oct. 22-29 (where there will be a Principal’s Drop Box).
A Celebration of Life (Shaker of the Year) will be held at a later, safer time.
In lieu of flowers, kindly consider donating to the Slocan Valley Legacy Fund, where Mike was a director (https://www.slocanvalleylegacy.com/donate/), or email Jack Lesnik (jacklesnik@gmail.com) for information regarding an honorary fund being created in Mike’s name to support Athletics and the Arts for students of all ages at New Denver’s Lucerne Elementary Secondary School.


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