George Iain Christison
University of Saskatchewan
September 18, 1940 -
December 11, 2015
His was a life well-lived and admired by family and friends. Iain Christison of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan died as he lived - happy and looking forward to a new year and many more adventures. Everyone who knew Iain remembers a happy man with a ready smile and an insatiable curiosity about science, politics and sports. He was a voracious reader of books, newspapers, weekly news magazines and the internet. He had a sharp mind and wit, a contagious laugh, coupled with generosity and tenderness and oh, could he tell a story. An organized man, Iain could be relied on to have an inventory of all and sundry, including dates when birds returned on their spring migration. In retirement Iain concentrated on activities he enjoyed - reading, bird watching, golfing, travelling and spending time with his family. He became an accomplished and disciplined cook but he really showed his skill in DIY and household repairs.
Iain's family will visit and re-visit the many memories this amazing, funny, smart man left for them to treasure. Iain leaves his wife and soul mate, Nadia; his much-loved children, Ivana, Katina (Kris) Stewart; and beloved granddaughter, Valerie of Saskatoon; sister, Vivien (Ian) Roxburgh and her family of Vancouver; sisters-in-law, Jean, Julie and Helen and brothers-in-law, and their families in Alberta. He valued his Scottish roots and spoke frequently and admiringly of the members of his extended family in Scotland and throughout the world. He treasured his visits with cousin, Roy (Eileen) Broatch at his maternal family home, Thwaite, in Ruthwell, Scotland and with cousin, Christine (Steve) Bryant in Eaglesham, Scotland. He will be remembered fondly by colleagues in the Faculty of Agriculture, and Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and by many student graduates whose lives he positively influenced.
Dr. Christison attended Hillhead High School in Glasgow then Merchiston School in Edinburgh, where he forged lifelong friendships. He then obtained a degree in Agriculture in 1964 from the University of Glasgow. Iain then left Scotland to pursue advanced studies in animal science. He obtained a Master's of Science in 1966 from Purdue University (Lafayette, IN) followed by a Ph.D in Animal Physiology in 1971 from the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO). He was appointed as a temporary sessional lecturer in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan in 1970, became a research associate in 1973 and a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 1975. He was promoted to full professor in the Department in 1983. He was appointed Associate Dean (Academic) in the College of Agriculture in 1995 and 2001. It was a role he enjoyed because he could console, interact and consult with students. Although he loved his work and the people he worked with, he was advised to retire for health reasons which he did in 2002. Iain spent most of his retirement years with Nadia at the Linwood Equine Ranch in Carberry, MB.
Dr. Christison conducted research in environment, housing, behavior and nutrition of animals with special emphasis on the welfare of baby pigs. His academic contributions included 4 book chapters, 159 refereed and other publications and 55 invited presentations outside the University. Although Iain enjoyed scientific research, he cherished his time teaching undergraduate students. In recognition of his effective teaching and popularity, he was voted Professor of the Year in the College of Agriculture in 1999, an award which provided him with immeasurable joy and which he considered the highlight of his career.
Iain stimulated discussion of ideas in the department and across the campus. One of his enduring contributions was the initiation of Conversazione in about 1978. This annual gathering of faculty and senior Animal and Poultry Science students is held in the fall term for conversation, food and refreshments. Iain was able to attend the 2015 Conversazione and explain the origin. He felt that the core of a University is a library, a coffee room for interchange of ideas and an open door for students.
A celebration of Iain's life will occur at a later date in 2016.
Saturday January 30, 2016
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