Dr. Donald James Noakes

Dr. Donald James Noakes

October 19, 2020
Peacefully and surrounded by family, Donald James Noakes passed away on October 19, 2020 at the age of 65. Don is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Olga, his daughters Megan (Kirklan) and Amy (Paul), as well as four grandchildren: Dexter, William, Emily, and Roxie.
He is also survived by his sisters: Jean (Murray), Linda, and Brenda, and brothers: David (Pat), Bill (Pat), John (Crystal), and Rob (Alicia), as well as many nieces and nephews. He will be sadly missed by his in-laws Karlis (Charmaine) and Ras (Bernie).
Don was predeceased by his parents Minnie and Leonard Noakes, and his grandson Jonathan.
Don started his career with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a research scientist at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC. Over the next 19 years, he served in a variety of positions, including Head of Aquaculture and Director of PBS.
In 2003, Don accepted the position of Dean of Advanced Technology and Mathematics at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. During his 11-year tenure at TRU, he also held the position of Interim Associate Vice President Research and Graduate Studies. In 2014, Don returned to Nanaimo as Dean of Science and Technology and Interim Associate Vice President Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activities at Vancouver Island University, where he served until his retirement in December 2019.
Over the course of Don’s career, he wrote and edited numerous books, technical reports, and research papers, and received many accolades, including the TRU Award for Excellence in Scholarship, University of Waterloo Engineering Alumni Achievement Medal, Government of Canada Science Award to Leaders in Sustainable Development, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. Don was a Fellow of several prestigious organizations including the Linnean Society of London and the American Fisheries Society.
Don’s interests extended beyond research and academia. He was an avid curler, gardener, photographer, and bagpiper. He had a love of roses and rhododendrons and could often be found tending his garden or taking photographs of his family and friends.
He was a proud member of both the Kamloops Pipe Band and the Pacific Gael Pipe Band, and was a supporter of all things Scottish, especially the Kamloops Highland Games and Robbie Burns Nights.
Family was important to Don. He lovingly nicknamed his grandchildren the Big Guy, Little Guy, Lady Ya Ya, and Wee Roxie. He was proud of his daughters and their accomplishments and was always there for them. He never missed an opportunity to make a “dad” joke.
Friends will remember Don’s humour, love of all things sci-fi and tech, and his vast knowledge of trivia. He was a friend who tried to keep in touch and had many life long friendships.
Don was positive throughout his life and met his diagnosis with dignity, strength, and humour. His research background helped him to assess treatments and make thoughtful decisions about his care. He was grateful to his team of doctors for their expertise, skill, and compassion. Thank you to these talented medical professionals. Special thanks to the Palliative Care staff at NRGH. Battle’s O’er.
Don will be remembered by a private family celebration of life. A larger gathering will be held when pandemic restrictions are lifted. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the BC or Canadian Cancer Societies or the charity of your choice.


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