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Anthony Schiller

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Anthony Mark Schiller

September 5, 1949 - May 5, 2016


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Mark Schiller after an eight and a half year battle with cancer. He is survived by his loving wife and soulmate Donna (Aldred), mother Norma, sister Betty (Brown), and brother Steven. He was predeceased by his father Anthony. Mark is already terribly missed by his family and friends but we know that he is finally at peace, safe in the arms of Jesus. Mark was born in Vancouver, and grew up in Burnaby. He received his teaching degree from Simon Fraser University while working for CN, first as a coach cleaner and then as a carman. He later received his Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. Mark put his skills to work serving the students in the Interior of BC for thirty years in many different capacities. A lifelong learner, once retiring from public education, Mark earned his TESL certificate through Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. He taught English language learners there for several terms before his health forced him into permanent retirement. During this time he also volunteered with CancerConnection, supporting others with a cancer diagnosis. Mark loved sports, nature, travel, walking, was an avid reader and never lost his love of trains. He touched many lives and will always be remembered as a positive, kind and gentle soul with a keen sense of humour. A special thanks to all of the wonderful doctors, nurses, technicians and other support staff that we met along Mark’s cancer journey. The family is especially grateful for the loving care he received at Cascade Hospice in Chilliwack, where he spent his last few days. Mark had asked that there be no service of any kind for his remains. However, those wishing to honour Mark’s passing could consider a donation to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, or other charity of your choice.



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Pages: 12

From: Larry & Susan Baillie`

Dear Donna, We were so sorry to hear about Mark’s passing. We know that this has been a very difficult time for you, but remember he is now in a much better place with no pain and no longer suffering. We’re sure he is already teaching all the little children in heaven and that he is waiting patiently for you to join him when it’s your time. Again, we offer our deepest sympathy for your loss.

From: Nina Smith

Oh, Donna, I am so sorry to hear about Mark. I have often thought about him and I have fond memories of his gentle manner. He was a wonderful person.Sincerely, Nina

From: Bill Duncan

My sincere condolences to Mark’s wife and family. Although it has been a long time since I met Mark, he was never forgotten. He and I worked as coach cleaners and then carmen during summers as we pursued our degrees- me at UBC and he at SFU. The foreman would assign tasks each morning by announcing ” Duncan and Schiller partners in crime” and we would share duties for cleaning two I-cars and a River car each day. Ironically, I ended up teaching high school in Kamloops for 42 years and unknown to me apperently Mark after retirement completed the TESL programme at TRU. Sure wish we had bumped into one another again before his passing. He was a very genuine person with a spirit full of good natured mischief. Please know I share a sense of loss.

From: Judy Roy

Dear Donna, I know words are inadequate when you loose your soul mate, but it is all we have to offer to you. Mark was a respected educator who had a positive impact on many students and parents. In his quiet manner he listened and cared. I remember his smile, his gleaming white dress shirts with tie and his Montreal Canadiens jersey! Be kind to yourself at this difficult time, treasure your memories and take comfort knowing others share your loss of a special person. Sincerely, Judy Roy and family

From: Sandra Goold

To Donna and the Schiller family. I was deeply saddened to hear of Mark’s passing. He fought against the disease that took his life with the same courage and quiet determination that marked so much of his career. When reflecting back on our shared time together, which of Mark’s many qualities stands out as most memorable? Whether it was a particular cause he championed or the personal and professional responsibilities to which he made a commitment, Mark’s moral compass never, ever waivered. He saw the best in us, even when we did not. That was Mark. When we stumbled, it was Mark who encouraged us to keep stepping outside our comfort zones and taking risks on behalf of the students for whom he cared so deeply and so passionately. He strove to lead by providing opportunities for everyone within our learning community to find and develop their strengths and to remain focused on the positive throughout each of their learning journeys. Whenever I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Mark, his empathic attentiveness made me feel as though nothing else in the world mattered as much as what I needed to say to him at that particular moment in time. I will miss our dinners together, and the wicked sense of humour Mark faithfully shared to make them so memorable. My life is richer for having had Mark walk through it, and I know with certainty that we will indeed meet again.

From: Kara Evans (Chow)

There are not enough words to describe how sad I am to hear of Mr. Schiller’s passing. He was one in a million and I am so thankful for the dedication to put towards teaching; I wouldn’t the person I am today if it wasn’t for his encouragement and guidance during my time at Ashcroft Secondary School. Because of him, I always “try to be pleasant.”
My deepest condolences to his family, and may Mr. Schiller rest in peace.

From: pamela english

Mark was such a great educator and was always there for the students and parents of his students. May he rest in peace

From: Lisa Baillie

Dear Donna and Norma,
I’m so very saddened by the news of Mark’s passing. I remember meeting Mark when I was a teenager. So many years have passed since then and I’m just now learning what a wonderful person he was. How he did so much for so many. I regret that I didn’t get to know him better. I think we would have had a lot in common. Sending you both love and light during this time. Donna, we’ve never met, but I look very forward to meeting you soon.

From: Ted Renquist

Mark, my dear friend,

Please forgive me for not writing earlier. I was so overtaken by your passing that I had difficulty expressing my feelings. I also needed time to collect my thoughts and memories of our time together and find some meaning to our friendship over these many years.

How do I remember you? What meaning can there be to a relationship of over fifty five years? I have only fleeting memories of our elementary and high school years. Many involve Steven coming to the farm to see the cows and you coming to look for him. You were so much more studious than I and consequently after high school you went to SFU and I went to work and college.

When I finally got to SFU and we reconnected, we grew closer and enjoyed the company of our classmates. There are so many wonderful memories from those years. The semester end road trips; in the summer camping and fishing into the interior, in the winter sometimes a cabin and hockey game at Alta Lake. Remember the day we joined the liberation of the faculty lounge at SFU. I still have a spoon from that event. Remember our study sessions in the library that lasted until it closed, then we retired to the Admiral Hotel for a beer. I fondly remember your red Rambler American getting us to and from campus. My one abiding memory of those years, Mark, was your piercing intellect. You were always able to sort through the menagerie of details to find the central theme of an argument. Your critical thinking skills shone in your essays as you developed a clear and concise argument.

Our trip to Europe exemplified your talents of planning and execution. I later came to realize I was baggage along for the ride and that had it not been for your pre reading, planning and follow through I would not have enjoyed or garnered the knowledge I returned home with. While others walked or took the train we drove through northern Europe, Scandinavia, East Germany Czechoslovakia, Austria and back to Holland. Your planning found the cheapest hotels, the best affordable meals and the best deals for museums. I still flash back to so many experiences and warm feelings during that trip.

After graduation we did not connect very much, and until I pass I will continue to regret this. Marriage, our new professional duties and living in different regions separated us physically, but for me not emotionally. Always, when I had a difficult decision to make I often thought what would Mark do? And of course there were the remembrances triggered by a picture or a turn of phrase. I was so happy when we reconnected in Kamloops. I could see by your welcoming smile you had found the love of your life. Donna completed you as I could read in your tranquility.

The memories come easily to me because they bring so much joy, but, what does it all mean, Mark? Summarizing our friendship over the years there are some important themes I want to share with you. Mark, one of these themes is that I have come to believe you were my big brother. Everyone needs a big brother. We had different personalities, but we shared many interests. You led by example during our years at SFU. Your steadfastness at your studies and your listening skills when there was a problem kept my compass pointed in the right direction.

Mark, you also gave me a moral compass I continue with today. Looking over the years I realize now your life was dedicated to social justice. Mark you were so bright you would have been a financial success in any field, but you chose education, a challenging life, but not financially rewarding as other endeavours. Your decision to work in the southern Interior in some of the remotest school environments is a testament to your belief in social justice, and your love of the country as demonstrated by our fishing trips to innumerable “no fish lakes.” Only your devotion to social justice can explain your devotion to the pupils of Pavilion, our visit to Black Panther Party headquarters in Seattle, your work for political change in BC, completing you ESL credentials to teach foreign students, your lifelong interest in Quebec’s relationship to the rest of Canada.

For all that you were Mark, and having been your friend, my life is richer, more meaningful and fulfilled. I will continue to follow your direction by practicing friendship, mentoring and searching for social justice.

Peace be with you Mark; until we meet again.

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