The family of a father and son who died when a torrent of water was accidentally released from the Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver have shared memories of their loved ones in a brief obituary.
Ryan and Hugh Nickerson were fishing on Oct. 1 when a 3.5-metre surge of water rushed down the Capilano River and swept both men to their deaths. A preliminary report has found human error was the "clearest contributing factor" in the deadly mishap.
The river is a popular fishing spot, and the father and son were part of a group of five anglers who were swept away when the dam malfunctioned, sending a deluge downstream. The others escaped on their own or were rescued.
The family's obituary says Ryan Nickerson, 61, "passed away while doing one of the things he loved most." He had recently celebrated 32 years of marriage with his wife, Barb Rogers. He also leaves behind a daughter, Emily (Jamie).
"Ryan was a loving husband, father, and friend. He will be fondly remembered for his unending patience, genuine kindness, and unconditional generosity (as well as a legendary ability to recycle his own jokes)," reads the obituary.
"His gentle nature, coupled with his open expressions of love and appreciation for others, meant that he was always there to lend a smile and use his energy as a force for good."
Originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., Ryan Nickerson later lived in Calgary, where he met his wife and then eventually settled in North Vancouver.
He worked in the advertising and telecommunications industries for 30 years, and was an "immensely talented" artist and musician.
Son Hugh an 'avid traveller'
The family described his son, Hugh Nickerson, as "an avid traveler who explored all parts of the world" who "fully lived every minute of his 27 years."
"Whether surfing in Southeast Asia, cliff jumping in South America, or skiing the Coast Mountains, he always had a good story to tell and a laugh to share," the obituary says.
"At the same time, he was never fazed by the fear of missing out; he had an amazing ability to enjoy himself and fully appreciate where he was and what he had in life."
The obituary describes Hugh Nickerson as a person who made friends easily and brought people together. He was also an avid lover of the outdoors who played hockey and skied, and worked at Whistler Blackcomb.
Family described Hugh as having "a dry sense of humour, a quick wit and a laugh that drew others to him."
The obituary says there will be a celebration of life for both men in the near future. Donations in their memory can be made to North Shore Rescue.