April 27, 2019
Gordon ‘Brian’ Ritchie of Whitehorse, Yukon passed peacefully the morning of April 27, 2019 at the Whitehorse General Hospital after a brief battle with an aggressive cancer he had only learned of a few months earlier.
Brian was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the eldest of eight children, to loving parents Gordon and Joy Ritchie (deceased). As a young man he studied at the University of Manitoba and the University of Waterloo in Kitchener, Ontario earning diplomas in architectural technology and construction project management. In 1977 Brian migrated to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with his then wife Linda (deceased) and their three children where he spent 14 years developing a beautiful country home before continuing his northwest boreal migration moving with his family to the Yukon in 1991.
During his working career Brian supported and led the planning and construction of numerous community housing and subdivision developments, along with a series of cultural and educational institutions across Northern Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan, Yukon, and the West Coast of Vancouver Island. While he would wistfully remark about the challenges of such processes from time to time, it gave him immense pleasure and a sense of pride to help others find a place to raise their families and grow together as communities.
Brian was a rather private person in his “off-time”, enjoying being outdoors gardening and patiently realizing landscape horticultural visions that sometimes took years for others to see take shape. Brian was a true sports fan dedicated to cheering his beloved Leafs and Vikings in their patient battles for deserved places in hockey and football history, respectively. Soccer was also a private passion for Brian, which took him to Mexico in the late 1970s as part of coaching squads for Canadian youth soccer teams competing internationally. As part of an excellent team assembled to plan and manage logistics for the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Brian oversaw all transportation elements of the first national winter Games hosted North of 60.
Brian is mourned by his cherished and loving partner of more than 20 years Vernna Johanson. He is survived and mourned by his daughter Saxon (children Brody and Jaedyn Smith), son Travis (children Fynn and Kieran) and son Kristjan.
Loving sisters Georgina and Dawn, and brothers Bill, Colin, Cameron, and Andrew all of British Columbia mourn their eldest brother Brian’s passing.
A Celebration of Brian’s Life will be held at #8 – 15th Avenue in Whitehorse on Saturday, June 1, 2019 from 1 pm- 4 pm.
Friends and colleagues of Brian are invited to attend this informal gathering to acknowledge
his passing, share a story, and partake of some refreshments. Brian’s cremated remains will be interred adjacent this parents at Royal Oak Cemetery in Victoria, BC later this year.
Flowers respectfully declined by the family. Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Brian are asked to consider charitable giving to the Yukon Cancer Care Fund.
Like most of us, Brian’s journey in life was marked by many challenges, but mostly joys. Brian always felt that one had to have ‘intestinal fortitude’ to summit life’s challenges to achieve the personal triumph, power, and inspiration that awaited the persistent on the other side. Brian was very generous and loving with his family members encouraging and sometimes pushing them up those personal summits he aspired to for himself and others to reach. We will cherish him in our memories always. Farewell Brian!
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