Yannis was born in Kerkini, a small lakeside village in Central Macedonia, Greece. Soon afterwards, his parents moved to Heraklion, Crete, where he grew up.  He graduated from the University of Athens with Honors in Physics and Mathematics and worked for NATO as an oceanographer in Italy.  Yannis was a brilliant scientist and a true deep thinker.  Throughout his career he was always probing ahead of his time, exploring the applications of new concepts and theories long before his peers.  His knowledge of science and mathematics spanned three millennia, and because of that he was able to bridge history and philosophy with the latest discoveries in math and science.  His passion was to find form and pattern and meaning out of data that was otherwise unintelligible.

In the 1970s, Yannis emigrated to Victoria, BC, Canada, to work at The Institute of Ocean Sciences in Patricia Bay. During this time, he married Brigitte Rathje and they had two children, Nigel and Elena who were at his side, in the hospital and at home, during his final days. In addition to having close family members, Yannis was blessed with multiple friends throughout his life in Victoria. Eddy Carmack, Carl Whiteside, John Bell, and Peter Lauren, to name a few. He will be dearly missed by his companion of 20 years, Raquel Simper, who worked tirelessly to support him throughout the duration of his illness, taking him to doctor appointments, hospital visits and caring for him at home.  Those who knew Yannis could not be unaware of his pure joy, often punctuated by laughter, when, through open discussion or private contemplation, original discovery was made.  Truely, Yannis Papadakis expanded the definition of science.

Yannis is survived by his two children, Nigel and Elena; his two grandsons, Moris and Hugo; and his sister Mairi who lives in Heraklion, Greece.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens



  • Catherine McLaren

    My dear Elena,

    I am so sorry to hear about your father’s passing. The first image I had was of my father being so impressed when he saw you kiss your dad goodbye when he was dropping you off. He was obviously very proud of you and seemed like a good family man as well as an intellectual. You will have many happy memories to keep him alive in your thoughts. My heart goes out to you and your family at this difficult time.

    Cathy Lebbetter McLaren

  • Joan Schaper


    I remember your father from your wedding so clearly. How proud he was of you! He radiated joy that day. I imagine this must be terribly difficult. Thinking of you.


  • Judy Bidgood

    Elena, my deepest condolences on the passing of your father. He sounds like a fascinating man who had much to offer in his field. I’m sure he will be greatly missed. So tough to lose a parent. ❤️ My sympathy to the rest of your family as well.

  • Mary FitzZaland

    Dear Elena and Nigel, I remember when you were only three and four years, how your Dad would be part of your preschool. He spoke of the love he had for you.
    He was so proud of his beautiful children. May you find comfort and peace. Thinking of you during this time of grieving, sending you love…Mary FitzZaland


    Dear Elena, receive my condolences, I was not lucky enough to meet him, but enough about knowing you, I imagine what a fabulous human being your dad has been, from like son to son, a big hug rest in peace

  • Lauren MacLauclan

    Dear Nigel and Elena,
    Please accept my condolences at the passing of your Dad.

    I always found Yanni to be friendly, fun and willing to have a conversation about almost anything!

    And his service was just lovely.

    My best to you both,

    Lauren MacLauclan

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