A Life Well Lived

It is with broken hearts we announce that Nils died on April 7, 2019, surrounded by his family and friends. Nils is survived by his loving wife, Jean and sons, Nicholas (Helen) and Stewart. Nils died as he lived, with dignity, strength, humour and by making new connections with everyone around him until the end.

Nils was born in Denmark on July 26, 1949. His family emigrated to Canada in 1957, living in Montreal then Ottawa. Nils received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa, and then a law degree from Osgoode Hall, Toronto. He moved to Vancouver in 1975, where he met his Scottish lass, Jean. In Vancouver and later Nelson, Nils worked as a Crown Prosecutor before he and Jean moved to London, England where Nils received a Master of Law degree from the London School of Economics. Upon returning to Canada, Nils taught law at Carleton University in Ottawa and then worked again as a Crown Prosecutor and defence lawyer throughout the Ottawa Valley. Their two sons were born in Ottawa.

In 1995, Nils, Jean, Nicholas, and Stewart moved to Oak Bay, where he would live for the rest of his life. In Victoria, Nils continued to practice as a Crown Prosecutor and to teach law part-time at UVic. In 1996, Nils was elected as a councillor to Oak Bay Municipal Council. He served 15 years as a Councillor before becoming the Mayor of Oak Bay in 2011, a position he held with great pride until 2018. Nils also served the broader community by acting as the Chair of the CRD, and as Chair of the Water Board for 12 years, during which time he helped preserve water security for the region.

Nils will be remembered as a “people person” who truly cared about those around him. He was a consummate volunteer as a coach for his children’s scouting and sporting activities, and for community events throughout the region. Nils was also a community leader who dedicated his time to improving the world around him.

A heartfelt thank you to the doctors and nursing staff at the BC Cancer Agency and the Royal Jubilee Hospital for their gentle care, especially Drs. Vergidis, Brown, and Maskey, and to Dr. Paton of the Eye Care Centre, Vancouver.

A Memorial Service for Nils will be held at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre, 2121 Cadboro Bay Road at 2 PM on Thursday, April 11, 2019.

Instead of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Mayors’ Art Legacy Fund. Donations can be sent to Oak Bay Municipal Hall, 2167 Oak Bay Avenue, contact Warren Jones (250-598-3311) or visit www.oakbay.ca for additional details.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • John Thomson
    June 10, 2019

    My sincere condolences to Jean and family.We were very saddened to hear of the loss of Nils.

    I knew of Nils back at Hillcrest high school in Ottawa in the 1960s. He was about four years ahead of me so we weren’t good buddies (four years apart in high school puts you in different worlds!).I do know that even back then he was a very well thought-of guy: good athlete, very good student, well-liked and highly respected. I really got to know Nils when he and Jean and their family moved to Third Avenue in 1991. We lived on the same small block between Percy and Chrysler. We had lots of fun times watching our young families grow up and doing great neighbourly things together. Nils and I and Joey Marshall started the annual Third Avenue Block Party that was an event to behold. It still carries on to this day (but it ain’t what it used to be). We were very sad to see them leave Ottawa but were fortunate to have kept in contact and gotten together over the years. We were happy to see Nils, Jean and family thrive and flourish in beautiful Victoria.

    Nils was a great guy. He had, as someone said, a wicked sense of humour and was blessed with an easy laugh and smile. He was a very honourable, intelligent and kind man with a deeply rooted social conscience. He was a strong and devoted family man. He excelled at his profession and served his community with a tireless sense of duty. His indeed was a life well-lived.

    John Thomson,Susan Sollars and family, Ottawa

  • Ron Saunders
    April 19, 2019

    Dear Jean and family,
    I was so sorry to hear the sad news about Nils – please accept my sincere condolences. We worked together at Carleton many years ago, and I have many fond memories of that time. I had a very nice note from him a couple of years ago when I had invited him to our departmental 50th anniversary celebrations; he had kindly offered to give me the “Mayor’s Grand Tour” if I made it out that way!
    In sympathy,
    Ron Saunders

  • Bibhas Vaze
    April 12, 2019

    I heard of Nils’ passing today. Some years ago Nils was opposing counsel on a very difficult, stressful, pressure-filled case. Throughout the proceedings, Nils was a thorough gentleman and eminently reasonable in his approach to everything. While the case was a difficult one, it was made that much easier because of Nils, and I feel very fortunate to have had his mentorship by example. His contribution to the public good will be missed but his legacy is ongoing.

  • Christine Tausig Ford
    April 12, 2019

    My sincere condolences to Jean and family on the loss of Nils. Nils and Jean were Senior Residents (house parents/residence advisors) at Carleton University during the 1980s. Nils was wise, generous with his time, supportive to students, and a wonderful colleague to our small community of senior residents. I have followed his career since (from a distance) and knew he was continuing to contribute deeply and significantly to his community of Oak Bay. Jean, I am so sorry to hear of his untimely loss. Christine Tausig Ford, Ottawa, Ontario (formerly of Lanark House)

  • Bryan and Patti Scott-Moncrieff
    April 11, 2019

    Bryan and I were very sorry to here of Nils passing. He and Jean were very kind to our son Matt through the GNS years with Nick. We were always impressed with Nils dedication to his family and community . Most sincerely Bryan and Patti Scott Moncrieff

  • Anneke wijkstra
    April 11, 2019

    Nils, was a great fan off our choir, Victoria Soul Gospel Choir. He sang with us a couple songs on stage every Summer at Willow Beach evening concerts nights. He was very proud to be the Mayor at the time.
    He came last year to our annual dance off night with our director Checo T. and danced the night around on Motown music with us. He loved the music and us.
    We will miss him this Summer.
    Rest in Peace, Nils.

    a Choir Member.

  • Sandy Cunningham
    April 11, 2019

    I met Nils in the heady days of practise at 222 Main Street which we all affectionately called the “Zoo”. He was a friend, colleague and mentor and we shared the ups and downs of the practice of criminal law on the run… His sense of humour which buoyed me up when things got really crazy taught me that black humour wasn’t bad and it was always better to see the brighter side of any situation. We kept in touch when he left Vancouver and I often looked to him for guidance when I wanted to do something “outside of the box” as a prosecutor. He was ahead of his time in so many ways and I benefited from his embrace of technology in the courtroom. He was a good man, a great person and a friend I was proud to know. He always thought first of his family and I know he would have been most concerned about leaving you all. I will miss knowing he was only just across the pond. My thoughts are with you, his family and close friends, as you mourn his death. May the many great memories you have of your time with your husband and father sustain you in this dark period and comfort you in the time to come. with my heartfelt condolescence Sandy Cunningham

  • Chandra Fisher
    April 10, 2019

    I worked with Nils on a murder trial a number of years ago. He embodied so many excellent qualities. He was a great teacher: not only did he take the time to train me as a young crown but he would stop and talk to every school group that came into the courtroom. He was often so busy talking to them he would barely get lunch. He was patient with everyone around him. Even in the times the trial became stressful he always kept calm and kept a smile on his face. His laughter was never far away (even when we teased him about all his power point presentations). He was kind. He radiated a fundamental inner peace and joy that can only stem from a tranquil, contented soul.

  • Hilda Hamilton
    April 10, 2019

    Jean – just to let you know that some of your former colleagues from BH&T (Barb, Nancy and I) are thinking of you and remembering Nils fondly. So sad to hear of his early passing and hope you are coping well. Always remember the days at BH&T when you and Nils met and were courting, and then waltzed off into the sunset! Would be so nice to meet up again and catch up.

  • Angus Macknight
    April 10, 2019

    What a great loss to family, friends and the community. Nils was always a bright light that offered a warm welcome to all. His service to the people has been outstanding. Did you know that he and Jean were also Ballroom Dancers? very accomplished at that.
    My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  • Bob Frei
    April 10, 2019

    Nils, what an all-round great guy and gentlemen. Always a good hand shake and friendly smile. Our sincerest condolences to the family.

  • Patricia Suess
    April 9, 2019

    My sincerest condolences to your family. I’m so sorry that he has left you too soon but I know his memory and legacy will live on in your hearts forever.

  • Samiran Lakshman
    April 9, 2019

    Nils made a huge lasting impression on me from the time I first met him. He was always a pleasure to talk to as my first mentor when I started at the Crown Counsel office in 1997. He spent time assisting whenever asked, even though he was in Victoria and I was in Vancouver.

    Over the years, I always enjoyed hearing his insights into the law and politics as both our careers progressed.

    I looked up to him as he was a model citizen; living up to the ideals of serving his community with every ounce of time he had.

    He will be greatly missed by so many people all across the province. He was a great man and his family’s profound loss is one that we all feel.

  • Penelope Harwood & Simon Skey
    April 9, 2019

    During one of Nils’ successful campaigns for mayor in Oak Bay, my husband, Simon Skey, realized that he would be away both for advanced voting and Election Day itself. What to do? Nils provided the answer: Simon had to go to the mayor’s office and sign something which Nils had to co-sign, whereupon he could then submit his vote and it would be counted. Nils didn’t attempt to influence the vote although there was the offer of a drink at the Penny Farthing afterwards! We both also knew Nils from our time at Glenlyon Norfolk School as parents when our kids were students, where he was as engaging as ever. Rest In Peace, Nils. Best wishes and our condolences to the entire family.

  • hans frederiksen
    April 9, 2019

    On behalf of the Danish Social Club of Victoria we send our condolences and prayers to Nils family Aere vaere hans minde.On a personal level it wa apleasure to work with Nils the prosecutor and myself as Deputy sheriff.We shared moments in our birth languae Danish having both come to Canada in 1957’Nils gave a great speech to the Danish Federation conference 2013 Victoria What it means to be Danish and what Hyggelig is all about.I shall miss our bantering back and forth at our Danish Club events.Hans

  • debby lightburn
    April 9, 2019

    I am so very sorry for your loss, and for the community’s loss. I worked with Nils at the Crown Prosecutors office, he was one of the lawyers on my team, and he truly was the nicest man. He was always smiling and always willing to chat. He loved his family dearly and he loved life. He was a passionate, compassionate and caring person and he will be greatly missed.

  • Michelle Coburn
    April 9, 2019

    Nils, was A special person I was fortunate to meet and share moments and ideas with over the last years. He was always generous with his time returning phonecalls and emails quickly,support for a person who enters politics and fills their role as he did with a view of it to be a service for their community seems lacking in many who ask for our vote and support. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to support someone like him ,the “happy warrior”, who truly knew how to listen. His thoughtfulness of the needs we meet locally and how we do it matter and have impact s beyond our geographical locality.Always fun to have a conversation with I will miss those exchanges. Michelle Coburn

  • Ted Daly
    April 9, 2019

    My heartfelt sympathies to Nils wife Jean and his two sons and daughter in law. I had the pleasure of knowing and working with Nils at the CRD for a number of years. The thing I most admired about Nils was you always knew where he stood on issues, he wasn’t afraid to take a position and speak his mind, even in the face of heated opposition. He was always respectful in debate at the CRD table and had such a happy demeanour. In my capacity as Parade Marshall in Sidney, he was so keen to ride his bike in the Canada Day parade. That was Nils! No fancy airs. Nils was a true gentleman who gave so much to Oak Bay and the Capital Region. I am so saddened by his passing.

  • Barbara Cowal
    April 9, 2019

    My condolences to the family and especially to Jean in the loss of a lovely, caring, intelligent man. Fond memories of our times at Carleton U in Ottawa where Nils was my law prof, residence advisor and a very insightful guide. Please accept my sympathies.

  • Dave Hodgson
    April 8, 2019

    As a police officer, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Nils over 25 years ago when he was a Crown Prosecutor in Victoria. Over the years, he was assigned to quite a number of our serious cases and I was in awe of his meticulous planning, preparation, and presentation at trial. His quick wit and constant enthusiasm was a joy to be around. He was one of the very best and will be missed, but his example of selfless public service will live on. I am proud to have been able to call him a friend.

    My sincere condolences to Jean, Nicholas and Stewart.

    Dave Hodgson
    Sidney North Saanich RCMP (retired)

  • Beth Danskin
    April 8, 2019

    Please accept my deepest condolences for your family’s loss. I am saddened to say good-bye to this exceptional Hillcrest Hawk.

  • Joseph Blake
    April 8, 2019

    Nils was a good man and a great leader of his community. He was honorable and kind and knew how to accomplish social progress within a flawed system. He was an inspiration. Sno’uyutth!

  • Bob Publicover
    April 8, 2019

    I attended high school with Nils 50 years ago in Ottawa. Although we weren’t close friends, we were in many classes together and I had a chance to take measure of his many fine qualities.

    Nils was exceptionally intelligent – having learned to speak fluent English without a trace of an accent in only a couple of years. He was a top student. Although Nils was one of the smallest players on our high school’s basketball team, opposing players soon learned that he was a fierce competitor and not be taken for granted in physical confrontations. He had a wicked sense of humour.

    Nils’ family have my deep sympathy on the loss of an exceptional husband and father, who contributed much to the communities in which he lived.

    Bob Publicover, Waterloo Ontario

  • David Simpson
    April 8, 2019

    Nils played for us on some great Hillcrest Hawks basketball teams here in Ottawa in the 60’s.
    When he returned to Ottawa to teach law we had some spirited games of squash in the Carleton Ravens nest.

    The lure of elected office was always there as he was talking and running for office early on.
    He embodied what was best in an elected official which was to serve honourably and practically while upholding fundamental
    principals of fairness and justice.

    Qualities that todays cut and thrust make difficult.Nils was always there and although we had lost touch in recent years I knew from friends that those core Canadian values were always there.

    He will be missed on all Courts. Farewell to a great Canadian!

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