It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Ron Warder at the age of 64. He passed away early Wednesday morning, April 11th, at Royal Jubilee Hospital with his family.

Ron passed from complications of Parkinson’s, diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease. He spent much of his adult life valiantly battling these conditions with exceptional grace, humour and perseverance. He was an inspiration to all.

Ron retired from the Sooke School District in June 2013, after a 33 year career. He retired from the position of Assistant Superintendent. Prior to that, Ron was Director of Instruction, Principal of John Stubbs, Principal of David Cameron, Principal of Happy Valley and Vice-Principal at Willway, Happy Valley and Sangster. He started his teaching career at Ruth King.

He was President of the Sooke Teachers’ Association from 1985-90; he bargained the first collective agreement for the teachers’ union in the district. Many of the basic rights afforded to teachers nowadays (such as seniority) were directly a result of Ron’s work over those many months of bargaining.

When Ron became a Principal, he again took up the mantle of leadership by becoming the President of the Sooke Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association. He also held positions on the provincial executive.

Born and raised in Esquimalt, Ron, also known as Captain Canada, attended Esquimalt Secondary where he was class President. He often spoke proudly of his Esquimalt upbringing.

Aside from the education sector, Ron was an active political leader in both the municipal and provincial levels. In his twenties, Ron was elected Alderman in Esquimalt (1980-85) and later Mayor of Esquimalt from 1987-90.  Ron also served as the National Chair of the Federal Parole Citizens’ Committee.

Ron will be best remembered for his political acumen and keen wit. A gifted public speaker, his dry wit would often break a sombre mood or elevate people to action. Ron was in his element when there was a tough problem to solve, on the floor of a political convention, averting a potential strike, or driving action to mobilize public concern. These were the times when his leadership truly showed.

A lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan, Ron had many years of teasing in the spring when the Habs would miss the playoffs once again. During the playoffs and off-season, Ron could often be seen driving around Greater Victoria listening to Queen, Eric Clapton, and Canucks games on C-FAX 1070 (when they didn’t miss the playoffs too!). His love of all technology and gadgets was famous, especially if he thought you might have a newer version of something he owned!

Since his retirement, Ron’s focus was the pride he had for his family. He is loved and survived by many, including his wife, Chris, his children Sarah (Brian) and Nick (Kara), step-son Tristan, granddaughter Audrey, sister Donna, and nephew Stephen (Rebecca and Anya).

A Celebration of Life will be held in the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens in Royal Oak – 4665 Falaise Drive on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be directed to the charity of your choice or to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Canada, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, or to Parkinson’s research.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

    April 20, 2018

    Dear Chris and family,

    Ron was my first official principal as a new teacher to SD62. It was David Cameron, 1999, when he hired me. He was caring, funny, brilliant and kind. The support he gave to his staff and students was incredible, and his school adored him. Ron’s calm, meaningful and no nonsense approach kept us all afloat, and we always knew that we had a wonderful man to both turn to and look up to. We will forever miss him. Be so proud to have had him as your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Debra Tolman

  • Corrine Merx
    April 15, 2018

    Dear Chris and family,

    Sending you much love.

    Corrine, Glen and Helena

  • louise francis
    April 14, 2018

    It was a privilege to have known Ron, he had a full life, he made the most of every moment, did more than a dozen men and enjoyed it all. He was my computer guy, always willing to get me out of yet another mess that I’d get myself into. He had so many illnesses and was in such pain yet his thoughts were always on the welfare of others. His strength and perseverance are legendary. Ron has been an inspiration to all of us and I am blessed to have known him.


  • Dawn Francis
    April 13, 2018

    To my sister Chris and nephew Tristan
    I was so sad to hear of Ron’s passing. He sure gave it his best shot! He truly was an inspiration the way he always fought back. He wanted the most out of life even when he was speeding down the road taking Alie for a walk and flying into the ditch on that hell on wheels scooter of his. Always told of his mishaps with such humor you couldn’t help but pee your pants laughing. We were lucky to go out to lunch one of the last times he got to go and had a good time, that is how I will always remember him, cracking jokes and eating what he knew he wasn’t supposed to. He did it his way. Any one who knew him was lucky. Big thank you on my mother’s behalf Ron for always fixing her computer even after she did what you told her not to do. You will be sorely missed.

  • Darryl Corry
    April 13, 2018

    So sorry to hear of Ron’s passing being my school president in 72. Always cheerful to talk to being a Esquimalt boy myself ,my thoughts are with you.

  • Robin Kilistoff
    April 12, 2018

    I had the pleasure of being in a class with Ron at U of Vic, even then he had a gentle way of taking charge of the class and the professor.
    Later I worked with him at John Stubbs when he was Principal and again when he was head of Counselling. Ron was solidly behind the Counselling department and truly valued the work of School Counsellors in the Sooke School District. The trend in other districts was to reduce Counsellor positions as funding became tighter. But Ron stood up for us, and consequently we had the peace of mind to focus on our work. He was very appreciated and highly esteemed.
    Such a lovely, funny, dedicated, caring man. My sincere condolences to his family.

  • Julia Sahota
    April 12, 2018

    Ron was for me one of the most supportive Bosses I ever had. As a Principal in Sooke I had to deal with difficult parents and on one occasion a particularly difficult parent wanted my head. As Assistant Superindent, Ron read the complaint and said this is “….choice words…..” I burst out laughing and he told me not to worry about it. I never heard a thing from the parents again!

    Ron’s humour and sometimes sudden whit had me laughing so many times. He was never afraid to tell it like it was and by doing so change attitudes and directions to the benefit of others. A true leader both in his work and in the community. The world is better for him having been here. He has left a lasting legacy in many places.

  • Adrien Brown
    April 12, 2018

    My condolences to Ron’s family that he was taken so young. Ron was always a bright light in Sooke School District and we were blessed to have him in so many ways and for so long. He was gifted at resolving conflicts and though he often got through with his keen sense of humour he had strong core values that he didn’t compromise on. I learned a lot about leadership from his actions. I have admired his bravery in dealing with complex health issues yet living life fully in the face of these challenges. There are some human beings who stand heads above the rest of us. Ron is one of those though he would never see himself in this way I’m pretty sure.

  • Bob Belcher
    April 12, 2018

    Dear Chris and Family,

    I am saddened by the passing of Ron. My fondest memories of Ron were the times spent at Ruth King, which was one of the best working environments I had the pleasure of being a part of. He was funny, witty and could “take on the chin” when it was his turn. He went on to serve the teachers and the district with integrity, never losing his sense of humor along the way, despite significant health issues. I hope the days of ahead will be filled with peaceful reflection and the good memories you had.
    Bob Belcher

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