It is with broken hearts that we share the news of the sudden passing of Andrew “Hawk” Russell. Hawk is survived by his wife of 35 years, Liz , his children Jonathan (Aimee) and Katlyn (Bradley) and his two beautiful grandchildren, Olivia and Henry.
Hawk was born in Hamilton Ontario on August 15, 1950 and was an only child to Isobel and John Russell. He lived his early years in the small town of Simcoe in southern Ontario. Hawk spent hours with his girl cousins on family visits and has always had a special relationship with them. He had a gang of friends, many whom he’s still in contact with. They had many adventures, road bikes around town, tried to avoid fights and in later years, hung out in Charlie’s dad’s garage. Hawk always had a passion for cars and could tell you the make and year of any vehicle he saw. Throughout high school and after he worked on the tobacco farms and with Ron’s Custom Spray where he warmed his way into being an adopted son in the Ludwig family business.
Hawk wanted more adventure then he saw in his small town and was able to get a work visa for the United Kingdom as his father was from Scotland. He had many trips to Europe, visiting people he had met on the farms or relatives in Scotland. He spent a year living and working in London, England, where he was fondly known as the Great Canadian Git. In 1976, Hawk came out west to visit his cousin Lynda and ended up finding employment in Whistler with then, Garibaldi Lift Company. Hawk loved the lifestyle at Whistler- hanging out with locals, drinking too much beer, telling tourists about the sights and living in the staff housing called the ghetto. He made many life long friends while he worked as a Lifty for many years before becoming an electrician for Whistler mountain.
It was in Whistler that Hawk met his wife Liz and they shared a long distance relationship for several years while Liz went to school and worked in Vancouver. During that time, Hawk built a house in Tapley’s farm with friends which eventually was sold and funded Liz and Hawk’s first home together at Tamarisk. Liz and Hawk were married in 1986 and they moved to Squamish prior to the birth of their first child Katlyn in 1988. Jonathan was born two years later in 1990. Hawk loved being a dad and supported his kids in everything they choose to take on. He spent hours at early morning hockey practice, driving to dance, watching soccer and baseball games, going to Friday night archery and anything else the kids wanted to do. Hawk even agreed to go camping and developed an absolutely love for it, just not in a tent.
Jonathan was in hockey from age four to last year of high school. Hawk loved being the team mom (manager) and would call the entire team with reminders- “hi its Hawk from Hockey”. He spent many a weekend on the road for games and tournaments, loading up the car with wife, kids, friends, dog and heading out. Hawk was exceptionally proud of Jonathan’s accomplishments in archery and took him to practice weekly and again tournaments around the province. Despite the cold Hawk and Liz followed Jon to Whitehorse where he represented BC in the Canada Winter Games. Hawk was very encouraging of Jon’s choice to learn a Trade and proud when he became a Red Seal Carpenter. When Jon first introduced Aimee to the family, Hawk was very smitten and very happy to see that Jon had found someone so special. He would constantly ask Jon, “how is Aimee doing” before asking how Jon was doing.
When Katlyn decided to move to Ottawa,Ontario in 2007, he couldn’t miss driving her out there and in fact he didn’t let her drive the car at all. He thought it was hilarious to play “ shut up and drive” by Rihanna. Little did he know that that trip would change her life for ever. Katlyn met her now husband Brad there. Hawk grew to love Brad as one of his own, they would go off to see all the new superhero movies together, he would never miss one of Brad’s sporting events if he was there. Hawk became a papa in 2016 when Olivia was born, then again in 2017 when Henry was born. He loved them to pieces and even though Arnprior was far, we had lots of visits and lots of video calls.
Hawk left Whistler Mountain to form his own company, Alternate Electric and worked on homes in Whistler and Squamish. He was meticulous in his work and was known to care more about the electrical work in the house then the owners did. He commuted for years but was thrilled to become an electrician for School District 48 which allowed him to be around more for his family. Hawk loved his work in the schools , always chatting with kids, teachers and fellow maintenance staff. His career was cut short when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his 55th year. While Hawk’s life was effected by Parkinson’s but he was not defined by it. Hawk spent his retirement years going to Wednesday night archery, getting together with the “Boyz” for coffee, travelling, camping with great friends, visiting with family and taking his best companion Kiera out for a walk.
Despite life challenges, Hawk maintained a positive attitude and love of life. He was a wonderful son, husband, father, papa and friend and has touched the lives of many. We are the lucky ones to have been blessed with his love. He will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made towards the Parkinson’s society in his memory.