HELGI “VERN” AUSTMAN
On Sunday, July 16, 2023, Vern Austman succumbed after a three-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. All his family were at his side through his last few days, in his home at Trillium Court in Kincardine, Ontario.
Helgi Lavergne “Vern” Austman, born in the Sveinbjornson family farm house, in Elfros, Saskatchewan, on July 28, 1930 He was the son of Sigurjon (Sam) Austman and Gudny Lovisa (Louise) Sveinbjornson. He grew up in Calgary, Alberta, along with his five siblings: Doreen, Karin, Myrna, Diana and Neil.
Vern attended the engineering program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton before embarking on an eventful career, lasting over 40 years in Canada’s nuclear power program. He was involved in the commissioning of many of Canada’s CANDU reactors, starting with the very first at Rolphton, Ontario, and culminating with Ontario’s most recent at Darlington. He served as the plant manager at both Bruce NGS A and Darlington NGS. He also served as commissioning manager for a pair of CANDU reactors in Rajasthan, India.
Vern married the love of his life, Frances (née Gardener), on July 19, 1952, in Calgary. Together they raised four children: Daniel (Susan), Gord (Margie), Sam (the late Katherine) and Kristin. All three sons carried on in their father’s footsteps in the nuclear power industry. Kristin carried on her father’s love of education, self-improvement and helping others.
Vern will also be dearly missed by his siblings: Karin (Dennis), Myrna (Mike), Diana and Neil (Brenda) and by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Vern was predeceased by his parents, sister Doreen, daughter-in-law Katherine and great-grandchildren Jack, Josephine and Steven.
Besides his family and his work, Vern’s greatest passion was for genealogical research, and he was fiercely proud of his entirely Icelandic heritage. He also delved deeply into studies of physics and geology, the latter no doubt inspired partly by the spectacularly unique geology of the homeland.
Vern’s family extends heartfelt thanks to all the staff in Long Term Care at Trillium Court and to Dr. Gurbin. Their kindness and hard work made his last year as bearable as possible under the circumstances. (Dr. Gurbin was also our family doctor for a couple of years in Kincardine in the 1960s!) Vern also received excellent care at Brucelea Haven
in Walkerton, and at the Chesley and Kincardine Hospitals.
A celebration to honour Vern’s life will be held at Trillium Court, 550 Philip Place, Kincardine from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023.
If you wish to remember Vern in a substantial way, please do so with a donation to your community hospital or to a charity of your choice.
Portrait and memorial online at www.daveylinklaterfuneralhome.com.