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Mike Casselman

$14,630.00 (raised so far)

About Mike Casselman

“It is people like Mike who make a difference, not just to our business, but to each of us individually. He shared his accomplishments and experience with generations of geoscientists that he helped develop and mentor over the years. He was highly regarded by his peers and is remembered for the great enthusiasm he brought with him in everything he did.” – Owen Owens, former VP of exploration at Cominco.

Mike Casselman (Jan. 24, 1946 – Jan. 25, 2014) was raised in Trail, BC, and explored the outdoors his entire life. When he was a baby, his mother would for care him in a canoe while his father, a geologist, navigated the nearby area. Eventually, Mike received his BSc from UBC in 1969 and his MSc from Carleton in 1977, and following in his father’s footsteps, he became an exceptional geologist.

Mike’s career highlights include finding and exploring several deposits at Hackett River, NWT; Tulsequah Chief, BC; and at the Pebble Copper porphyry in Alaska. His over 30-year tenure with Cominco, which started in 1969, included two years in Chile where he managed their extensive copper exploration program. From 1996-1999, he was Cominco’s administration manager, international exploration, responsible for administration of Cominco’s programs in six countries.

After Cominco, Mike served as a director, vice-president and technical advisor with the Candente Group of companies, and was a board member with Savant Explorations Ltd. Above his technical contributions to his field, Mike was known by all of his colleagues as a life-long learner, an enthusiastic team player, and a generous and inspirational mentor to many budding geologists. His colleagues at Candente describe him as “a gazelle in the field, energetic, positive, optimistic, a friend and a mentor, loved and admired by his peers.”

Mike loved adventure and was never without his wife, Caroline. From the far north to Chile, and Palm Springs to China, they wandered not one, but many roads less traveled. Recently, Mike’s happiest days were spent at Christina Lake with his family and many of his original Warfield Mountaineers. Mike’s abounding generosity, attentiveness, and fierce loyalty made him a consummate mentor. He was, simply put, the best.

Mike passed away at Vancouver General Hospital surrounded by an outpouring of love and compassion from his dearest friends and family. He leaves behind his wife and best friend, Caroline, his two daughters, Marcie (Greg) and Elysa (Daryl), his grandchildren: Sebastian, Emilia, Ryerson, Marcus and Olivia, and his sister Jane (Darrel).

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The impact of your support

The Mike Casselman Field School Award will honour Mike’s memory by providing awards to students at UBC’s Geological Field School based on a combination of academic performance and field aptitude. Field School, in Oliver BC, has been a cornerstone of geological education at UBC since the 1950’s.

Throughout his career, Mike was noted, and loved, for his willingness to share his knowledge and expertise with others. As one of his colleagues observed, “He knew he was strong technically, but…he was special in teaching, mentoring and in excellent communications. He stood high about all the others. There was no one like him.”

Another colleague once told Mike, “You were my mentor….you made me excited to be doing what I was doing. Doing that for me, Mike, was magic.”

The Mike Casselman Field School fund will help support and encourage the next generation of geologists, continuing Mike’s exceptional legacy.

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Messages of Remembrance

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  • Mike was a gentle giant, his outlook on life was always so optimistic, a trait that no doubt came in handy as he lived his life as a geologist. We only met with Caroline and Mike once a year in recent years but always looked forward to it. I know he is sorely missed by his family and by his large circle of friends and colleagues.

    Elaine & Paul Blythe, Friend and Mining Industry Colleague
  • We first met Mike in 1985 in Goderich Ontario when he came to take our lovely Caroline to BC. It was the beginning of a fun and rewarding relationship with him. Mike exhibited wisdom and optimism beyond what the ordinary person shows. He balanced a busy career while proudly parenting his beloved daughters, playing hockey and spending time with Caroline. Mike was positive, encouraging and never complained. Mike and Caroline were complimentary spirits and best friends. We are so grateful that you have taken the time and made the effort to build this very positive memorial to a truly special guy. We loved him dearly and are so glad that his name will remain known in geological circles.

    Clarence and Peggy Denomme, Long time friends
  • I feel very fortunate to have known Mike Casselman. Mike was my first boss and hired me as a summer student in 1987. I couldn't have wished for a better mentor as I began my professional career. Mike was so willing to share his wisdom, knowledge, skills and expertise. I worked for Mike for a number of years and I came to realize what a great geologist he was, besides continuing as a great mentor for me through the years he became a great friend. I learned so much in not just the geology world but life values in general that have helped me through the years and the decisions I have made in my career, I would often call up Mike and ask for advice and he would always give me not just advice but ask me questions that would help me realize the best path forward. I am attaching 2 photos of Mike that I was able to take while working with him in 1988 near Tulsaquah BC. The first is Mike as he is getting ready for a day of mapping just after getting out of the helicopter. The second is Mike and Ian Paterson going over a geology map in the field.

    Scott Smith, Long time Mentee and friend
  • Mike was an exceptional person who always had the time to share his experience, wisdom and laughter whether as a mentor, friend or team mate. I was extremely fortunate to work with Mike during the first several years of my career and his mentorship was key to my future in the mining industry. He dealt with everyone with respect and professionalism. His passion for geology was evident but nothing brought a bigger smile to his face the last few years than discussing his family. Was a pleasure and an honour to know him, work with him and occasionally steal a hockey puck from him

    Darin Wagner, Student, Friend and Teammate
  • Mike was a classmate at UBC, a colleague at Cominco and a friend for over 40 years. Over this time I witnessed a enthusiastic, amiable, friendly cohort grow into a exceptional geologist and mentor to many young geologists. He embodied the best of human traits and qualities. I am honoured to have been his friend. Jim McLeod

    James McLeod, Friend
List of Donors
All Donors
  • John F Childs

  • Michael Gray

  • David Moore

  • Barbara Caelles

  • Brian Bowen

  • James McLeod

  • Bruce Coates

  • Darin Wagner

  • Fred Daley

  • Kenneth Pickering

  • Bill Campbell

  • George Tikkanen

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