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About Rimas Pakalnis

Dr. Rimas Pakalnis, UBC Associate Professor Emeritus Mining Engineering, passed away on Thursday October 18, 2018. Rimas had over 30 years’ experience in underground mining. He was a designated expert in the field of rock mechanics by Canadian and US federal agencies and consulted for a wide variety of mining operations throughout the world. His extensive research and practical experience guided his teaching at UBC for over 20 years and internationally, both at conferences and in the delivery of professional development for mining operations.

Rimas was born on Oct 28, 1956, in Val-d’Or, Quebec. He attended KLCVI in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, followed by McGill University for Mining Engineering and then UBC for his Masters and PhD. Over his life he taught hundreds of undergraduate students at UBC, and supervised dozens of Masters and PhD students.

He was a great champion of empirical method for rock mechanics mine design, putting his conviction and skills into practice around the world. He worked for 169 mining companies across all continents, improving industry and keeping his fellow humans safe with his designs.

Rimas’s legacy will be instrumental in the development of empirical design tools, promoting lifelong education and improving the safety and cost-effectiveness in the industry for generations to come. He will be sorely missed around the globe. He is survived by his wife Anna, son Brodie, daughter Elena and brother Victor.

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The impact of your support

In Rimas’s memory, family and friends have created the Dr. Rimas Pakalnis Memorial Research Prize in Rock Mechanics. Your gift will pay tribute to Rimas’s life and career by supporting outstanding graduate engineering students.

Please click here to read about the first recipient of the Dr. Rimas Pakalnis Memorial Research Prize in Rock Mechanics.

Messages of Remembrance

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  • Rimas and I had worked together at all of my mining operations jobs since 1993, except for the one I had in BC, strangely. But regardless of where we were working together, our conversations inevitably turned to hockey and the prospects for our NHL teams, the Canucks and the Canadiens. Generally we commiserated with each other about the poor prospects for the current or upcoming season, especially in recent years. And whenever the Canucks and Habs played each other, no matter where Rimas was in the world, I would get a text message from him during the game and we would banter back and forth about how the other had chosen the wrong team to cheer for. I will miss those messages but I look forward to Vancouver - Montreal games because they bring back good memories of our collaborations and friendly hockey rivalry.

    Tim Sanford, Colleague
  • Rimas worked with/for NIOSH on underground mine safety as it related to rock mass strength. I was privileged to work with him at several US underground mines. We would travel over a short time span to several mines. One such trip he was complaining that I had arranged a trip to close to recent dental surgery and he blamed me for his discomfort. I told him to see his dentist upon returning to Vancouver. It turned out he had put his hearing aid battery in his ear rather than his hearing aid. It became a source of kidding and humor between us for our time together.

    Tom Brady, NIOSH colleague
  • It is admiration and joy that we wish to memorialize Rimas' contribution to civil society.

    Usher Hammer & Rose Parker,
  • In loving memory

    Harry and Rochelle Hammer,
  • Great fun and memories!

    Betty and Tony Pisto,
  • The absence of Rimas represents is a big loss to the mining industry and there is no one to fill the gap. He had Incredible energy and enthusiasm and was very generous with his knowledge and held nothing back. Always approachable he seemed to have that unique ability to get along well with everyone. I always felt there is no way I can keep up with Rimas!

    Paul Tim Whillans, Friend
  • Rimas has served as a member of the Board of Examiners to Engineers and Geoscientists BC for over ten years. I was privileged to work with him in the past ten years. He would respond to my emails and requests at lightning speed, regardless where he was. He had answered my emails from airports and mine sites in exotic locations around the world at odd hours. Sometimes I wonder if he ever sleeps. During one of our conversations, he told me very proudly that his son became registered as a Professional Engineer with the Association. I mailed him a branded metal wallet from the Association for him to give to his son, so they can have matching Engineers and Geoscientists BC metal wallets. I still remember how happy he sounded on the phone after he received the package.

    Christine Lee, Colleague at Engineers and Geoscientists BC
  • Love the guy. He brought me onto a successful slope stabilization job in southern California in the '80's. After many failed attempts by CalTrans (Pacific Coast Highway), Rimas' idea worked and helped launch the Aardvark system. The world lost the nicest of all the smart guys I've ever met. He built with my sister a great big life & strong family. And he's been everywhere... man, literally like Johnny Cash song at the wonderful COL/slideshow. Miss hearing about his travels. Hope to stay in touch with extended family. ph

    Phil Hammer, Bro-In-Law
  • Rimas was my professor at UBC for UG Mining Design and Rock Mechanics. then he accepted me as one of his masters student. He thought me how to think and view the challenges from 30000 ft above and he got my first mining job and he was on of my inspirations to start my own consulting firm. He was a mentor, a friend, and a colleague. words can not describe how genuine and generous this gentleman was with his resources and his knowledge. I come across his teachings, course notes, and even his favorite pens in any given week and his memories are alive and well with me. Truly a gentleman

    Shervin Teymouri, Student and friend
List of Donors
All Donors
  • Jamie Campbell

  • Anoush Poursartip

  • Trent Weatherwax

  • Mike McDonald

  • Vytautas & Kerri Pakalnis

  • Peter Leinberger

  • Dean Brox Consulting

  • Shervin Teymouri on Behalf of Mineit Consulting

  • Premier Gold Mines Limited

  • Kinross Gold

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Anonymous Donation

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