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River Sidley

$206,120.63 (raised so far)

About River Sidley

Born April 6, 1992, River Sidley of Rossland, BC, passed away suddenly on December 9, 2014 at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Although he left us far too soon, River has etched a permanent place in the hearts and minds of many people. He was in his fifth year of a bachelor of science degree from UBC Okanagan, and had found his life passion at the Marine Station. Through the creation of the River Timothy Sidley Memorial Award the family wishes to honour his beautiful life.

River was born on a stormy, snowy April day to eager parents — Louise from Toronto and David from Ketchum. He was named after the Columbia River as seen from the Trail Hospital overlooking the river. They had settled in Rossland six years earlier for love of the mountains and skiing and were ready to raise their son in the Kootenay paradise.

Nineteen months later River became a loving big brother to his sister Sage. From day one River and Sage were best friends, and they helped each other to grow into thoughtful, well-adjusted adults. They especially enjoyed their time together in Kelowna at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, where River studied biology, with a focus in zoology, for four years.

River had a curious mind and was constantly asking questions. Watching Planet Earth, reading about the cosmos, or following his favourite international soccer teams online were River’s idea of a good way to spend an evening. Along with his lively mind, River had a loving heart. Throughout his life and after his passing, many people from all walks of life have shared stories about our kind and caring River. At eighteen years old he looked after his uncle Tim (who suffers from mental illness in Toronto) so his grandma Lorna could go on a holiday. With his beautiful smile and engaging wit, River could make even the shiest among us feel at ease. He had a great sense of adventure and loved to make people laugh. When you were with River, you knew it was going to be fun.

River loved to ski. He skied so effortlessly, watching him was like watching water flowing. He had great respect for the natural world. He learned to hunt and fish, and as a child and young man he camped more days than most people do in a long lifetime. In the wilderness he would hike/bushwack, snorkel, dive for sunken rocks, skip flat stones, jump off cliffs, swing on ropes, climb trees, and build amazing water courses in the sand. He was an accomplished soccer player and played on several teams at home and UBC-O. River was playful, and a hard worker too. For five summers he worked at the Fochuk family’s vineyard in Trail. The pride he took in his accomplishments at SOAHC Estate Wines was obvious when he took his family on personal tours of the lush fields of grapes on the ATV.

River loved his Kootenay home, but he was a traveler too, taking trips to Halifax, Quebec City, Toronto, Tofino, Denver, Palm Springs, Florida, Maui, and Equador. He drove twice across Canada and went on many road trips throughout British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. In grade ten River went with his Aunt Mary, Uncle Keith, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Tom, and his cousins Ryan and Matthew to the Galapagos Islands, where he discovered his enduring love for the ocean.

Before starting the Fall program at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre in September 2014, River drove with Louise to Bamfield to fish and visit the school. If anyone were to design a playground specially for River, it would be Bamfield: a phenomenal research centre for serious and rigorous academic study, beautiful beaches and tidal pools, rainforest flora and fauna, a close-knit community, boating, surfing, tree-climbing, rope-swinging, and soccer — and a wonderful group of people to share it with. River had found his place there and was making plans to return.

River was born in the mountains and died watching a storm come in by the sea. He will be forever missed.

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The impact of your support

The River Timothy Sidley Memorial Award Endowment Fund supports the River Timothy Sidley Memorial Award.

This Award will be given to a fourth or fifth year standing UBC, Okanagan Campus student applying at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre Fall Program.

The Bamfield Marine Science Centre is a shared campus of the Universities of Victoria, British Columbia, Alberta, Calgary and Simon Fraser. Perched on the west coast of Vancouver Island, it provides access to a remarkable diversity of marine, terrestrial, freshwater and cultural sites of the North East Pacific basin. With 3000 square meters of modern laboratory space, it can support research in almost any field of study.

While attending BMSC, River studied seaweeds, ecology, and ocean animals. His final paper was entitled, Metacarcinus gracilis Walk Sideways Because They Have Nothing To Look Forward To: A Comparison Of Feeding Rates Between Native Metacarcinus gracilis And Carcinus maenas Under Differing Flow Regimes. River and his partners, Neil Waters and Dickson Wong, analyzed the significance of native vs. invasive species of crabs collected from the Pacific Ocean.

The greatest loss is River’s potential. He found his passion at the Marine Station and, it is through the River Timothy Sidley Memorial Award, the family wishes to honour his beautiful life through passing on this potential to future students. The goal of the fund is to fully fund a student attending the BMSC Fall program.

The Sidley Family would like to thank all those donors who have made generous gifts to honour River, with a special thanks to those who have made multiple contributions to the award.

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Messages of Remembrance

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  • I remember meeting River for the first time on the UBCO soccer field. He had no idea who I was, yet he invited me to play soccer with him that day, invited me to play on his intramural soccer team and he even invited me to his place to hang out. Really quickly we became friends. He was the one in our friend group that always said things that stuck to our memories. He was so kind, he was so accepting. He will be missed and never be forgotten. See you on the other side River. Rest in peace.

    Kazu Naito, Friend
  • River used to say: Everyone is a hypocrite sometimes. I don't believe in Karma. You just do good things because it's the right thing to do. I don't pay you to dilly dally. (But you don't pay me.) That's because you always dilly dally. Go wait in the car.

    Louise Sidley, Mom
  • River was the happiest of us. We met last year at Nonis field, on the first day of practice for the International Football Club. He was always ready with a joke or smile, there to make us laugh and have a good time. Since I left UBC-O, we fell out of touch and I truly regret not spending more time with this wonderful human being. You'll be sorely missed, River...

    Yianni Bumaye, Friend
  • It was last year, attending a soccer match hosted by the International Football Club where I first met River. The humor along with the determination he brought on the soccer field is hard to be matched and will be missed greatly. From the teamwork to the laughs, I would just like to thank him for sharing these memories, shame we couldn't have had more. Keep kicking a soccer ball for us all here. Rest in peace.

    Tomas Farmer, Friend
  • I am so sad for your loss. River grew up in a happy family that enjoyed skiing and fun. He lived in a wonderful community of friends and went on to live in a place of beauty and joyful work. He will be forever missed.

    Joy Huebert, Friend
  • My sincerest condolences to the Sidley Family. I first met River last year at the UBCO international football club. His laugh and friendliness stood out far more than many of the others. He was always having fun whether it be winning or losing. I wasn't super close to River but he always waved hello and smiled. I will always remember his acceptance of others and positive attitude. Wish we could have played a few more games together. Rest in piece bro.

    Luvy Mandaher, Friend
  • There were 100 days between the time I first met River and the night we said goodbye. Every one of those days was full of adventure. River was so approachable and friendly; we were friends by day 1 and good friends by day 10. I realized a bit later that he was a good athlete too. Enthusiasm coupled with talent; nobody could juggle a soccer ball better. He taught me a lot. Other than how to juggle, he taught me how to properly paddle a canoe, and he simulated countless ski tricks off the cafeteria patio for me (I promise I'll pull some off this Winter!). Such a smart guy too - he navigated me through matrix multiplication, safety factors, identified seemingly nondescript algae for me. And when we were trying to name every country in the world - how the hell did you know about Djibouti?! He always made me think of Mark Twain, scientifically able but gifted with his ability to play around with language and draw people towards him. Swimming, climbing onto rooftops and taking herbs from the garden - it seems like something straight out of Huckleberry Finn. But what I'll take away most is River's genuine nature. It didn't matter who you were, River would go with you, talk with you, be your friend. A person like that is very rare. The last thing River taught me was how sudden and unfair death can be. My new-found wisdom and appreciation for life has changed me for the better, and for that, and our countless amazing memories, I am forever grateful.

    Neil Waters, Friend
  • We will never forget River's remarkable smile and his gentleness towards others. You will be greatly missed. Rest in peace

    Mary and Rich Billingsley, friends
  • River was the one without fail to make us happy with his never ending smile, his great sense of humour and his desire to win on the soccer field which was the only time his smile might have disappeared but only momentarily. We were all fortunate to have been part of his happiness and zest for life. He will be missed and remembered always in our hearts and minds.

    The McKinnons, friend, teammate, coach
  • We remember River very fondly from our years in Rossland. He had so much energy and such an adventurous and positive spirit. We will all miss him deeply and we send our heartfelt condolences and love to Dave, Louise and Sage.

    The Hilts family, Friends, teammates, schoolmates
  • My Dearest River, I love you. You have given me so very much joy and happiness....I am blessed to be your grandmother.

    Lorna Aziz, Grandmother
  • Where ever River was, there would be smiles. I loved how he filled the atmosphere with life, joy, and laughter. I really enjoyed the little amount I interacted with him, and will always remember him. . . and just smile.

    Chantille Heartman, Staff, at the marine station
  • To me, River will always be the boy with the mop of blonde curls. The boy that wore his heart on his sleeve and his day on his shirt. The boy that loved to make me laugh, whether it was by throwing his sock into the eaves trough or slurping his noodles or doing a cannonball into the pool. He was joy. And he brought us joy. He was larger than life and we will love him always. Always, Laura-Jane.

    Laura-Jane Hanson, Honorary Aunt
  • River lit my life up in more ways than I can count. Little did I know the impact he would have on my life when I met him in the first year of university in 2010. He without a doubt stood out to me as someone who lived life joyously and without worries. He followed his heart and always saw the upside of any situation. I smile reflecting upon our times together. The only way I can describe it, is that within the instant I was in River's presence-the anxiety, problems or worries of my day would just instantly melt away. The triviality of whatever I thought was important wasn't anymore once I was goofin' around with River. You just always felt happy and at peace in his company. He showed me how wonderful it is to just live life and to enjoy the present. But most of all to LAUGH at yourself, at life and to make the ones you love laugh the most. You are always in my thoughts, River. I still laugh thinking of calling you RivTimSid, our late night pizza runs, you making a mess in the backseat of Sage's car and of course you climbing trees and hurting your finger! I miss you dearly. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and having such a positive influence in my life. In your honour, I promise to make people laugh and to not take life so seriously. Rest in peace, my friend.

    Melissa Stein, Friend & Fellow Classmate
  • ...What a Beautiful difference River made in everyone's life… How proud you must be! With Deepest Sympathy….. Wanda and Erma

    Wanda Hayes, cousin
  • We will never forget River's smile. Condolences to all of River's family and friends; may he rest in peace.

    Kim and Tracy Mercer, Acquaintances
  • As a child, River was playful with his sister and cousins. The group would descend on his grandparents' cottage at Lake Simcoe, where they were always eager to challenge tired parents with new adventures. He also had a phase where he loved eating macaroni & cheese for lunch every day, and of course everyone would want it too. He enriched many lives, and will be missed.

    Jacqueline Pal, aunt
  • Rivskis, where do I even start. My most fond memories of that curly headed man, who did nothing but make me laugh, would have to be the days when I needed a partner to go out into the field with me; he would be there beside me. Ready to go with the camo ankle booties and toque, excited just to go on an adventure with me. The best day had to be the time everyone, and I mean everyone, went to camp on Brady's beach to celebrate our first class being over. I had to go back to the station at 10:30 pm which meant having to hike a good 20 mins and drive the boat across the inlet. I didn't expect anyone to go with me but sure enough he volunteered! So along with one of our professors, Allan, we trudged back all the while having stimulating statistics conversation. He could literally talk to anyone about anything. I didn't know but River had cunningly hidden some cough juice on the dock before getting in the boat so we would have "hydration" for the way back to the beach! We had such fun and laughed the whole way talking about anything and everything. I will never forget the lessons of acceptance and genuine kindness he taught me. He is sorely missed and I will never forget his laugh, his smile. I thought I heard it on the slopes where I was skiing this Christmas, so I think it's safe to say he is watching over all who loved him. Shredding every inch of powder and investigating every unmarked trail, wherever he is now.

    Kristen Kruper, Friend
  • River used to joke to Sage, "If Mom tells you one thing, and Dad another, go with Dad." River loved his mom and sister and always took care of them. I loved waking him up in the morning with a hug, and blowing on his stomach to make him laugh. I loved giving him a fanfare as he came down the stairs, calling out his name when he came home, cooking his dinner and making his lunch for school and work. Cutting a grapefruit for breakfast, tea not too hot and a little bit of sugar, having a pineapple for when he came home from being away. (It means welcome.) We ate every dinner together as a family. And I loved talking to him, talking about important things and nothing. I used to say his age was 6 and 60, so fun-loving yet so wise. He could calm my fears and see humour in any situation. He is my hero, my best male friend, my little brother and my skiing and hunting buddy. River succeeded in every thing he wanted to succeed in. He had a very happy life and made us all happy too. I was lucky to be able to spend so much time with him. I am very proud to be his dad. I only hope that a small part of how special he is came from me. Rivskidoodle (loves the noodle) my son I love so much. I'll see you in the happy hunting grounds. Thanks for all the laughs. Dadtron

    David Sidley, Dad
List of Donors
All Donors
  • John Gibson

  • Kelvin Saldern

  • Sage, Mom and Dad

  • Christopher Austin

  • Glenmerry School

  • Bridgette Clarkston

  • Dan Loukras

  • Carolyn Catalano

  • Morgan Bruintjes

  • Lowell & Ginny Schneider

  • William & Karen Yakely

  • Debbie & Thomas Sidley

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