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Tribute to Nicholas Reid 1955-2021

Nick was known for his expansive knowledge of the water sector and his network of municipal and industry partners. He was often called upon for strategic advice and counsel. 
Nick was very supportive of students and young professionals. He often mentored students individually and in groups through events connecting students with industry enriching their learning experience. 
Nick was well known for his kind and thoughtful nature, he was both a colleague and a friend to many. Nick’s presence and contribution to daily life at RUW will be profoundly missed.
The Nicholas Reid Memorial Award has been established in the memory of Nick and is given annually to a Ryerson graduate student in financial need who demonstrates leadership or innovation in a water-related field. Please donate here, opens in new window

“I worked in lockstep with Nick for 6 years. Our team of two collaborated and did most things together. The fine glass walls between our offices were our only barrier. When we got up from our desk to stretch, we would pause to touch base and banter.

Nick was gentle and patient and kind. He was thoughtful and reflective. He was happy and joyful. Lots of fun, very playful. Nick was a pleasure to work with and we became close friends.

We shared many personal moments. And one in particular etched his mark on my heart. He stepped in and took gentle care in a vulnerable moment. He knows which one.

He was always talking about his family. So proud of his kids. So in love with Melinda. He was constantly regaling me with the boy’s adventures, whether biking across Canada, fending off polar bears, working on cars and attempting to deflate air bags with negative impacts, helping him work on the house. He was so proud of Jessica, her dancing, fun shopping as only with a girl, hanging and playing guitar with her. He was so pleased that the kids were gathering at the cottage. His kids were his heart. And his love for Melinda so profound and his happiness with her filled his heart with joy. He was in such a lovely stage of life, I wanted it to last forever.”

– Angela Murphy, Manager, Research and Partnerships, Ryerson Urban Water

“I am positively heart-broken to learn of Nick’s untimely passing. His steady guiding hand, experience, expertise, good nature and wit, will be sorely missed. His presence is gone and the world has now been diminished. Rest easy my friend, I am sure we will meet again.”

– Tom Kaszas, RUW Board of Advisors, Director, Ontario Cabinet Office

“Nick will always be remembered for his leadership and commitment to building a strong community for our RUW staff, faculty and students. Everyone looked forward to bumping into Nick as he always had the best stories to share and was dedicated to making everyone feel welcomed. Above all, his passion for connecting with people and warm-heartedness will forever be missed."

– Alexus Maglalang, RUW graduate student

“Nick’s warm and positive leadership of RUW will be missed but never forgotten. My heart and thoughts are with his family and the RUW family.”

– Carolyn Johns, Professor, Department of Public Policy and Administration

“I will cherish all the wonderful conversations I had with Nick. Every time we spoke, I left the conversation with new ideas, new understanding. He really was a fountain of information. He was, in addition to being knowledgeable, a very warm and caring person. He will be sorely missed.”  

–  Michael Arts, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology

How transient this life is! How strange that we will not see Nick again. I will remember him with a spring in his step, a smile on his face, and hope in his heart. What he brought to Ryerson Urban Water was a sense of purpose and commitment to a worthy cause, and he brought so many connections to the water sector that would otherwise be outside of our academic turrets. Thank you Nick for your generous nature. I only wish we all could have gone dancing together! We will miss him, and we will continue to honour the work he did at RUW.”  

–  Stephanie Melles, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology

“Nick was a kind and steady leader with tremendous knowledge. Always a pleasure to be around, Nick provided sound guidance and his presence and advice will be missed.”

– Lisa Prime, RUW Board of Advisors, Principal, Prime Strategy & Planning

“Words fail me at a time like this and I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Nick’s passing. Anyone who knew him recognized he was an environmental champion and advocate for positive change. I will miss his thoughtfulness, sense of humor, and calming demeanour. I cannot begin to imagine how sorely he will be missed by students and faculty.”

– Mike Walters, RUW Board of Advisors

“I worked with Nick at the Ontario Clean Water Agency and we continued to stay in touch. I was so proud of his work and passion for the water industry and his leadership at OWWA. It was an honour to be invited to serve on the RUW Board of Advisors and continue to be connected with Nick's vision for the future.”

– Darla Campbell, RUW Board of Advisors, Associate, Dillon Consulting 

“Nick played a big role in guiding me with my career journey in the Ontario water sector as a newcomer to Canada. His kind and caring nature always encouraged me to reach out to him for advice. His knowledge and connection in the sector and passion around innovative solutions and strategic thinking is something I always envied. I will dearly miss him and his humor-filled conversations, forever.”

– Indra Maharjan, RUW Board of Advisors, Program Manager, OCWA

“Nick was an incredible person and working with him was always such a pleasure. He would have the best advice and stories to tell us. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends. He will be missed by so many of us.”

– Tanmay Vasa, RUW Student

"I was fortunate to meet Nick in my work as dean through other networks related to building research capacity in the new Faculty of Science. When I heard he was retiring from OCWA, I jumped at the chance to ask him if he would be interested in working with us at Ryerson in the newly formed Ryerson Urban Water centre. He was immediately interested and enthusiastic to join Ryerson to help develop the potential of Ryerson Urban Water.  He was a truly good person - all around.  He lifted us all up with his kindness and generosity of time and energy. Truly, one of the best. I am deeply saddened to lose him far too soon."

– Imogen Coe, Professor, Department Chemistry and Biology

“My most vivid memory of Nick really speaks to the person he was and the influence he had on so many. I had taken a group of students down to the waterfront to talk about development (I think this was our first EUS801 class) and I ran into Nick at the Starbucks at 1 Yonge Street. He was there having coffee with a recent immigrant to Canada. The gentleman was an engineer and Nick was mentoring him on the Canadian water industry and helping him to get connected with it. It just struck me that this is what Nick was about. Giving his own time to not only help others, but to help the people who needed it the most, the people that are often left behind. Nick impacted so many, he will be missed.”

– David Atkinson, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

“Nick was an optimist by nature. He saw the good in people and he saw the potential for us to work together to achieve positive change. He easily transitioned from thinking about big issues, like boiled water advisories, to small issues, like fixing leaky lab equipment. He cared deeply about equity, diversity and inclusion and found practical ways to begin breaking down systemic barriers in this regard. I fondly remember several work-related conferences and community outreach events that I participated in with Nick. If he didn't already know everyone in the room, he did by the end. And he would introduce me to so many people... my network has grown substantially over the years because of him. He was simply a really nice person and fun to be around. He cared about people and was generous in sharing his experiences and skills. We are all better for having known him. I will miss him a lot.”

– Claire Oswald, RUW Academic Director, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

“Nick will be sadly missed by many: his colleagues, students, friends - in fact, after getting to know Nick, we all saw him as a friend. He was generous with his time, an amazing listener, collaborator, and very supportive of ideas that he believed in. He was also a strong supporter for initiatives to improve Indigenous Peoples lives, such as the proposed water issues work with Elder Joanne Dallaire, or the Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag ('Flooded Valley Healing') Indigenous youth employment and training program, and hosting of the green infrastructure workshop for Pheasant Rump First Nation, Saskatchewan. I feel blessed to have met and known Nick though Ryerson Urban Water and will dearly miss his welcoming smile and encouraging ways.”

– Sheila Boudreau, RUW Board of Advisors

“I was greatly saddened to hear about Nick. I have a great deal of respect for Nick's wisdom, vast knowledge, and leadership of RUW. He will indeed be missed.”  

– Christopher Wellen, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

“Nick was a great man and had a great personality and knowledge in water and wastewater. We had a great friendship even before he came to join RUW. He will definitely be missed and will be in our hearts forever.”

– Mohammad Manshouri, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

“I am deeply saddened to hear the news. Nick was an exceptional leader and colleague, and I will certainly miss him.” 

– John Shiga, Associate Professor, School of Professional Communication

“Nick was always incredibly generous with his time and advice. I particularly remember taking a recent graduate to talk with him, who just did not know where to begin on his career path, and the time Nick took to listen and to provide guidance.”

–  Andrew Laursen, Associate Professor, Department Chemistry and Biology

“Nick was a kind and engaging person and freely gave of himself to the work of RUW and the profession as a whole. He was a positive force that drove the centre forward. He will be sorely missed.”

– George Zukovs, RUW Board of Advisors 

“The SDZ was lucky to collaborate with Nick many, many times. His generosity, warmth, and genuine desire to better the communities around him made him a wonderful person to have in your corner. We will miss seeing his smile around CUI.”

– Camila Londoño, Director, SDZ

“Nick traveled the journey through pancreatic cancer with the courage, good humour, and positive attitude that are his hallmarks. I am personally grateful for the many conversations and moments with Nick. He felt a strong connection to Ryerson and RUW and was a champion of the environment. He was playful and always thinking of others. Nick was also an accomplished musician and conversations would often drift to music. He even arrived in the Vic offices one day with a hole punch for guitar picks. “Perfect for expired credit cards!” he winked at me. Nick has made authentic and mindful connections with the indigenous community and was embracing our path to go out to those communities to simply listen to their challenges. There are many environment related initiatives that Nick started. He was a great connector of people. Part of his legacy is that these initiatives and connections will live on.”

– Dave Cramb, Dean, Faculty of Science

“Today, I'm reminded of all the times Nick would walk by my desk with a beaming smile and that burning passion to help the students around him. From discussions on the best local eats across Toronto, travel destinations, episodes of Modern Family, and more, Nick has been one of the strongest role models that helped me and other students bring their water projects from ideation to implementation. His passion towards clean water projects leaves a legacy behind and I'm honoured and privileged to have had a chance to work under his umbrella.” 

– Anum Khan, RUW graduate student

“I remember Nick as a caring and soulful person. His leadership really brought RUW along over the years. He will be greatly missed  My thoughts are with his family and may they know how much we appreciate everything that he meant to all of us.”

– Kim Gilbride, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology

"I still can't believe I won't see Nick's kind eyes and smiling face as he comes out of his office to share something with us, or stops to chat on his way to the kitchen in CUI. He always had something to share and the time to listen. The CUI office will never be the same without him."

– Bhaswati Mazumder, RUW Student.

“It is a sad day. Nick's leadership did so much to move RUW forward. We were privileged to have had access to his knowledge and judgement. He will be missed.”  

–Michal Bardecki, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

“The entire OWWA community has lost a true water champion.”

– Michele Grenier, RUW Board of Advisors, Executive Director, OWWA

“I am deeply saddened by the news of our loss. Prayers and fond memories are what we have to remember our dearly departed Nick. We will all miss the presence of a truly kind person.”

– Yaser Dahman, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

“Nick and I go all the way back to when his first wife Donna went to school with me at Milton District High School. It is such a small world. I later met and worked with Nick while he was at OCWA. Then he arrived at Ryerson and we had the opportunity to work together again. I recall once instance, when my student Francesca and I went to Curve Lake to meet with James Whetung (summer 2017). Nick had hoped to come with us, but was unable. Instead, he facilitated the meeting with James. Nick was on the phone with us the entire time that we paddled with James through the wetlands and wild rice. Nick had gone to High School there, so Francesca and I took a photo of us in front of his alma mater. Probably my fondest memories of RUW are of working with Nick (and Angela) huddled over many, many drafts of the Strategic Plan (2017-2022). I will miss him so much...”

– Lynda McCarthy, Professor, Department Chemistry and Biology

“We are all deeply saddened to hear of Nick’s passing. I always enjoyed working with him and will always remember his calm voice and demeanour, professionalism, and kind personality. He was dedicated and always had great ideas about the sector’s opportunities and challenges. He was a great friend and will be greatly missed.”

– Irene Hassas, RUW Board of Advisors, Director, Aslan Technologies

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Nick Reid. It is a great loss to our community. We lost a great man and a long-time supporter of us all. He will be truly missed and we will forever cherish our wonderful memories of him. I extend my condolences to his family and our community.”

– Mehrab Mehrvar, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

“Nick was one of the first people that I met when starting to work at Ryerson. He was so relaxed and kind and welcoming, I immediately felt at ease. I felt like I knew him as soon as I met him. He turned out to be a wonderful person. And I really enjoyed working alongside him.”

– Michael Garroni, Building Manager, CUI

“Nick was an amazing person. I’ll miss his encouraging, supportive, and fun comments. I hope his soul rests in peace, and condolences for all of his family and friends.”

– Pinaz Mehta, RUW Student 2015-2017