Derek Wilkinson of Sudbury passed away suddenly on Tuesday October 13th 2009 at
the age of 63. Derek was predeceased by his father, Gordon (Geoff) Wilkinson and will be greatly missed by his mother, Doreen Wilkinson (Stratford). Derek leaves his son, Dr. Dana Wilkinson and his son’s partner Stacy Johnston
(Waterloo), his siblings Trevor & Roda (Toronto), Wendy Wilkinson Haynes (Oakville), Brian (Stratford), Stephen (Oakville), Ian (Stratford), and Shelley& Steve Wilhelm (Stratford). He also leaves four nieces and nephews, Kathryn &
Jordan Haynes, and Khristopher & Reesa Wilhelm. Derek was predeceased by his
beloved partner Pat Aitken, and will be fondly remembered by Pat’s daughter Sheila Aitken-Morrow, her husband Andrew and their sons Gavin and Cameron (Ottawa).
Derek was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England on Nov. 16, 1945 and his family emigrated to Canada shortly thereafter eventually settling in Copper Cliff where he graduated from Copper Cliff High School at the young age of 15. He earned his M.A. at Queen’s University while handling the duties of an RCAF cadet in his spare time. He went on to get his Ph.D from the prestigious London School of Economics, then returned home to teach Sociology at Laurentian
University in Sudbury. Since then he never stopped trying to make the University and Sudbury better in every way he could.
He was chair of the Sociology Department, helped create the Masters program in Applied Sociology and the Phd Program in Human Studies, and was an avid supporter of the bilingual curriculum. He willingly supervised a great many graduate students and published numerous articles on youth out-migration, social capital and social cohesion. He served as Director of the Institute for
Northern Ontario Research and Development, was on the Board of Governers of Laurentian and had most recently been appointed interim Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.
No one knows how many committees and projects he contributed to over the years:
the Senate Committee, the Computing Committee, the Aboriginal Liason Committee,
the Research and Creativity Committee, the Writing Committee, the Diversity Thrives Here! project and many others. He was a founding member of the Social Planning Council of Sudbury, and of 5-Penny New Music, as well as a key strategist for the new school of Architecture and a core member of the Elliot Lake Tracking Study and of the New Rural Economy project.
He was an avid reader who loved to learn new languages, an intense lover of classical music and theater, and a brilliant cook (especially of dubious mushrooms found while walking in the forests of his beloved town).