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Hillar Auksi

April 11, 1949 -  March 8, 2024

Hillar Auksi died at the age of 75 in Canmore, AB.  Hillar was born in Hitchin, England to his parents Jüri and Ella Auksi.  His parents and his older brother Peter had emigrated to England from Estonia through Germany in World War II and when Hillar was 3 the family  emigrated to Canada when Jüri won a penny soccer lottery.  Estonian was his first language and he learned English playing on Clifton Street in Toronto with other children his age.  He was fully bilingual by the time he started kindergarten.  Most of his childhood and university years were spent in Scarborough, Ontario.

Hillar completed his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 1978.  He learned to scuba dive while at university and developed his love for travel exploring both underwater and the lands and cultures he was visiting.

After working as a postdoctoral fellow doing penicillin chemistry research at Queen’s University, Hillar moved to Edmonton to work for Raylo Chemicals continuing drug research.  Here he met his wife, Elizabeth, and started his lifelong love for the mountains.  Hillar and Liz (nee Stubley) were married in 1983 and had their first children, Heather and Kimberly, in 1986.  He was devoted to his family and took part in all aspects of family life.

In 1987, Hillar moved back to Aurora, Ontario and joined EcoPlastics as a research scientist in the area of photodegradable plastics.  Michelle, his youngest daughter, was born in 1989.

Hillar moved from EcoPlastics to Ortech in 1996 where he was the manager of the Polymer Chemistry group.  He loved this job because every day there was a different problem to solve. He stayed with Ortech until he retired in 2012.  Hillar’s keen intellect, his quiet nature and unique problem-solving skills made him respected by all.

Hillar was always a movie buff and it was during his time at Ortech that he became an ardent supporter of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).  He spent his annual holidays watching as many as 45 films during the 10 days of TIFF.  After the sudden death of Michelle a few days after her 18th birthday, although he still attended TIFF, he slowly decreased the number of movies he watched.

Also during this time period, he and Liz started to enjoy travelling within Canada.  With their trailer, they travelled coast to coast visiting all provinces at least once.  His favourite province to visit was Newfoundland.

He loved to surf the web.  His very first internet search was for banana stickers, which he had been collecting from a very early age.  He also liked reading about current events around the world and using various apps, starting with ICQ, to chat with people in other countries.  He loved to share his knowledge and explain how and why that knowledge was important.

When Liz retired in 2016, they moved to Canmore to be in the mountains.  His love of the outdoors and of adventures shone through.  His favourite adventure was the rafting trip on the Nahanni River.

Hillar will be remembered for his quiet, genteel humour (his last words were a joke), his mischievous nature, his positive outlook on life and as a loving and protective father

Special thanks go to Dr. Ruth Eeles and the Canmore Hospital for their help in shepherding him through his final days.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Palliative Care Society of the Bow Valley, (, the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation, 1100 Hospital Place, Canmore, AB  T1W 1N2  dedicated to the Canmore Hospital or a charity of your choice.

A celebration of his life will be held in Canmore, AB on June 1, 2024 between 2 and 5 p.m. at the Canmore Golf Club and in Aurora, ON on June 22, 2024 between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Aurora Legion.


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