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Service

A Celebration of Darwin’s life will be held at a later date.

Donations

If desired, remembrances may be made to:

Western Football - providing financial assistance to student athletes
Donations to the Darwin M. Semotiuk Football Award at Western University attention Kendra Lealess, Western University, Westminster Hall, Suite 110, 1151 Richmond St. London, ON N6A 3K7 (cheques payable to Western University) 519-661-4200
Online donations: www.westernconnect.ca/semotiuk

London Community Foundation
Donations to London Community Foundation c/o Semotiuk Family Fund
London Community Foundation, Covent Garden Market, 130 King St. London ON N6A 1C5
519-667-1600 Ext. 207
Online donations: https://www.lcf.on.ca/donate

 

Darwin Semotiuk

Death Notice

At 76 years of age, after a brief illness at University Hospital but having lived life to its fullest, Darwin Semotiuk passed on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

Darwin meant so much to so many and was truly one-of-a-kind. He was gentle and kind, a leader and mentor who exemplified character and integrity, a thoughtful and caring person all wrapped up with an easy charm. His love of travel and adventure, his value of education, his curiosity, integrity and passion for life, as well as his commitment to community were lifelong values and have been ingrained in his kids and grandkids.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Darwin made his way in life - he played sports, studied hard (even on 'dates' with Mary) and earned scholarships to the University of Alberta (BPE 1963, MA 1965) where he was captain of both the football and basketball teams (earning Athlete of the Year in his final seasons) and Ohio State (PhD 1970). Darwin also represented Canada and caught the travel bug while playing for Canada's National Basketball team in 1965-66. He was a faculty member at the University of Manitoba, Ohio State University and most notably at The University of Western Ontario spanning 43 years (1971-2014), after which he was granted professor emeritus status. During his time at Western as a tenured professor in the Faculty of Physical Education (now the School of Kinesiology), Darwin was head coach of the Western Football team (1975-83, Vanier Cups in 1976, 1977, Coach of the Year in 1976) and was the Chair of Intercollegiate Athletics for 20 years, where he held student athletes' academic success in the highest regard and viewed athletes as people rather than players. A former player said that there are two types of coaches - transactional (for the moment) and transformational (for a lifetime). Darwin’s guidance, intellect and compassion clearly made him a transformational coach, had an indelible effect and will live on through the many that were fortunate to be associated with him.

Darwin’s awards and honours are many, but some that he particularly valued and hang in his home office are the City of London Mayor's Honour List (2002), University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame (2002), The "W" Club Hall of Fame (2007), International Fellow for the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education (2010), London Sportsperson of the Year (2010) and the Western Humanitarian Award (2014) which recognizes Darwin's efforts in humanitarian work in education and sport in Cuba.

Above the many awards, recognitions and accolades, Darwin was first and foremost a loving and wonderful husband of 54 years to Mary, a proud father to Krista & Brad, a caring father-in-law to Alec & Kara, a doting Papa to Noah, Tyler, Lauren, Duncan & Theodore and a loving brother to Wally and Natalka.

Touching so many lives, Darwin was a coach, teacher and mentor who deeply cared for his athletes, students, colleagues and teams. He was a tried-and-true friend to so many who loved him dearly. His gift of connecting with people was one of his many super-powers - one couldn't help but feel special and valued in his presence. His open heartedness often led him to spark long and lively conversations with strangers in London and around the world. His positivity and enthusiasm for life had a rippling effect that probably expands far beyond what we'll ever know.

Anyone who knew Darwin would know how loyal and supportive he was to his many communities. As a Western Mustang, he was 'purple & proud' and could be seen wearing his signature purple apparel, as a Londoner and Canadian he would sport his Canadian flag at home and abroad, and as a husband, father and grandfather he would take pride in his greatest legacy, his family.

Darwin was always up for a game of golf at Sunningdale, a good long walk, a visit with fellow Wingaters at the cottage, an airport pickup, a Tim Horton's coffee with his coffee club, cheering on Western teams, apple picking with his family, pancakes at the sugar bush or an ice cream cone at the Sparta gas station. He loved spending his time and life with Mary and his family and friends and could also be found checking the latest sport scores and clips on his ipad while relaxing in his home of over 40 years on Hastings Drive or at the cottage overlooking Lake Erie.

The words shared in the many notes and tributes from people who cared for Darwin truly capture who he was and how he will be remembered. Darwin's life was fully lived and enjoyed - his memory and values will live on in those who were fortunate to have known and loved him.

A Celebration of Darwin’s life will be held at a later date. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the doctors, nurses and staff at University Hospital who helped Darwin over these challenging past weeks. Private interment will be held later at Sparta South Cemetery (located near the family cottage and a great ice cream place).

If desired, remembrances may be made to:

Western Football - providing financial assistance to student athletes
Donations to the Darwin M. Semotiuk Football Award at Western University attention Kendra Lealess, Western University, Westminster Hall, Suite 110, 1151 Richmond St. London, ON N6A 3K7 (cheques payable to Western University) 519-661-4200
Online donations: www.westernconnect.ca/semotiuk

London Community Foundation
Donations to London Community Foundation c/o Semotiuk Family Fund
London Community Foundation, Covent Garden Market, 130 King St. London ON N6A 1C5
519-667-1600 Ext. 207
Online donations: https://www.lcf.on.ca/donate

For those who are already missing Darwin's voice, you're welcome to listen to a podcast recorded by his son Brad on Father's Day this past year.
https://www.stealfromthebest.com/podcast/dr-darwin-m-semotiuk-professor/

Condolences may be emailed to: info@harrisfuneralhome.ca