Emil ‘Extraordinary Senior’ Sorensen

December 23, 1927 – January 9, 2021
The world lost a treasure on this day. Beloved husband and adored father, mentor, teacher, friend to many and kind soul, Emil completed his earthly journey in peace with family by his side. He will join in heaven his parents, brother Vagn, sister Karen, daughter Sigrid and many other family and friends who have gone before.
He leaves his wife Rita, daughter Sophia (Simon), step-grandchildren Claudia and James, sister-in laws Barbara and Evelyn, nieces Kris (David), Louise (Bill), Renee (Gerry), Brenda and nephew Erik (Mercedes) and other extended family to grieve. Special long-time family friends include the Hansens, Carters and the Glens, and his other ‘families’: those at VIU Trades, especially Neil and Jack, who made every day meaningful, productive and enjoyable, friends of Bill W. who demonstrated years of support, and the ‘Wednesday Night Dinner Group’.
Emil began his life in Denmark and grew up working on the castle estate Skafogaard near Randers. In 1950, Emil and his brother Vagn emigrated to Canada, and faced many challenges with steadfast resilience. They also experienced many fun adventures too, and he loved to share those stories.
On a Saturday night at a dance in the small town of Lytton, Emil met Rita, the love of his life, and they were an inseparable couple for 65 years. They were always in motion and together, they raised a family, raised a house, built a boat, traveled, and had a full and meaningful shared life.
Emil’s inquisitive nature and quick mind was well-suited to his chosen field and passion of mechanical trades. He worked in Vancouver at the technical college (now BCIT) and in 1964 moved to the Trades Division at Vancouver Island University (previously Malaspina College).
He retired in 1992 and was enticed back as a full-time volunteer/mentor and occasional instructor five years later – a role he held until the Spring of 2020. He found tremendous joy and pleasure from sharing his knowledge and experience with new generations of trades students and was grateful for every day he spent in the shop.
Emil’s unselfish nature was evident throughout his life, from donating his garden produce to the Salvation Army to acting as Commodore of the Nanaimo Yacht Club and President of the Newcastle Historical Society. In 2018, Emil won the first Extraordinary Senior Award, a province-wide prize that honours a person each year who is 65-years or older who goes “above and beyond to help their community.”
After he completed building his second boat (at age 83), he discovered a new passion which was renovating a heritage tractor. He spent many hours with his good friend Pat M. ‘talking tractors’ and participating in public events with the Mid-Island Vintage Tractor and Equipment Club.
In his final days, Emil said “I’ve had a great life”. It is that fact, which is so reflective of his personality and spirit, which brings us comfort now.
A Celebration of Life will be held when possible and safe to do so. All will be welcome. The family intends to create a scholarship to honour Emil at VIU. To express condolences, share stories or learn about the scholarship, please contact Sophia Sorensen at sorensenpro@gmail.comObituary


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