It is with great sadness that we inform you that Neil Hershfield passed away on October 13, 2022. He died peacefully, with family by his side, after a long stay in hospital.
He is survived by his son Zachary (Suzette), granddaughter Jin, brother Larry (Janet) and nephews, Daniel and Evan (Jen) Hershfield. He was predeceased by his parents, Sam and Vera Hershfield, and his son, Gabriel, who succumbed to leukemia in 2021.
Neil, known as Oz by many, was an adventurer, an artist, a storyteller, a community volunteer, and a highly talented actuarial systems developer. He was also a devoted son, father, brother, and friend to many around the world.
In 1963, Neil travelled across Europe and North Africa, and in 1967, he embarked on a five-year odyssey, joining communities in Greece, India, and Australia. Later, he would spend two years travelling throughout Mexico, Central and South America. His approach was to go to where tourists do NOT, including the Fijian island of Tavewa, which he visited numerous times over the decades.
Neil was endlessly creative. He loved to draw, often making hand-drawn greeting cards for loved ones, and achieved Honourable Mention thrice in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational Contest. His final poem was a tribute to his son Gabe, which he shared at a Celebration of Life held in July.
He was giving with his time, volunteering for years at Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Chalmers Foundation, and Down Syndrome Resource Foundation. He was instrumental in developing the game concept for the hugely successful Up the Down Market fundraising event, which continues annually in various cities across Canada.
He achieved great success in developing in-house actuarial systems and maintaining other internal systems software. Wherever he worked, he was an important “glue” as company confidant, prankster, and lead lunch organizer.
Beyond all this, he was loved as a warm, supportive, smart, funny, fascinating human being, and his final years following a health crisis in 2010 showed incredible grace and courage. He will be remembered as someone who always had a story to tell and always told it well.