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Discussion: Adrian Zissos

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 21, 2018 3:41 PM # 
I have some incredibly shocking and sad news to share.

Adrian Zissos was out skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre (as he loved to) on Thursday morning and while stopped to talk to a friend on the trail he had a heart attack. He didn't make it.

His loss is devastating to those of us who knew him personally and also leaves a huge hole in the orienteering community in North America. He was such a positive driving force in orienteering in Calgary and Alberta and across the country. He was the IOF advisor for many Canadian Championships and other events, has played various roles on Orienteering Canada committees, and was a key player in starting Foothills Orienteering's very successful SOGO Adventure Running programs.

He will be missed and his loss will be felt in our community for many many years to come.

Feel free to post your thoughts and memories here, or for those of us on Facebook there is a public group for those wanting to share:
Remembering Adrian Zissos
Feel free to request an invite or add anyone who knew Adrian to the group.
Apr 21, 2018 4:24 PM # 
Apr 21, 2018 4:27 PM # 
That is sad news indeed. I hadn’t seen Adrian in a few years, but then ran into him in Barcelona in February. What a fine fellow, and it was so good to see him.
Apr 21, 2018 5:54 PM # 
Same for me as for Charlie, met him at a couple of WOCs a few years ago. Noticed that he was present in Barcelona but never met him.
Very sad news...
Apr 21, 2018 6:33 PM # 
How shocking and sad! Thank you for sharing this with us here, Jeff. I am grateful for Adrian’s many contributions to and infectious passion for orienteering. I miss him. So many of us were touched by his warm and generous spirit. My heart goes out to those who were close to him for this profound loss.
Apr 21, 2018 8:11 PM # 
I'm very sad to read this. He was a wonderful person to know, work with and orienteer with.
Apr 21, 2018 10:13 PM # 
My initial reaction the same as JJ's. Adrian contributed greatly to our sport. We didn't always agree, but I always enjoyed those never-frequent-enough opportunities to share O experiences with him. He will be missed.
Apr 21, 2018 10:31 PM # 
No words. Such sad news. The north american orienteering family just lost a true giant. He will be greatly missed.
Apr 21, 2018 10:40 PM # 
So sad. A wonderful, kind, talented man. He will be missed by all of us.
Apr 21, 2018 11:54 PM # 
Such sad news. He was such a great guy to work with on NAOC and he loved orienteering so much. Such a loss to North American orienteering.
Apr 22, 2018 2:06 AM # 
Adrian was a shining example of what it meant to be a good person. I feel so fortunate to have known him. I'd like to be more like him.
Apr 22, 2018 4:22 AM # 
Just an incredible shock to hear this. Among many other things, Adrian brought fantastic, professional photography to North American orienteering. His photo that most sticks in my mind is this one of Carol (Walker) Ross at WOC 2010 in Norway, but there's much more in Adrian's Flickr photostream.
Apr 22, 2018 4:33 AM # 
I will really hit me when nothing updates anymore on Flickr. Such a devastating and surreal loss. My love and support to Charlotte and all.
Apr 22, 2018 9:17 AM # 
Oh man, that photo brought up more feelings. There's actually a very funny series of photos from the following seconds with me trying to punch with Emit. My arm goes through a whole range of rotations and the look on my face gets increasingly frustrated. Not to mention the part where I was coming at the control from the wrong direction! Adrian very kindly did not post those and reveal how much time I wasted at world champs not being able to punch but we've laughed about it a bunch of times in the years since. Looking for those photos brought up all our emails over the years. He was just the best. I will miss him so much.
Apr 22, 2018 10:45 AM # 
That is a diabolical GO control location. And a guy who would wait up there with his camera, and immortalize those tortured expressions...must have had a small devilish streak in his personality. I'm sorry I didn't know him.
Apr 22, 2018 7:25 PM # 
Shocking news. I can't think of anything better than what Clem said.

We met Adrian at the COC Whistler 2014. I never met anyone else who I immediately warmed to as having the same attitude to orienteering as I do. Except he was a warm and lovely person, to which the rest of us can only aspire.
Apr 22, 2018 9:53 PM # 
Heartbreaking news and a huge loss. Reading AZ's Attackpoint comments over the years has been great education for me. He loved to think outside the box and challenge the status quo, as in his essay Why Golf is Better than Orienteering or his rants about old school nylon O suits.

We have been so very lucky to have him. It's tragic that he won't get a chance to race in M95 and share a few more decades of laughs and hugs with his family, friends, fellow orienteers and most of all, his Charlotte.
Apr 22, 2018 10:20 PM # 
More info from Kitty Jones on Facebook:

I had a phone conversation with Charlotte this evening. I had emailed her asking “what would you like us to tell the orienteering community?” Here are her answers. Feel free to circulate to the people you think would like to know this.

There will be a small private service for only the immediate family on Tuesday, April 24. Sometime in May or June, there will be a celebration of Adrian’s life – “a big party” – to which orienteers across Canada and all Adrian’s other circles of friends etc will be welcome. Perhaps even with an orienteering event?! It will be planned later – no date set yet. There will not be a funeral as such.

Condolences can be mailed to the Orienteering Canada (OC) address: 1239 Colgrove Avenue NE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2E 5C3.

The obituary is not yet done. However, it will include a list of options for donations, based on the list of charities in Adrian’s will. This list includes Orienteering Canada’s Endowment Fund as well as SOGO Adventure Running (FWOC’s junior program), and other charities, and will probably include the Heart and Stroke Foundation as well.

For orienteers who wish to donate to either the Orienteering Canada Endowment Fund, or SOGO Adventure Running, you can choose one of the methods described on OC’s “Donate” webpage here: It is possible that Orienteering Canada might send out more specific information about this in the next week or so. At present, you cannot donate to SOGO Adventure Running through Chimp, and therefore, if you want a tax receipt for a SOGO donation, you’d have to send a cheque or E-transfer to OC and specify that you want it to go to SOGO. Then the OC Treasurer would send you a tax receipt later. If you choose to donate to the Endowment Fund, doing that through Chimp will automatically provide you with a tax receipt.

For orienteers in the Calgary area, Charlotte will need friends to spend time with her for several months at least, because she is feeling that she cannot be alone 24/7. Family will be there for the next 2 weeks or so, but after that, she will need company for potentially a long time. I promised we would be there for her for the long term.

Charlotte’s words: “I can’t imagine Adrian not being in this world any more, making things better in the world. But he is still making a difference in the world, even though he isn’t here [through all the innovative ideas he has worked on over the years]. Donations are good, because it shows he is still making a difference in the world, making the world better.” “I am grateful that people are reaching out to me. I have been on the phone a lot. I’ve had hundreds of emails, which I love, but I have not been able to read them all. Keep reaching out to me. But probably not on the phone for the next couple of weeks.”

I hope this is helpful.
Apr 28, 2018 9:35 PM # 
+graeme - it was amazing how you felt comfortable talking with him, as if he was a close friend, even if you rarely bumped into him.
Amazing contributions over the years at events and more - my personal favorite of his written works is forbidden features - not only the canonical reference on this niche of orienteering - also a example of excellence in bringing approachable, researched clarity to a complex technical topic.

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