Family, friends and co-workers gathered on Saturday, January 22 to remember Randy Sulyma.
Sulyma died tragically in a car accident on January 14 outside of Chetwynd, B.C. while travelling to a speed skating meet.
Hundreds gathered in the Fort St. James Secondary School gymnasium for a beautiful celebration of his life. Many people related touching moments and humourous stories describing an energetic man who lived life to the fullest.
The 43-year-old forester and biologist spent almost 20 years in Fort St. James with his wife Sandra. They have two children, Joel and Emily, who have grown up in the Fort.
Sulyma coached soccer and speed skating for many of the local youth, and helped to promote and improve coaching as well.
Sulyma was described as a passionate man who provided untold inspiration to the entire community through his coaching and love of sport and his integrity and love of his job as well.
Sulyma’s mother Sylvia wrote that he was “a wonderful son who loved life and loved others.”
One speaker called him a person who “never wasted a day.”
The celebration of his life was later followed by a candlelit skate on the speed skating oval.
In honour of Sulyma’s passion for coaching and also for his love of his job studying wildlife biology and forestry, a trust fund is being created.
Randy’s wife Sandra thought of establishing a trust after people offered to send flowers and she thought of ways to provide an ongoing legacy for her husband.
She says the fund would be something Fort groups could access to further the expertise of their coaches.
While nothing is set, Sandra envisions local coaches being able to bring in experts on coaching or nutrition or other sports-related fields to develop coaches or to send coaches away for workshops or training.
There might also be opportunities to establish a scholarship for students interested in going into wildlife or forestry-related fields.
“I’d much rather see money going into that than flowers,” said Sandra Sulyma.
That is what Randy would have wanted, she believes, something which perpetuates what he stood for.