Birth: July 11, 1945 in Calgary, Alberta
Death: April 13, 1021 in Victoria, B.C.
South Section – Plot 73
Sands Funeral Home in Victoria posted the following obituary:
Ed’s short but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer saw him approach his illness as he approached everything in life: with his eyes wide open and his mind whirring. He researched his treatment options, trying to understand all the facts and possibilities. Rather than passively accept what he was being told, he played an active role in making the decisions surrounding his treatment. He remained, until the end, the captain of his ship—his eyes trained positively on the horizon, his hand firmly on the tiller.
Ed’s career was long and varied. His keen eye for detail and his broad international experience made him an invaluable asset in the mining and energy industries, especially in safety, environmental, and regulatory domains. His work saw him take extended assignments in Albania, Indonesia, and Chile, and he took every opportunity to immerse himself in the local culture. His work in Asia in particular affected him deeply. He carried the memories of these places with him for as long as he lived.
Over the last decade of his life, he travelled extensively with his wife [edited for privacy]. Rather than walking the beaten path, the two of them sought adventures in far-flung corners of the globe. He remained always curious, always open to new experiences and new ways of seeing the world and its people. This made him an ideal travelling companion.
He is mourned by his wife of 16 years. The two of them were nearly inseparable, and the love between them was palpable. They never seemed to tire of each other, and they would no sooner arrive home than they would start planning their next adventure. Ed planned to see the world together. Rather than cursing the illness that cut these plans short, Ed and [edited for privacy] spent their last few months together reflecting on and cherishing the memories they had made together on the world’s stage.
He is remembered fondly by his beloved grandchildren, who always looked forward to their visits with “Zaydah”. Ed instilled his love of swimming in both of the children, and he had hoped to introduce them to his other loves: football, reading (particularly historical fiction), fishing, and his late-in-life passion, hummingbirds. He is remembered by his two stepchildren and their wives, who remember, above all, how happy Ed made Leyla while they were together. Ed is fondly remembered as well by his extended family and clans in Norway.
Rabbi Lynn Greenhough, of Kolot Mayim Reform Temple, Victoria, BC officiated at the funeral and gave the following eulogy:
Ed H. Kustan Ph.D., P. Eng., Q.E.P.
Died Tuesday morning, April13, 2021, 1 Iyar, 5781 Buried April 14, 2 Iyar
Yitzhak ben Shalom v’Chanah
Meeting a man for the first time in hospital on Zoom is not ideal; for a
man like Ed, it must have been challenging for me to see him in a
hospital gown, restrained by medical circumstance. For someone like
Ed who led with acute vision in every sense of the word, it must have
been especially ironic for him to see me in such a detached, mediated
manner. Nevertheless, his essence came through the screen – a
perspicacious mind, even within a now frailty of body.
His so very dearly beloved wife, Leyla at his side, we spoke about
what he thinks of as the gifts of his life. And then Ed asked me two
questions, that have filled my mind ever since. “What is your
purpose?” And then, “What is your role?” These questions, I believe,
reflected the degree to which purpose and role filled Ed’s life.
Be it ensuring environmental regulations were being properly
observed, be it learning from and with local cultures, his life purpose
was filled with attention, with curiosity and with immersive learning.
A more well-travelled man is hard to imagine: from Albania to Chile,
from Taiwan to the Northwest Territories, Ed brought his
management and environmental expertise to gas and oil industries
worldwide. He was the ultimate professional steward.
Ed brought his passions for the natural world even in his retirement –
if we can use such a word for a man of his vigour. He loved his
hummingbirds, their breasts so vividly brilliant, even in his mind’s
memory. In particular, he loved his Ruby, and I am certain Ruby had
great affection for Ed. One often hears the thrum of hummingbird
wings before seeing them approach. They are singular – maybe not
quite anti-social, but one rarely sees them in company. They are very
intelligent and have a capacity to recognize and remember us mere
humans. No small wonder these small chittering birds captivated Ed –
I think he saw his soul reflected in their loyalty and intelligence, their
speed and their industry.
Ed loved living in this city of gardens – and he brought his hands and
his back with him. He spoke with me about spring coming – and with
the warming days, he knew soon his beloved Rhododendron would be
blooming. I asked him how many rhododendron he had planted out in
East Sooke and he figured over 40. That is a lot of digging. A lot of
mulching. Rhododendrons seem to inspire a particular passion for a
certain few – and it may be that same passion Ed held for his Leyla
and for Ruby and for his family. We are now fully in our springtime–
how touching that we are placing Ed into the same ground, in the very
time these beautiful bushes are beginning to bloom. Colour, dampness,
precision and chance. “The poetry of the earth is
never dead.” – John Keats.
But Ed didn’t just love birds and blooms – Ed was Zayda, a man who
dearly loved his grandchildren. He lived up to one of the teachings of
his Jewish heritage, ensuring that Ainsley and her brother Grayson
learned to swim. In doing so, they learned to know not just their
physical limits but how to reach beyond their limits, trusting their
bodies to float with their newly learned movements. Ed was teaching
them a skill for their lifetimes.
For a man from the prairies the watery environs of Victoria must have
been like the Balm of Gilead. I could hear the tender love in his voice
as he spoke of his garden. Birds, plants and children – the hands of a
man who could hold the potential of life in a most delicate trust.
Several times I heard Ed described as a straight shooter. Say what you
mean and mean what you say. My sense is that you didn’t get too far
with pretense with Ed. This side of gruff, a tenderness exposed
through his steadfastness, Ed was a man of conviction.
Ed was a political person, working with the Conservative party in
Alberta and here in BC. The left coast may not have been ripe ground
for such a blue Conservative, but there are a few colleagues hiding in
the rhodies and the magnolias. I think of all the many ways we are
conserves. We conserve our energies near end-of-life, we conserve
food for the darkness of seasons ahead, we conserve art so that a
painting doesn’t disintegrate, so papers don’t yellow into brittleness.
Yet even with our conserving, we may only challenge our own
And so, here we stand. A body lives a certain span of years. We will
each find that span – be it long of day or short. Ed and Leyla found
each other and had nearly 17 years together to love and build a rich
life. Leyla will continue to conserve her memories and love for Ed, and
he will, I am sure shortly be putting on his heavenly gardening gloves
in the world beyond.
Today Ed is particularly missed and loved by many, including:
* BRYAN SZABO (Josefine) SON, not in attendance – resides in Budapest
* STEVEN SZABO (Kristy, Ainsley (nine) Grayson (six) – resides in Lethbridge,
* LONG TIME FRIENDS Dr. Bob Hayden (Elaine) and Karen Hoskyn, RN (Ian
Moss) for their support above and beyond by all four and to Bob and
Karen medical expertise that assisted Ed (and me) throughout this journey
פּ״נ (Here lies)
Devoted son of
Solomon and Annie (Kaplan) Kustan,
Adoring husband to Leyla
Beloved Zaydah to Ainsley and Grayson
Loyal friend to many
Unyielding and Unforgettable
ת נ צ ב ה
abbreviation for Biblical quote: “May his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.”
Annie Kaplan Kustan (1916–2004)
Solomon Kustanovitch (1903–1994)
Maurice Louis Kustan (1943–2010)