We Remember

FIPKE, Wayne Clifford

October 17, 1948 — March 16, 2022

Wayne Clifford Fipke passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer. Wayne was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1948 to Ed and Anne Fipke. He lived with his family in Alberta from 1951 to 1961. Undoubtedly, his stories of mile-long walks to school as a kid through 6 ft of snow in -40-degree winters helped develop his famous outlook on life: Stay positive, and never give up!

Wayne moved with his parents and siblings, Chuck, Neil, and Carol to the Okanagan Valley to thaw out for a bit in 1962.  The Fipkes ended up in Peachland on a little farm that the family endearingly called “the shack”. Times were financially difficult for the Fipkes, but Wayne was dedicated to bettering himself. He was a curious and ambitious student through high school, and there was no doubt he was going to find a way to get to university.

Wayne always loved Bob Dylan and the 60s music scene, so it was no surprise Wayne met his future wife, Ava, at a hippy folk-singing circle. He fell in love with her voice, and they found themselves a couple during the 1969 “summer of love”. Inspired by the times, they promptly got married, bought a Volkswagen bus, and became the parents of twins, Asaph and Leila, the following year.  Through these early years, Wayne worked hard to support his family while he attended UBC pursuing his dream to have a career in the creative arts. He wrote plays, painted LOTR battles, did aerial photography, woodworking, and became an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy novels.   He graduated with Master of Fine Arts in 1973.  He was drawn back to his Alberta prairie roots just a year later, moving his young family back to Edmonton to become the Financial Director of Performing Arts for Alberta Culture. He was tasked with distributing arts grants to budding artists, which set in motion a career that mixed his passion for creativity and business.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Wayne also completed a Certificate in Arts administration at Harvard University in 1977.  This ultimately landed him the coveted job as the General Manager of the Citadel Theatre from 1977 to 1988.  It was one of the most memorable times of his life. During his tenure, he quadrupled the attendance at the theatre, hosted the Queen of England for a special performance, oversaw the creation of the Edmonton International Children’s Festival, wrote and directed several plays, and found endless inspiration among the play-writes, directors, designers, and actors.   At home as a father, he inspired his twin kids to act in plays at the Citadel, coached his son Asaph’s soccer team to win the provincial championships, and welcomed his 3rd child Johanna (his “little Hanny”, as he called her) into his exciting world.

Those who knew him well in the mid 80s, remember he wore his Indiana Jones-style hat during those years, probably as a reminder to himself that the next adventure is what defines you.  After over a decade at the Citadel, Wayne was itching for the next adventure.  Soon he and Ava found themselves back in the Okanagan with a brand-new baby son, Beau. It was here Wayne decided to go full “Indiana Jones” and to team up with his ambitious and adventurous older brother, Chuck, a geologist who had this crazy notion that there were diamonds hidden in the Canadian north.  Well, it turned out Chuck was right, and after some wild adventures prospecting in the Northwest Territories, Wayne helped his brother bring DiaMet public, and the company became one of the biggest success stories in Canadian mining history.

After stepping down as President of DiaMet in 1993, Wayne decided to retire and relax …. Well, not quite.  This was Wayne Fipke after-all!

The next stage of Wayne’s “retirement” years included designing and building a massive, multi-year construction project that expanded his lakeside home into a neo-classical estate. He also designed and built a chalet at Big White.   Even when he decided to take it easy for a few years he filled his life to the brim: He put in over 100 days a year snowboarding at Big White in the winter, wakeboarding on the lake in the summer, learned to fly a fixed-wing plane, wrote screenplays, and more than anything, loved hosting his kids and their growing families at the lake-side estate.  But then in his 60s, when most men are taking up golf, Wayne decided to buy a ranch in Beaverdell, BC, build a massive log mansion on it, stock it with 500 head of cattle, hire ranch hands, and become a real-life cowboy.  Wayne loved those years and the adventures that came with managing a dude ranch. But it was hard work for even a 20-year-old, let alone a man who had just officially become a senior citizen!  It might have been a kick in the knee by a wild stallion, or birthing a calf himself in minus 30 degrees, or maybe the fact he wanted to spend more time with his 6 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, but he finally decided to hang up his cowboy hat, and slow things down a bit.   But he still managed to clock in 100 days of snowboarding a year through his late 60s, and did a walking safari trip through Africa on his 70th birthday.

In the golden years of his life, Wayne was drawn to Christian teachings. Like many other things in his life, Wayne found deep inspiration in Jesus’s story. He wrote and self-published an epic poem, The Way In, about all the fun, crazy and bizarre adventures of Jesus Christ as a young man, the years the bible omitted from the story of Christ, before he had to become the Messiah.  This is a controversial topic to be sure, and yet a testament to Wayne’s boundless imagination and creativity.

Unfortunately, Wayne was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive terminal blood cancer in 2019 and given months to live.  He treated the diagnosis like he did those famous, cold Alberta winter walks to school as a child: Stay positive and never give up.  Throughout his illness, Wayne took the mission of fighting cancer to the next level; He read and researched incessantly about his disease, becoming a specialist in his own right of this rare form of cancer.  Armed with knowledge, he was able to advocate for himself and become an active participant, creating a treatment plan with his team of doctors. Wayne’s drive to find a cure led him to help fund with his best friend, Dave Mackenzie, a cutting-edge CAR-T cancer trial through BC Cancer.  The treatment miraculously ended up putting Wayne in complete remission.  Incredibly, 33 patients are still alive and cancer-free today because of the ground-breaking trial that he helped fund. Unfortunately, Wayne was one of the few patients that the treatment didn’t completely cure, and the cancer came back. He finally lost his battle after a 2 and half year fight and passed away surrounded by family and love. Wayne is no doubt embarking on a new and inspiring adventure wherever he is now.

Wayne Fipke always lived the inspired life he wanted to live. He never gave up, and always stayed positive.  It was cut too short for him, but his loved ones will remember him for his indomitable spirit, and love of life.

Rest in Peace, Wayne Fipke.  May your spirit live on. We love you.

A private memorial will be held at Springfield Funeral Home and friends and family are invited to attend.  Please contact Wayne’s immediate family for details.

A very special thank-you to the wonderful staff at BC Cancer for their exemplary commitment to Wayne’s treatment. Memorial donations may be made to BC Cancer’s Immunotherapy research, and expressions of sympathy may be made by scrolling down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

Share with Others:

Share on Facebook
Share Via Email

BC Cancer’s Immunotherapy research Link: bccancerfoundation.com/why-give/research/immunotherapy




  • Sharon Bede says:

    I did not know Wayne personally, but as a person living with blood cancer I wish to offer my condolences to a remarkable man who through his dedication and research created a legacy for people being given a diagnosis of an aggressive blood cancer. His funding and drive to find a cure through a trial using CAR-T technology has not only helped 33 patients but because of his motivational spirit , research and funding has given hope to many in the future who are faced with a terminal diagnosis. His efforts, along with Dave Mackenzie , have changed the way we treat this cancer type and have given immunotherapy research in BC a strong foothold domestically and internationally. We are so fortunate that he used his diagnosis to help others and advance science.

  • Kim McCourt says:

    My heartfelt and deepest condolences for your loss. Wayne was an extraordinary person who left a lasting legacy in the world. I’m so very sorry he had to endure the horrors of cancer and that his family and friends had to witness it. He fought hard and helped so many. I will remember him fondly and hope that your memories of him will bring comfort and make you smile and laugh together.

  • Forough Hobuti says:

    My Deepest sympathy and prayers to the family of Wayne Fipke. God bless his soul and give patience to his family.
    He will be for sure missed by everyone who knew him.

  • brent fidler says:

    Wayne was a artistic colleague and friend. I stayed with him in his house while we rehearsed and performed together in his play about Amor De Cosmos meeting Louis Riel for the Edmonton Fringe and afterwards for his public company Diamet. Wayne was never boring for a moment, full of passion and myth, and an appetite for life and the arts that was unequalled. Good night sweet prince.

  • Gordon and Randy Stogre says:

    Our hearts and thoughts are with all of you in his family at this time.
    We remember Wayne so well for his curious, imaginative creative mind and spirit. He was always eager to try on new thoughts and experiences. We look forward to the time in the New World when we will see his smiling face again, but without the marks of age and pain etched onto his face.

  • Elaine Rathjen Lindbjerg says:

    My deepest condolences for the loss of your husband, father, grampa, great grampa and dear friend. I am sorry I could not come to the service but I am so thankful that you had it available for those of us who couldn’t be there. Sending my deepest love, hugs and prayers at this difficult time. May God be with you as the days pass and the memories of the life you all shared with Wayne becomes more and more precious as time passes. Love to all. Elaine

Leave a Condolence Message for the Family

» To share your condolence on this page please fill out the requested fields.
» If you have a photo to share, please do so as families appreciate it. To share a photo (please note, just one photo per condolence please), click the 'Choose File' button and select a photo from your computer.
» Once you are done, click the 'Share' button.
» Your email is never published or shared. Your name and email are both required.

NOTE: all messages will go through an administrative process before being posted.