In Memoriam: Charles Pancerzewski

January 17, 2023
Charles Pancerzewski photographed by Greg Ehlers, Simon Fraser University

It is with deep sadness and a sense of loss that we share the news of the passing of Charles Pancerzewski, a long-standing contributor to the Bill Reid Centre at SFU and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art. Charles passed in December of 2022. He will be missed dearly.

Charles was a philanthropist, community leader, and lover of Indigenous arts of the Northwest Coast. As a generous and early supporter of the Bill Reid Centre, along with his wife, Gayle, he has made a lasting impression.

Charles made many contributions to the Bill Reid Centre over the years, the majority of which were directed to benefit student employees and interns. Most recently, he contributed matching funds to sponsor a Mitacs Post-doctoral fellow, a unique position that has had a significant impact on the young scholar’s career.

Charles and Gayle were also the patrons of the Bill Reid Foundation and Gallery (Stewards of SFU’s Bill Reid Collection) in downtown Vancouver. They gave generously toward I7DANsu’s (James Hart’s) iconic Celebration of Bill Reid Pole that adorns the gallery space.

In 2005, the Pancerzewskis also sponsored the Bill Reid Foundation’s acquisition of Bill Reid’s Black Eagle canoe from the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa, ON. In 2011, the canoe became a part of SFU’s Bill Reid Collection, and in 2014 they again thoughtfully contributed to have the canoe relocated to SFU's Mountain-top campus in Burnaby, B.C. where it could be protected from the elements under cover of the Academic Quadrangle.

Bill Reid's Black Eagle canoe from the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa sponsored by the Pancerzewskis

With his great generosity, Charles Pancerzewski has left an indelible imprint on the Bill Reid Foundation and Gallery, the Bill Reid Centre at SFU, and SFU as a whole. We extend our deepest condolences to the Pancerzewski family.