Garston A. H. Blackwell

Garston A.H. Blackwell

July 26, 1944 - June 7, 2020

Professor Emeritus of Queen’s Mining

Garston passed away peacefully at the age of 75 at Kingston General Hospital on June 7, with his wife Carol by his side. He was born and raised in Camborne, Cornwall, U.K. Predeceased by his parents, Richard and Avis (Williams) and infant brother, Richard.  Beloved husband to Carol for 36 years, cherished by his in-laws Jill and Paul Medvedeff and Irene and Ron Simkus and their families, his numerous cousins and their family members in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as well as many friends  throughout the world.

Garston attended the Camborne School of Mines in his hometown.  Upon graduation in 1968, he emigrated to Canada where he was employed as a mining engineer with Falconbridge Nickel Mines in Sudbury.  In 1971, he was accepted by Queen's Mining on a Master's program, achieving his M.Sc. (Eng.) degree in 1973.  Garston then began a very successful career with Brenda Mines Ltd., Noranda, in Peachland, British Columbia, where he rose to the position of Chief Mine Engineer.  During this time he met Carol who became his wife in 1984.  Upon the closure of Brenda Mines in 1986, Garston returned to Queen's University as Associate Professor of Mining Engineering.  Thus began the final phase of an illustrious career.

Garston was highly respected by his colleagues and loved by his students who twice recognized him with the Golden Apple award for excellence in teaching.  He vigorously maintained his contacts with industry through extended industrial leaves with Barrick in Nevada and IMDI in Chile. These contacts were instrumental in enabling him to organize ambitious field trips for his final year students to Western Canada and later, to Chile.  In 1981, his joint paper with Peter N. Calder won the prize for the best Canadian paper on a Rock Mechanics subject from the International Society of Rock Mechanics. Garston was active in the Canadian Institute of Mining, serving on several committees and receiving the CIM Fellowship award in 1995.  He also set and marked examination papers for the Professional Engineers Society of Ontario.  In 2002, he co-authored the student textbook entitled 'Applied Mineral Inventory Estimation' with Alastair J. Sinclair.

In retirement, Garston fulfilled his dream of owning a sailboat and spent much of his time working on it and sailing locally with family and friends.He was an excellent gourmet chef and enjoyed treating his family and friends to his specialities of seafood, salads and Cornish pasties. Garston was a devoted animal lover who adored his cats and dogs and found great joy in all their mischievous antics.  He was a very supportive and insightful mentor to all young people in his family and his students at Queen's University, unobtrusively guiding their career choices and life decisions.  Garston was a world traveller who became easily immersed in the local cultures of the countries he visited for business and pleasure, taking every opportunity to reconnect with widely dispersed family members, friends, former colleagues and students.  Larger than life, both literally and figuratively, Garston was kind and generous with a good sense of humour.

He was a treasured husband, son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, brother-in-law, uncle, great uncle, godfather and friend.  We will miss him dearly and keep him forever in our hearts.

The family would like to extend their gratitude to Dr. Brian Farnell and Dr. Catherine Lowe for their compassionate care of Garston throughout his illness.  A special thank you is given to dear family friend, Keith Notley who supported Carol in Garston's final hours.  In keeping with Garston's wishes, a private graveside ceremony was held on Monday, June 15. For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to The Kingston Humane Society or The Canadian Naval Memorial Trust.