Frank Eastham: 1944-1998

Loved and respected by all


The following remarks were made by UBC President Martha Piper at a memorial service held for Frank Eastham at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on Nov. 18. Others participating in the service, which was attended by more than 400 members of the campus community, included Vice-President, Administration and Finance, Terry Sumner, Harvey Burian, Human Resources, as well as representatives from across campus.

I remember the first time I met Frank Eastham -- we were both between jobs; Frank was considering returning to UBC after a brief stint at Bell Canada, and I was preparing to join UBC as I completed my term at U of A.

It was a wonderful meeting, as we both shared our excitement and expectations for UBC. Although I can't recall the details of our conversation, I remember vividly the feeling I had after interacting with Frank--warm, real, sincere, caring, bright, positive and most of all, energetic, enthusiastic and fun.

It is this feeling we honour today as we gather to pay our respects to Frank Eastham, a great human being who has touched, directly or indirectly, all of our lives here at UBC. As a university community, we offer our most sincere condolences to Frank's family members who are with us today.

We also gather today to celebrate Frank's life and his zest for life -- his commitment to this university, and his dedication to its people.

Frank Eastham joined UBC in April 1991 as associate vice-president, Human Resources and provided distinctive leadership in the areas of human resources and labor relations, setting this university as an example for the country.

A recipient of the 1996 Award of distinction from the B.C. Human Resources Management Association, Frank demonstrated the highest degree of professional practice in everything he did.

Throughout his time at UBC his commitment to the university, and its people, was unconditional. He believed passionately in the academic mission of UBC and cared deeply about its future. His voice, and all of its amazing metaphors, phrases and nuances, was respected, whether at the VP level or the negotiating table--whether in Victoria as our representative to the government or in consultation with our sister institutions.

We all listened to and learned from Frank--benefiting on a daily basis from his wisdom and sage counsel. Rarely did a day go by that Frank would not leave me a voice mail message -- supporting, advising, comforting, guiding. We will miss hearing his voice, but we will remember its message.

Perhaps more important than his voice, Frank made a difference to this university through his actions. Frank performed in a way, that few others do...taking every initiative seriously -- preparing every presentation with utmost care -- taking responsibility for all of his actions, moving agendas positively forward. In short, Frank "walked the talk" and ensured that we all did likewise.

How many times were we all challenged by Frank to do what we said we would do? Popping his head into my door, he would cajole me into action, urging me to make a decision or begin an initiative. Frank understood how to get things done; but perhaps most important, he understood how to get others to get things done. We will miss Frank's activity, but we will remember his actions and will strive to continue to act as he would have wanted us to.

Rarely, at a university, is there an individual who is loved and respected by all -- students, staff and faculty. Frank Eastham was such a person -- one whom we all benefited from knowing and working with. It is for this reason, that we are all experiencing such a profound sense of loss.

Each of us will miss Frank terribly -- in our own ways -- but likewise, each of us will remember him, and through our memories, will strive to live up to his high standards and actions to create the university community, here at UBC, that Frank so deeply cared about and believed in.