Markku (Mark) Kullervo Kaarremaa

Photo by Wayne Hiebert
Passed away peacefully, but far too soon on March 2nd at the Palliative Care unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Predeceased by his parents Keijo and Elsa, he is survived by his loving wife of 34 years Liz (Hammond), his son James (Heidi), brother Ilkka (Barbara) and mother-in-law Dodie (Hammond).  Missed and well-loved by his extended family of Lorne (Monica) Hammond, Catherine (Tauno) Tuominen, Sarah (Bruce) Fraser, James (Fern) Hammond, and nephews and nieces:  Christine, Tracy, Jayne, Anne, Alexander, Emily, Kavan, Darby, Adèle, Darcy and Lara.

Born in 1947 in Mikkeli, Finland, he moved to Canada at four and grew up in Surrey and New Westminster.  After finishing high school he attended Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (Vancouver School of Art) where he pursued his passion for fine arts and photography.  After graduation, he became a professional photographer and moved to Nanaimo in 1976, where he worked for the Nanaimo Free Press for over 20 years then he became a freelance journalist for magazines. His photos appeared in publications such as The New York TimesNational Geographic Adventure, Wooden Boat, Beautiful British Columbia Magazine, and The Globe and Mail. His art lives on and a sample is posted at .

Photo by James Doe
Mark married Liz in 1981 and together with many close friends they explored the coast and warmer climes in cars, vans, boats, ships, dragon boats, canoes, kayaks and on foot.  He loved nature and life on Protection Island.  A wonderful neighbour, dinner companion, and chef, Mark was known for his sense of humour, love of quality food and conversation.  He will be deeply missed by those lucky enough to have experienced his warmth and kindness.

Liz wishes to thank Dr. K. Mann, the caring staff at the Palliative Care Unit as well as the Protection Island Lions and fellow islanders for their assistance.  In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Protection Island Lion’s Club

Photo by James Doe
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Nanaimo Yacht Club, 400 Newcastle Avenue, Nanaimo starting at 2pm on Saturday March 21st.

If you have memories you would like to share please post them to his blog or email them to and they will be posted for you.

One thought on “Obituary

  1. Lessons from Mark:On how to live a happy life. Mark was a happy man. He was content with his life, he had an unfailingly sunny nature and he never seemed stressed. How did he do this? What was his secret? I asked him a few times but he always laughed off the question. I’ve been remembering times spent with him, thinking about how he lived, and what I can learn from him. Lesson 1: Get up earlyWhenever we camped with Mark and Liz, or at our island parties, Mark was always first to get up. By the time the rest of us emerged he would have made coffee and got the bacon on. And before that he’d been out taking photos. Which leads me to….Lesson 2: Be in the momentWhen the sun rose he was there with his camera, catching the perfect light and perfect moments: a seal’s nose just before it slid below the water, an eagle in flight, dew drops on a flower. While the rest of us slept he was alert, observant, his artist’s eye appreciating the beauty of the new day. Until it was time for: Lesson 3: Coffee and bacon are food groupsI could add a few more (whiskey, cured sausages, French cheese) but these are key. Lesson 4: Don’t striveMark was a talented artist, and was published wildly on prestigious platforms. But he didn’t strive for recognition and fame – maybe he realized that ambition can be never be satiated. And what did he do with many of his amazing photos? He shared them, or donated them or gave them away. which of course connects to: Lesson 5: Be generousMark was ever generous with his art, his time, his skills, his knowledge, his tools, his toys, his food and drink. And the gifts were true ones, because there was no expectation of anything in return. When he did receive something he was always appreciative– in our case we gave him bottles of whiskey, which he promptly poured into glasses for us! Lesson 6: Rejoice in the good fortune of othersSchadenfreude wasn’t in Mark’s experience. He got only joy and pleasure from other’s successes and achievements, and was ever ready to help celebrate them. Lesson 7: Don’t JudgeMark never seemed to judge others. He accepted people for who they are, with their foibles and faults. The definition of a foible is ‘a minor weakness or eccentricity’. Among his many friends and neighbours there are a fair few foibles, and he relished them all! Lesson 8: Bargain and shareThe king of bargain shoppers, Mark gave lots of his finds away. Like the Dutch oven he bought in Value Village and gave us to because ….he thought we would appreciate it and use it well. We do, we have and it always reminds us of Mark. Lesson 9: Have an open doorI knocked on Mark door many times, and I was always welcomed in. I never had the feeling I was interrupting him or that he had to stop doing something more important to talk to me. Lesson 10: Take it easyWhat is there to stress about? Relax, smell the coffee, sip the whiskey, enjoy the bacon, break bread with friends, pour wine into good glasses and toast to life. And here’s a toast to you, Mark: with thanks for the adventures we shared with you and Liz; the many meals you made for us, on wild beaches and in your comfortable house; your calm and steady friendship and the lessons and guidance that you’ve left in your wake. We’ll never forget you; your spirit will guide us.


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