It is with deep sadness that we share with our friends and colleagues the news of Dr Nolan’s passing. Dr Nolan died quietly on Saturday night at his home after a courageous battle with cancer.
Dr Nolan had served as President and CEO of the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada for nearly 3 decades. We join his family in mourning a great man and a dear friend. Dr Nolan worked relentlessly to make Canada a safer place for everyone. His passion, his commitment and ingenuity will be greatly missed.
For funeral details and visitation hours please see the obituary shared by Dr Nolan’s family.
Chair of the RSIC Board of Directors
Fergal Nolan was born in Dublin in 1941 and died at home in Toronto Jan 9, 2016.
Fergal was much loved by his parents, Carmel and Robert Nolan, his wife Stella Dahlin, his children Brendan, Aidan and Kirsten, his extended family and many friends.
As the eldest of ten children, Fergal took on many responsibilities at an early age. At the age of fifteen he moved to Canada from Dublin alone with five younger siblings. At first, he became one of the breadwinners for the family, when they settled in Alberta with his parents.
His keen mind was evident at an early age and his high school teacher encouraged and helped him continue his academic studies at the Universities of Saskatoon and Edmonton. He earned his Bachelor of Arts with full honours and was awarded both the Rutherford Gold medal as best student in English Literature and the Governor General’s medal as the best overall graduating student. Later, Fergal won a scholarship to study for his doctorate in Oxford, England. He earned his D. Phil. in 1977 after having met and married Stella there in 1974.
Fergal was compassionate and dedicated to helping others. He had a unique way of connecting with everyone and their stories and was a wonderful storyteller, himself. He joined the Basilian Fathers for five years as an “apprentice monk” while studying for his Bachelors and Masters degrees. Many of his friends originate from those years and he kept in close touch with them for the rest of his life.
Fergal taught English Literature at the University of Toronto. From there he moved to the University Administration, and then to the Ministry of Northern Affairs as a senior policy advisor responsible for social and health policy and aboriginal affairs. Among his achievements, he was instrumental in setting up small nursing homes attached to hospitals in the North, and to bring in air ambulances to Northern Ontario.
Fergal was on the founding board of The Radiation Safety Institute of Canada. The independent institute became well respected for its “good science in plain language”, a philosophy developed by Fergal as president and CEO. He served the institute with complete dedication, vision and energy for more than 30 years. In 2012 the Premier of Ontario awarded him the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution to Radiation Safety in Canada and abroad.
Special thanks for their dedication and compassionate care go to Dr. Raymond Jang and Dr. Gail Darling.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations go to Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation
Visitation will be at Cardinal Funeral Home, 92 Annette St, Toronto, M6P 1N6 on Fri Jan 15, 6-8pm;
Funeral Mass Sat Jan 16, 11am at St Joan of Arc Church, 1701 Bloor Street West, Toronto, M6P 1B1.
Tribute to Fergal Nolan (1941-2016)
As Business Manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, I was deeply saddened at the passing of Fergal Nolan. On behalf of all construction workers in the province of Ontario, I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to Fergal’s family.
In addition to being a friend and a respected colleague, Fergal was a stalwart champion of health and safety who committed his life’s work towards improving the working conditions of men and women across Canada.
Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1941, Fergal moved to Canada as a teenager. Demonstrating a strong interest in academia, he excelled at the Universities of Saskatoon and Edmonton, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree with full honours and was awarded the Rutherford Gold medal as best student in English Literature. He was also the recipient of the Governor General’s medal as the best overall graduating student. Studying at the prestigious University of Oxford where he met his wife Stella, Fergal graduated with a D. Phil in 1977.
He taught English Literature at the University of Toronto before joining the Ministry of Northern Affairs as a senior policy advisor responsible for social and health policy and Aboriginal affairs.
Fergal Nolan was a founding member of the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada (RSIC) where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer. In that capacity, Fergal was instrumental in allaying Building Trades worker concerns about an Alpha radiation exposure incident that took place at a nuclear power facility in 2009. Through his leadership and passion, Fergal’s ability to promote his philosophy of “good science in plain language” culminated in the publication of an independent RSIC report which identified the causes of the incident and recommended corrective action with a view to preventing future similar events.
Fergal’s eloquence and compassion will never be forgotten by the workers he served. He presented at countless meetings and lectures designed to educate the construction industry about radiation safety, and the Building Trades were honoured to host him as a workshop presenter at our 2011 Convention. His 30 year career at the RSIC was recognized in 2012 by the Premier of Ontario who awarded Fergal with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to radiation safety in Canada and abroad.
Fergal is survived by his wife, Stella Dahlin, his children Brendan, Aidan and Kirsten and his extended family and many friends. May he rest in peace.
Patrick J. Dillon,