Paul Andrew Cairney


It is with unspeakable sorrow that the family of Paul Cairney
announces his passing Friday, May 12, 2023, at the age of 56.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. June 2, 2023, at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 13131-86 Street, with a reception to follow, at 12:30 p.m., Polish Hall, 10960 -104 Street.

Paul was an adventurer, daredevil, comedian, romantic and a hero of Shakespearian magnitude.

He loved and excelled at being a brother, brother-in-law, son, nephew, and cousin but most of all loved being an uncle. His nieces and nephews — and their children — had
special relationships with their Uncle Paul. To them he was an icon and a trusted friend and advisor who listened deeply and respectfully and spoke to them in plain terms — as was his way.

His love of travel began at the age of 18 with a trip to Mexico, followed by off-the-
beaten-path travels in Africa, and then repeated extensive journeys to Southeast Asia, particularly to Ko Siboya, Thailand. There, Paul became part of a tight-knit international community whose members migrated to Siboya frequently and remained in contact year round, chatting or playing guitar together online. Siboya was truly his sanctuary, his
literal home away from home. He cherished the close relationships he had with members of the Siboya community.

Paul was a compulsive helper who decided at a very early age to pursue a career in
emergency medical services. He worked hard, suffered setbacks and disappointments and, as he always did, pressed on. He completed his paramedic program at NAIT with a grade average of 92.7. He became known among the EMS profession for his compassion and commitment to providing excellent care to countless thousands of people in crisis.

Paul’s professional colleagues — paramedics, EMTs, nurses, doctors and other front-line workers — were more than that. They are dear friends. Family. Shift changes often
signalled feasts or marathon video game sessions. They worked together and travelled the world together. There’s little question they were the air he breathed.

He was creative, pouring himself into playing guitar and singing. He was an exceptional cook — the word barely describes his approach to food, his talent at creating a
magnificent meal, and the immense pleasure he took in sharing it with loved ones.

Paul devoured books and was an avid theatre-goer. He was at various points an
accomplished mountain biker, rock climber, spelunker, back-country hiker.
Whatever activity he was engaged in it was not merely for the adventure, but for his love of the friends he made in the process.

Paul is predeceased by his loving parents, John and Flore, and his sister, Ann-Marie.

He is survived by brothers Michael, David and Richard (Katarina Bozic) Cairney, his twin sister Eleanor Nonay, and the love of his life, Lucy Rojek; and by nieces and nephews Holly, Ashly and Dylan Green, Travis Cairney, Sarah and Theresa Grant and Quinn Nonay; and his grand-niece and nephews Simone Benoit and Liam and Ayden Green, and grand-nephews Isaac and Owen Green and Ellie and Piper Schmidt, and a great grand-niece, Eleanor Benoit.

Paul will live forever in our hearts, in our memories, and in the stories we tell of him. He lives in the lyrics and melody of the songs we sing, he lives in the aroma and the flavour of the food we eat and the wine we drink, he lives in the tears that well up in our eyes, in the ache that pierces our hearts, and the shortness of breath we feel when hysterical
laughter overcomes us. He lives in the enduring impact of the kindness and compassion he seemed to have in endless supply.

Paul was committed to quality education and supporting young people making their way into the EMS profession. He would not have wanted to see a smart young person miss a chance at getting into the profession because of financial need.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation towards Student Awards in the Primary Care Paramedic program at NAIT, in memory of Paul Cairney.

To make a gift:

  • Visit the NAIT giving website (Recommended browsers: Firefox or Microsoft Edge)
  • Under “Direct this gift to” select “other”
  • When asked to specify the direction, key in “Donation towards Student Awards in the Primary Care Paramedic program in memory of Paul Cairney.”
  • Leave a Condolence

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    18 Condolences

    Noel Bateman

    You will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know you. I enjoyed our chats. Rest in peace brother.

    Emily Cucinotta Borrelli

    Sincere condolences to the Cairney family. RIP Paul.

    Melanie Rüdiger

    I think I can speak for the entire Siboya community, both guests and locals, when I’m saying that Paul was a dear true friend to many, whether they’ve known him for years or for only a short while. He will be missed now that his house will remain empty without its genuine owner.
    Our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.


    My deepest condolences to all of Pauls family and friends. He must have been an exceptionally kind man. One that undoubtedly will not be forgotten. RIP… angel Paul.

    Andy James

    To one of my best buddies in the world. The hours we spent on the phone and facetime after spending those few months together in thailand. You, Pete, Mel, & Me. How we’d laugh hysterically at my “animalisms” and your scottish dad impressions. You’ve left a big void in my world. I’m never going to get over not saying goodbye to you but Mel is really ill.
    Im gonna miss you uncle Paul. I’ve never met anyone else on this planet like you and I can’t imagine how your friends and family over there are going to miss your smiling face and kindness. My kids are so upset even though they only met you over webcams.
    Travel far and free buddy.
    Big love
    Andy and Mel and Family

    Karen and Bob Richardson

    Sincere condolences on Paul’s passing. We didn’t know him personally but felt we did from the love shown by his niece Ashly Green and great nephews (our grandkids) Liam and Ayden Green. We know just how truly missed Paul will be.
    A hero to all.

    Crystal Cartwright

    As a fellow member in the EMS Family and a person who has never met Paul, reading the most outstanding obituary I have ever read makes it apparent I have missed meeting an Angel in Disguise. All too often the good ones go early, I feel your pain and my heart is with all of you.
    My sincerest and heartfelt condolences go out to your entire family, the love of his life: Lucy, their circle of friends, and all the members affected by Paul’s death in the EMS Family. RIP Paul, you will be missed dearly.

    Amanda Whitman

    One of the highest compliments I ever received as a paramedic was from Paul, he told me “I don’t mind working with you because you’re not an idiot”. Paul I didn’t mind working with you either. Your stories of travelling, your smoked meat recipes, your guitar playing in the ambulance bay, and that time I played a social distortion song you’d never heard before. You will be so missed.

    Calvin Zibell

    The world will not be the same place without you Sir.

    Douglas Sparks

    Paul was a gem, a friend, a great medic and a truly wonderful person. You are missed my brother.

    David Schaefer

    Paul you were a true community hero. As a person and as a medic your compassion helped so many.
    Your spirit for adventure like with the climbing and caving you did with my brother gave a a spirit of life that many would thrive for. Rest in Peace and know you will be remembered brother

    Glen Bryden

    Condolences to Paul’s family. He is missed but not forgotten.


    Our condolences from your brothers and sisters in Southern Alberta

    Kathy Fairservice (Holmes)

    Godspeed Pollywog! Thank you for so many years of friendship. Thank you for being such a true, honest human! I will miss you at work!

    Nigel Webber

    Sincere condolences to all the family, friends and loved ones. Gone but neverforgotten , Rest well my friend.

    The Church of Swine and Bovine will live on in your name!

    Lenore (Ganske) Wynne, Patrick Ganske, Pauline (Ganske) Grant, Susan (Ganske)Grant

    Very sad to hear of the passing of one of our younger cousins. Our hearts are with you.

    April Cote

    Paul was an amazing paramedic, and person. He always had a smile on his face. He will be missed by so many of us in the profession.

    Loraine Troppmann (Tetreault)

    so sorry for your loss, he will be greatly missed. He will live on in the memories that he has created.