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: