OBITUARY

Roderick Allan Wark

8 May , 19584 February , 2019
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Roderick Allan Wark – Successful business executive, accomplished sailor, gourmet cook, mentor to many and rum connoisseur, passed away suddenly on February 4th, 2019, at the Halifax Infirmary following recent surgery.

We are shocked and grieving that Rod left us too soon. He is survived by his wife, Lynn Thornton, and sister, Susan Radford (Wayne Girvan). Also, sister-in-law, Margaret Bryant and family; brother-in-law, Jim Thornton (Paula) and family; uncle, Darrell Roode; cousins and many close friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Allan and Phyllis (Roode) Wark.

Although way too short, Rod had a full and busy life. We have much to share, so settle in.

Rod was born on May 8th, 1958, and spent his formative years in Truro. Even at a young age, his intellect and independent thinking were clear. Rod revelled in challenging himself and others – vigorously attested by his parents. His entrepreneurial and management capabilities became evident early; he owned and operated a sound mixing and DJ business with high school friends, which instilled his ongoing affection for classic rock music.

Following his studies at Dalhousie University, Rod soon found his career calling in the Information Technology industry with IT management roles at Home Hardware and Sobeys. In 1984, Rod became the Branch Manager of Synerlogic Halifax offering him a new challenge and the chance to live closer to Lynn, who he had met through sailing the prior year. Married in 1985, Rod and Lynn enjoyed 33 years of a strong partnership, wonderful travels and memorable adventures together.

Rod moved into a key leadership role with Andersen Consulting in 1988 with the acquisition of Synerlogic and took on further responsibilities when he relocated to Ontario in 1991. He established their Canadian systems management operation in Etobicoke, becoming recognized as a top leader in the North American IT outsourcing sector. Rod was promoted to Associate Partner with Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture) and played a pivotal role in growing their business in Canada and the US. Over this period, Rod and Lynn enjoyed living in Oakville, sailing on Lake Ontario and spending time with Lynn’s family in Burlington.

Returning to Nova Scotia in 1996, Rod went on to spearhead the creation of xwave – a new Canadian IT services company. As the President and CEO, he led the organization from a start-up operation to a national industry player in less than 5 years. He took pride in his achievements but more so truly valued the many great and lasting friendships he made through his work in the IT consulting industry.

In 2004, Rod returned to his entrepreneurial roots and became a successful business owner with AME Supply and later established VMG Strategic Consulting in 2006. For the past 12 years, Rod has provided executive consulting services for organizational transformations and multi-million dollar acquisitions as well as managing IT operations and infrastructure for clients.

Rod developed an interest and love of sailing in the early 1980s. He upgraded and upsized boats (yes, bigger is better!) over the years from a Niagara 26 to a C&C 33 and then a C&C 44. He and Lynn spent lots of their free time taking friends for a sail in the Halifax and Chester area waters. As well, they enjoyed sailing vacations in the Caribbean and Rod participated in several Marblehead to Halifax races over the years. He was a member of the Bedford Basin Yacht Club and served as Commodore and Planning Committee Chair back in the late 80s and early 90s. Rod volunteered his time and expertise to run many first-rate regattas, including the NS Match Racing Championships series.

Throughout Rod’s life, many organizations, clients, colleagues and friends have benefitted from his unwavering work ethic, strategic thinking, leadership capabilities and mentorship. Rod strived for high standards and stretched boundaries – he didn’t need to colour outside the lines, there simply were no lines for him.

Rod was never happier than when out for a sail on a beautiful day, hosting fabulous dinner parties, enjoying a round of golf with Lynn or crossing items off his meticulous to do lists. He was known for his discerning taste in luxury cars and high-end electronics. Rod was a generous and loyal friend with a mischievously clever sense of humour.

Rod made an indelible impression wherever he ventured. There is an irreplaceable void left in his mighty wake.

The family expresses their heartfelt appreciation to Dr. David MacNeil, Dr. Simon Jackson, Dr. David Horne, the cardiac surgery team and Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at the QEII Health Science Center for the outstanding and compassionate care provided to Rod.

There will be a celebration to honour Rod’s life on Friday, February 8th from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Tribute remarks at 3:30 PM) at the JA Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax. Interment will be at a later date.

For donations, the family suggests the Heart & Stroke Foundation or a charity important to you in honour of Rod.

Services

  • Celebration of Life Reception Friday, 8 February , 2019
REMEMBERING

Roderick Allan Wark

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Steve Thornton

16 February 2019

Uncle Rod, we are all sadden by your sudden passing. Your spirit will always live on though the people you have touched. I have to thank you and Lynn for all that you have done for me and my family. Looking back, a simple miss step by you, at the Bedford Basin Yacht club, in which broke your foot and was in need of a couffer, allowed me to meet the love of my life and now wife Marsha. I also, would not have my lovely daughter Tasma. Rod you have changed my life. We all love you and will miss you dearly.
Love
Steve

Barb Bryant Osborne

16 February 2019

With lots of love and admiration, Rod will be missed! I have many fond memories of Rod...most involved food, drinks and sailing. A weekend trip to Halifax a few years ago was beyond our expectation as Rod truly pampered us with amazing food (he even let me pick out our lobsters and allowed Dave to help in the kitchen!), great sailing and even better conversations (there may have even been a little rum!)! I was truly blessed to be in his family and will miss him deeply.

Marsha Thornton

16 February 2019

Everyone knows about his amazing cooking skills, his delicious drinks, his captain abilities and amazing business sense. But it’s his broken leg that I will be forever grateful for! I ended up marrying his chauffeur. Life works in mysterious ways.
I want to thank him for being a great business role model for my husband, for being my in-laws best fiend, and for being Lynnie’s rock in this crazy ride of life.
Thanks for the memories
Love Marsha

Samantha Walkes

16 February 2019

I only had the privilege of being in your company a few times but, I am forever grateful God allowed us to connect before you left us, Rod. I will never forget your scrumptious scallops, the way we could talk rum for hours and talk business in your field and mine! Thank you for making me feel at home away from home. Thank you for spending time with my husband when he visited and making time to chat about your industry here. It was evident from our few meetings that you loved your life. That you truly LIVED to experience everything your heart desired. May this be something Lynn can hold onto as she reaquiants herself with this new season in life: how to listen to her heart’s desire and honor the spirit God put inside her, living fully. Thank you, Rod. Will make sure to love on her well while I’m there next month till the end summer - with you in mind!

Jim (Jr) Thornton

15 February 2019

Uncle Rod.. where to start... I think it was best said by my middle daughter Rebekah when we broke the news to her... "Uncle Rod is too young to die".. So true Rebekah... Were gonna miss you Rod... I think back to all the memories we shared with Rod and Lynn, and how much fun we had with cottage trips, boating, dinning and laughing. When Rod & Lynn lived in Oakville From a young age I remember Rod always had the biggest and best stereo (I know it wasn't Lynn's!), I remember him blasting music and movie soundtracks and thinking this guy was so cool. To this day I know I can thank Rod for my music taste (Chicago, Air Supply, Genesis!). There are so many fond memories with Rod as a kid from sailing to pirate hats at the Armadillo. I'm so thankful that I was able to visit Rod & Lynn in the last year due to some business trips down east. My last trip in January Rod made a 'Rod' dinner with all the fixins, so good! the best part was staying up late and chatting until well past midnight!.. I will always treasure those memories...
Rod you will be missed..
We love you...
Jimmie...

Sharon elliott

15 February 2019

Dear Susan and Family. so sorry and shocked to hear of Roddy passing my Brother Bill told me Roddy was his best friend in elementary and Jr. high. we grew up in same neighbourhood we lived on pleasant street.I remember your Mom giving me samples of mint chocolate bars.Sharon Elliott Richards

Dieuwke Thornton

15 February 2019

I met Rod when I started dating his nephew Jimmie. He would either be visiting Ontario with Lynnie, but three times I was able to spend time with them in Nova Scotia.

The first time was in June 2003. Jimmie and I were there for my cousin's wedding so we only could stay one day, but we made it out to Bedford Basin and had a really lovely time sailing with Lynn and Rod, Steve and Marsha.

The last visit was my favourite. It was my first time getting a personalized menu. :) A few days before I arrived, Rod had asked me what I was drinking lately. I smiled and said, "oh, red wine is fine". He persisted "what kind?" I had to think now. "Um....I like a merlot, or a shiraz" I replied, thinking that should be specific enough. It wasn't. "Full-bodied or ....". The next part of the question, I have to say I didn't really register. Certainly, I didn't have an educated answer for him! But I was smiling ear to ear now, warmed by the fact that he was preparing for my visit. I felt very special. We arrived to a beautiful meal and enjoyed good drinks and long lasting laughs. That visit also highlighted his sense of humour. Before I got the real menu, he sent me a joke menu, playing off the fact that Jimmie had been there for dinner the night before. Rod did enjoy teasing me.

That weekend also highlighted another trait about Rod that I really enjoyed. He loved a good debate! That weekend we had a spirited conversation about the state of education and the role of standardized testing. We often found ourselves on opposite sides of an opinion, but we enjoyed it.

I will really miss Rod. I had not-so-jokingly asked him to captain my rented catamaran through the British Virgin Islands for my 25th anniversary trip. He thought it was a great idea, and of course, had some good advice for when and where we should go. I think we would have had a great time. Much love to you Lynnie. May your memories sustain you in the weeks and months to come. We love you so much.

John Rigg

14 February 2019

Lynn,
I am so sorry for the loss of your hubby, Rod. He taught me to sail and I have you two to thank for my love of the Sea and boating. Rod was a very kind man and a friend. I really enjoyed working for him. He was a good mentor, a kind soul, had a great sense of humor. and most importantly he was a very good man. He was one of a kind and I feel very blessed to have known Rod as he helped shape a large part of my life and career giving me the opportunity at Synerlogic in Halifax over 3 decades ago. It seems like just a few years ago we sailed back into Bedford Basin aboard your C&C 33' and the wind really picked up and made mooring very exciting. He handled it all with the ease of a competent Captain. Rod you will be missed.
Cheers! to Rod from your friend John

Katie Thornton

14 February 2019

Dear Lynnie,

I was so shocked and deeply saddened to hear that Rod had passed away. He was a special person. We have many wonderful memories of times spent together. Greg and I have spent so many hours these past days reminding each other of funny moments, sharing emails that Rod wrote to us and laughing about the things he did. He had a cheeky sense of humor and once you were in his inner circle it was for life. I learnt so much from Rod about cooking and always enjoyed sharing recipes and tips. I feel like there is a glitch in the matrix or a disturbance in the force with him gone.

I am sending you so much love and want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Love Katie xoxo

Maria Robinson

14 February 2019

Lynn, both Ron & I send our deepest sympathy to you & family. We were shocked to hear the sad news. Rod was an amazing man, wonderful to work for and a true friend who will be missed by all.

I remember when I worked for Rod, he was always making his lists of what needed to get done and as things got done, he highlighted it with a marker. The funniest memory was when he handed me his, "to do list" and the first thing on his list was, "need marker"! I had the best laugh with him about that.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this most difficult time. Would love to grab a coffee or a glass of wine with you when things settle down.

Hugs