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It’s with profound sorrow, love and gratitude for a life well lived, that we share with you the news of Andrew Anthony Arida’s passing on January 7, 2021.

Andrew extracted meaning and knowledge from every experience life gifted him.

He brought intense energy, humour, and passion for music into every room and every relationship.

He was always there for others with counsel and company.

We are blessed to have known him.

Andrew lived in beautiful Horseshoe Bay, with his loving wife Leanna and their boys, Jude and Luke.

His departed parents, Simone and Raymond, guided Andrew into being the caring and generous man he was.

His Uncle Albert and Aunt Terri Sarkis, who passed before him, were a constant light in Andrew’s life.

He cherished close bonds with his godparents, Aunt Wedad Assaf and Uncle Peter Arida, many loving cousins, extended family, huge circle of friends, and a series of loyal (and spoiled) Boxer dogs.


Andrew was born in Montreal on January 31, 1970.

His family lived briefly in Toronto, and formatively in Skigda, Algeria, where Andrew developed a curious and gifted mind, and an appreciation of British rock.

When he was 10, Andrew and his parents moved to Calgary, where the youngest Arida found a fine balance between a top student and still socially available — one meant awards and accolades, the other endless phone calls, walks, long nights in coffee shops and chats in his parent’s Dodge at the reservoir, always listening to music.

Calgary is where Andrew learned the keyboards, wrote some truly fantastic songs, and dreamt big, the creative force behind the bands Alchemy and The Hammertones.


Andrew and Leanna moved to Vancouver in 1993, his first job with Hire-a-Student before embarking on his life’s career at the University of British Columbia, in recruitment, as Head of Admissions, and finally Deputy Registrar, travelling the world championing higher education. In 2018 he was awarded the President’s Service Award for Excellence, UBC’s highest honour. He gifted UBC the same big ideas, kind heart and motivation he brought to everything in his life.

And music always played. Andrew was in the songwriting duo The Happy Enchiladas, rock band The Beige, played yearly at the CBC food bank drive, the raucous ‘Keithmas’ fundraiser. He’d come back to Calgary every year for the Bruce Springsteen Birthday Concert, playing virtuosic piano parts and reuniting with lifelong friends.

We kidded Andrew (and he teased himself) about his affinity for “The Boss”, but everyone loved and respected how he so wholly identified with the earnest heart of those songs – striving, forgiveness, transcendence, the drama of living. Andrew and Springsteen (whom he eventually met) agreed that any life was worthy of being framed in song.

Passion and opinion went beyond music. Andrew watched his sons play soccer and became obsessed with The Beautiful Game.

He could easily transform into an At the Movies film critic, a book reviewer, a political analyst.

He adored the poignancy of a great meal outdoors on a warm night while traveling – it was vital to him that Jude and Luke understand the world through travel, and the family experienced Japan and Europe together. Andrew was enamoured with Brazil and connected with the unique Brazilian word ‘saudade’, meaning ‘a memory of something with a desire for it’, a yearning or nostalgia. It can also mean ‘I miss you’.

Surpassing all joys was Andrew’s love of home – a barbecue with his in-laws Klaus and Dilene, sister-in-law Kristen and her family, followed by three hours outside listening to The Deck Mix with Leanna, an inch of good Scotch and the odd cigar; laughing, planning, reminiscing, listening to Bruce:


“Turn up the volume, let the spirits be my guide

Meet you brothers and sisters on the other side”

-Bruce Springsteen, Ghosts

Saudade, Andrew

Please visit to learn about the student award set up in Andrew’s honour at the University of British Columbia.


A private ceremony will be held, followed when possible by a public celebration of Andrew’s life.







  • Wedad Arida Assaf
    Posted January 18, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Andrew, my nephew and godson was everything described about him and more. He was always there for me and I used to call him my rock. He will never be forgotten my Andrew.

    • Tomaž Štamcar
      Posted June 23, 2023 at 1:22 pm

      Greetings from Slovenia
      Is glioblastoma the cause of death?
      Please reply and best regards from Ljubljana

  • Don Edwards
    Posted January 18, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Thinking of you and your family in these challenging time’s.

  • Jennifer Radcliffe
    Posted January 19, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Heart-felt condolences for Leanna, Jude, Luke and family during this incredibly difficult time. May you find some peace in knowing that Andrew will live on in the hearts and memories of all those whose lives he touched.

  • Richelle Akimow
    Posted January 19, 2021 at 2:35 am

    A lovely tribute for someone who meant so much to so many. I will miss arguing with Andrew about music, talking in circles on your deck Leanna, until all the sun had left the sky and quite often having my mind changed by him. A kind, passionate, articulate human, quick with a laugh and always up for a conversation that many may avoid. Sending so much love to everyone he touched as we’ve all lost a special light. 💜💜

  • Barbara
    Posted January 19, 2021 at 5:14 am

    I met Andrew when my family moved to Calgary in the 1980’s, I can honestly say he was really one of my first close friends that I developed at an young age and we kept that friendship till the end . There is no end, I will keep Andrew in my heart forever, that infectious laughter, beautiful, kind soul and our love for soccer.
    RIP my dear Friend.

  • Somi
    Posted January 19, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    “Andrew extracted meaning and knowledge from every experience life gifted him.” What an wholly accurate statement about this incredible person. Andrew brought life and laughter to every encounter. No topic of conversation was off limits, and I will miss talking to him dearly.

  • Jonathan Walker
    Posted January 19, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Andrew was a terrific friend and true role model. He will be greatly missed by all those lucky enough to have known him. Condolences to his entire extended family.

  • Jim Kocsis
    Posted January 20, 2021 at 4:16 am

    I have fond memories of Andrew during our annual school counsellor visits to UBC Okanagan. Andrew was a kind, compassionate and knowledgeable ambassador for UBC and will be missed. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  • Holly Benard
    Posted January 20, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Please accept my warmest condolences, I am deeply sorry for your loss.

  • Ross Watson
    Posted January 22, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Andrew was my consigliere. When I behaved badly, Andrew was there to point me in the right direction to get things back on track. I’ll never forget him saying “Perhaps that wasn’t the best time to say how you felt” or “Never give up the moral high ground”. When we were young I talked him into carrying his mountain bike across a river, and later on he talked me into buying plane tickets to far away Bruce concerts…”Come on Ross. take the red pil” he’d say. We loved movie quotes and would often repeat our mantra that everything we needed to know, we learned from the Godfather. We would also get in great arguments about music with his Vancouver pals, on important subject like ‘What’s the best opening track on a Bruce record”. We will all miss you so much pal. God speed and I have to believe I will see you again.

  • Michael Sheppard
    Posted January 27, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    I met Andrew on the bus ride to UBC. We would chat about everything and nothing; the ride would fly by. I had found a kindred spirit in many things; boxers, music, books, movies and the world. I last saw him walking his dog near Horseshoe Bay. We chatted for nearly an hour.
    We are all poorer for his premature passing. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

  • Sean Fulop
    Posted February 1, 2021 at 9:05 am

    Andrew was such a good friend it feels like I’ve lost a brother. I regret not seeing him for the past few years; time is so short after all. He brought such kindness to everyone he knew, he never had a foul word or thought about anyone. I’ll never forget all the music we made together. He taught me to appreciate the simpler things in music, and not always the complex. To Leanna and Luke and Jude, please know that so many of us share your sadness, you are not alone.

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