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Mike Cherneff

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Mike Cherneff

August 11, 1948 - June 22, 2022


Survived by his wife Brigitte of nearly 48 years, daughter Eva, son-in-law Pat and grandson Theo. Will be greatly missed by brother Gary and sister-in -law Beth, sister-in-law Ute and brother in law Peter, nephew Kyle and niece Lisa (Abe).


Mike got his diploma at BCIT in survey engineering and worked on many exciting engineering projects throughout Canada with McElhanney Engineering. When he tired of travelling he worked for Matson, Peck and Topliss Engineering and then eventually for the city of Burnaby, Survey engineering division. After his daughter Eva was born and Mike was working in town he took courses on weekends and evenings to complete a Bachelors degree at SFU. Having loved that, he decided to get a Masters degree in Planning at UBC and took a leave of absence to complete it. He loved his two years of graduate school and the people he met . That launched him into a career at BCIT as an instructor and eventually program head – a job that he truly loved.


He was blessed with an infallible memory, and was incredibly knowledgeable in history, physics, geography, geology and many other subjects. His knowledge of cars, engines, and other mechanical topics was expansive. Having worked with his Dad in his early years, tearing out and rebuilding engines gave him a strong background in anything with wheels. Watching a movie, one could ask what is that car and would get year, model and engine type….You only had to ask a simple question to get a 30 min (or longer!) explanation of whatever you had asked about. His last project which he didn’t have time to finish was restoring an antique motorcycle.


Mike was good at whatever he put his mind and energy to. Gardening, construction, wood working and making models of various kinds were a particular talent. He oversaw the building of his home on Salt Spring and when it seemed not quite big enough he decided to build a studio. He cut and milled his own logs for beams for the project. As he got older, he began to collect and restore Dinky cars. With a collection of over 300 vehicles, most of which he had lovingly restored he became expert at refinishing and painting and restoring the miniature vehicles. If he couldn’t find a part he needed he made one. He said they reminded him of his childhood when he could buy them at the corner store. He had a strong creative streak that covered many mediums: photography and painting among them. The family home bears witness to his many projects, such as woodwork with his live edge tables. His photography adorns the walls as do his paintings. While travelling he always found objects to admire and bring home to decorate the house.

Mike also loved animals. His last two, Maggie the Australian shepherd and Hank the Russian Blue cat, kept him company over the last months as only animals can, snuggling up for a nap and wanting to be close. Over the years, Mike always had a dog by his side and a cat or two underfoot. He was delighted when daughter Eva began to ride actively as it meant he could be close to her horses and share in that experience.

His greatest love was his daughter and grandson ( he loved his son-in – law too, although they might not always have seen eye to eye on their favourite hockey teams). He was very proud of Eva and all she has become and achieved and so happy that she and Pat and Theo were a happy family and lived close by  in order to visit often to have family dinners together.


Mike’s creativity really shone at Christmas, which was a very special time for him. When grandson Theo was 2, he started to develop the Christmas village complete with a train. Each year this village would expand, and the plywood holding it would get bigger. More moving parts would be added and the village was lowered so that Theo could play with it. Last year he put out not one Christmas tree, but two, as he felt it was important to have one outside for the neighbourhood to enjoy.


Contrary to what Mike often said, he loved being around people. He was a great storyteller and would frequently regale others with exploits of survey stories from the years that he worked throughout Canada. His friends were very important to him and he cherished those relationships.


Mike was an avid outdoorsman who loved fly fishing, hiking and boating. He was a good sailor, learned to windsurf in his younger years and loved hiking and cycling the North Shore and later Salt Spring island. He would often confound other fishers by being the only one to catch a trout on an outing, much to his delight!


His talent, imagination, creativity and intellect will be missed by all who knew him.



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From: H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Ken Robson
Relation: Colleague of Brigitte

Judy and I were saddened to receive news of Mike’s passing. We know how much you have meant to one another over the years and what a caring father and grandfather he has been for your family. We truly hope that your vast storehouse of treasured memories will sustain you in the days ahead.
Please accept our sincerest condolences.
Ken Robson and Judy Eifert

From: Cora Uhlich/Doren
Relation: Mike was a friend of our family, we met him when he and Brigitte were married

Brigitte, what a beautiful tribute to Mike! Wonderful to read all of the many things he accomplished in his life and just how creative and talented he was. Thinking of you Eva and Theo.

From: Karen Hudson
Relation: Friend of Wife

We are so sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. He is remembered as a creative man with too many talents to number. We always enjoyed his visits to the Salt Spring Island Public Library because of his kind nature, and you never knew what project he was working on and what you might learn. Mostly we remember him as a supportive husband and partner to Brigitte, especially during her time planning and building our new library.
Sending sympathy and condolences on behalf of all the library staff and volunteers, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Karen Hudson, Library Director

From: Grethe Dehn Norgaard
Relation: Friend of Brigitte from junior high school.

I was shocked and saddened by Mike’s passing. Every word written about him is a tribute to a life well lived. He was a good man in the true sense of the word. He will always be remembered by my family for teaching my sons to ski (between his legs) when they were very little. His patience was epic ! Our thoughts are with you Brigitte and, of course, Eva and Theo. He will be missed.

From: Susan-Ann Gibson
Relation: Cousin

So sorry to hear of Mike’s passing

Sue-Ann & family

From: Audrey Denton

Brigitte, I’m so sorry to hear about Mike. I hadn’t ever met him but he was indeed a man with many talents and interests. And I miss you at the library.

From: Sheila Spence

Birgitte, I am so sorry to learn that you not longer have Mike by your side. I remember how supportive and good humoured he was during that time when all our lives seemed to revolve around the library project. He will be missed by so many. With our deppest sympathies, Sheila and Barry

From: Lina Marinelli
Relation: Through work at the City of Burnaby.

I worked with Mike at the City of Burnaby. I really enjoyed having conversations with Mike – he was such a delight.

From: Mike Hansen
Relation: Co-worker (survey assistant/surveyor) with Mike at the City of Burnaby

Very to hear of Mike’s passing. We shared a good deal of time together as (survey) co-workers at Burnaby back in the late 80’s. Mike was very much a mentor to me in my career development, and provided invaluable guidance and wisdom to myself as a young person. To Brigitte and Eva (and Family), our deepest sympathies are with you at this time.

Pages: 12

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