A beloved member of the community, Whistler Coun. Andrée Janyk, has passed away.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler made the announcement Saturday, June 17 that the “long time and much loved member of the community” died yesterday surrounded by family.
“Andrée was a tireless volunteer for the community,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden in a statement.
“Andrée’s passing is a loss for the community of Whistler. Our sincere condolences go out to all of Andrée's loving family and many friends.”
A fixture in the community for over 40 years, Janyk was a founding member of the Blackcomb Ski Club and its first volunteer program director; gave countless hours to the Whistler Ski Alpine Club; served for 12 years as trustee for School District 48, and played a large role in growing youth soccer locally.
“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of our founding President Andrée Janyk,” read a post Saturday morning on the Whistler Youth Soccer Club Facebook page. “May her whistle be forever heard and respected as a beacon of fairness — she was a mentor to so many and an inspiration to all!”
Janyk was honoured in 2010 as Whistler’s Citizen of the Year, recognized for a long list of contributions to the community. In an interview with Pique following the award ceremony, she spoke about the joy she took in helping grow youth sports in Whistler.
“One of my favourite things was starting the soccer club and giving the kids in this town a chance to play a great game,” she said. “I love refereeing soccer, I love anything that makes children's faces light up. It gives me nothing but the great bound of joy.”
A passionate skier, Janyk took up the sport at the age of two and had aspirations of becoming an Olympian. Although she fell short, Janyk would go on to coach skiing around the world, and two of her children, Britt and Mike, also competed at the Olympic level in alpine skiing.
With a degree in kinesiology from Simon Fraser and a master’s from the University of Brussels, Janyk’s career path went in a number of directions, from presenting scientific papers in Europe, to leading the first Fitness Leadership Certificate program at Capilano University and serving on the national First Summit on Fitness Committee in the 1980s. It was around that time she started a food co-op that was active for a decade and a half, raising awareness of the benefits of eating organically. She has also been named the 2010 Whistler Volunteer of the Year, the BC Alpine Volunteer for the Year, and a Sport BC community hero.
Janyk was first elected to council in 2011 before a successful reelection bid in 2014.
She is survived by her husband Bill and three adult children.
More on this story in this Thursday’s Pique.