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Helgi Lavergne “Vern” Austman, aged 92, passed away on July 16, 2023, following a brave battle against Parkinson’s disease. During his final days, he was surrounded by his loving family at his home in Trillium Court, Kincardine, Ontario. Vern was born on July 28, 1930, in Elfros, Saskatchewan, on the Sveinbjornson family farm house, to Sigurjon (Sam) Austman and Gudny Lovisa (Louise) Sveinbjornson. Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, alongside his siblings Doreen, Karin, Myrna, Diana, and Neil, his formative years shaped him into the remarkable individual he became.

After studying engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Vern embarked on a remarkable career that spanned over four decades in Canada’s nuclear power industry. He played a crucial role in the commissioning of numerous CANDU reactors across Canada, from the inaugural project in Rolphton, Ontario, to the recent achievement at Darlington. Serving as the plant manager at both Bruce NGS A and Darlington NGS, Vern also managed the commissioning of a pair of CANDU reactors in Rajasthan, India. His profound dedication and expertise left an indelible mark in the field.

On July 19, 1952, Vern married his soulmate, Frances (née Gardener), in Calgary, and together they raised four children: Daniel (Susan), Gord (Margie), Sam (the late Katherine), and Kristin. As fate would have it, all three sons followed in their father’s footsteps, pursuing careers in the nuclear power industry. Kristin, on the other hand, inherited her father’s passion for education, self-improvement, and making a difference in the lives of others.

In addition to his children, Vern’s loss is deeply mourned by his surviving siblings, Karin (Dennis), Myrna (Mike), Diana, and Neil (Brenda), as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his parents, sister Doreen, daughter-in-law Katherine, and great-grandchildren Jack, Josephine, and Steven. Beyond his family and professional life, Vern possessed an intense fascination with genealogical research and took great pride in his Icelandic heritage. He also dedicated considerable time to studying physics and geology, likely fueled by the extraordinary geological wonders of his homeland.

The Austman family extends its heartfelt gratitude to the staff of the Long-Term Care department at Trillium Court, as well as Dr. Gurbin, whose unwavering kindness and hard work made Vern’s last year more bearable. Furthermore, Vern received exceptional care at Brucelea Haven in Walkerton, as well as the Chesley and Kincardine Hospitals. To celebrate Vern’s remarkable life, a commemoration will be held on Thursday, August 10, 2023, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Trillium Court, 550 Philip Place, Kincardine. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to your local community hospital or to a charity close to your heart. Online condolences can be shared at http://www.daveylinklaterfuneralhome.com.

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