Obituary of Igor Kusyszyn
Ihor (Igor) Kusyszyn
Peacefully on Nov. 11, 2015 with his partner Mary by his side. Predeceased by his parents Anna and Wasily (William), his wife Florence (Jamie), and his son Paul Jeffrey.Survived by his brother Karl (Cornelo) and his daughter Kathryn Anne. Born April 17, 1939 in Pidhaitsi, Ukraine, Igor survived both the Russian and Nazi invasions and three years in a Displaced Persons’ camp before settling in Hamilton, Ontario in 1948. He was placed in Grade 1, spoke no English and experienced bullying and racism. Fortunately, he was taken under the wing of the Thompson family, who called him “Ig” and with whom he had lasting friendships.
Igor’s parents worked tirelessly to fund his education. He graduated with a BA from McMaster University and obtained a Master’s degree and a PhD from the University of Western Ontario. Igor loved teaching and spent his entire career as a professor at York University, from 1967 to the present. His main areas of research focused on Creativity, Motivation and Gambling. He pioneered an Applied Creativity course which earned him a place in many students’ hearts. Igor was also a clinical psychologist, practicing at the university. authored/co-authored four books under the pseudonym Lance Humble including The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book, which has sold over 100,000 copies to date.
Who was Igor? A classic Type A personality. Igor always wanted to learn, improve, grow and develop. When out, he loved to be where the action was, while at home he read and watched classic films and sports events. His competitive nature served him well in curling, which he enjoyed for nearly 30 years. In his youth he was a skilled tennis player, and 40 years later he picked up his racquet again. He was a free spender, gadget collector, bird lover, sports card trader, racehorse owner, foster parent, poet, backseat driver, aspiring stand-up comedian and a teller of “true” stories. Igor talked out loud to himself often, including during Scrabble games. His questionable fashion reflected his unique style. Igor could boil water without burning it and was a regular at local burger joints.
Inspirations include Elvis Presley, Buckminster Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward de Bono and his students. Igor was generous in many ways, including the dispensing of unsolicited advice. He could be sentimental and nostalgic for the 50s.
A reluctant traveler, Igor nevertheless went on 32 casino junkets to Las Vegas in the 70s and 80s, where he played at games run by the Mafia and was banned from some casinos because he won too much money. In 1983 Igor was arrested in Toronto for participating in a bookmaking ring. he charges were not substantiated and Igor’s good name was cleared of any wrongdoing. He gambled as a “hobby” for most of his life.
In 2012 he made a homecoming trip to the Ukraine, where he was warmly welcomed by several family members previously unknown to him. This journey was profoundly healing.
Caring and supportive, Igor was the guardian for several family members experiencing illness. He deeply valued his friendships and relationships with loved ones and was a proud and loving father. Igor liked to say he had lived a good life. He was happy with his achievements, curious about spirituality and unafraid of death. Igor lived his life the way he wanted to. He will be dearly missed.
Celebration of Life Sunday Dec. 6 2015 1-4pm Heintzman House, 135 Bay Thorn Drive, Thornhill. This is a drop-in event.