In tribute: Retired engineering professor Dr. Gary Sabin remembered

Jul 27th, 2023

Dy Dr. Leonard Lye

Dr. Gary Charles Wesley Sabin, a retired professor of engineering, passed away peacefully at home in Vancouver on July 25, after a brief illness.  

Gary was born in Ottawa, but moved to Vancouver at a young age. He graduated from West Vancouver High School in 1964 and completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in mathematics at Simon Fraser University.

He joined Memorial University in 1972 and completed his PhD in mathematics from the University of Windsor in 1975 while a faculty member at Memorial. Seeing better prospects at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, he joined the faculty in 1982.

Gary provided significant service to the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and to Memorial University during his more than 30-year tenure. 

He was very involved with the faculty’s undergraduate studies committee, senate committees, and many other academic committees. He served as the associate dean (undergraduate) from 1997 to 2002, and served a term as discipline chair of mechanical engineering in 2005, just before retirement. 

Gary taught a wide variety of courses, ranging from the standard algebra and calculus courses. He also taught probability and statistics, mechanics of solids, optimization and engineering analysis. During his retirement years, he taught at Simon Fraser University as a sessional instructor.

Gary’s scholarly activity was both broad and fascinating covering a range of engineering specialities, especially those that are highly mathematical in nature. He worked on viscoelastic contact problems, chaos theory, dynamical systems, optimization, dynamic behaviour of pile foundations with soil-pile interactions and stress analysis of porous elastic mediums.

He supervised his first graduate student after joining the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science in 1982 and went on to graduate two PhD and five M.Eng. students. He was an excellent and caring supervisor, always putting the welfare of his students first and foremost.

Gary was an avid track and field athlete ever since his high school days. He brought along his love of running to Newfoundland and was a regular at track meets - as a participant and as an official. He even took part in the 1991 Bali Invitational 5K run while teaching in Bali. His other interest was rugby, which he continued to play in Vancouver after his retirement until injury forced him to stop.

Gary was an excellent colleague, mentor and teacher. He is survived by a brother and two sisters, wife Cathy, daughters Barbara and Michelle and their partners, and his beloved grandson Braden.