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George Luste
August 6, 1940 - March 21, 2015
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<div itemprop="description">George Juris Luste passed away peacefully at home in Toronto, at the age of 74. He leaves his wife of 49 years Rosalind Luste (Levering), his children Tija Dirks, Tait Luste and Debbie Luste, his six beloved grandchildren Zoe, Eli, Ramona, Izak, Benjamin, and Kali, and his sister Marg Clarkson. <br /> <br />George was born in Latvia to Mirdza Mednis Luste and Leonids Luste in 1940. They came to Canada in 1948 following a few years in a displaced persons camp in Giften, Germany. He spent his early years in Wawa and Montreal, attending Prince Charles elementary school and West Hill high school in Montreal. He obtained a first year football scholarship to Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, where he obtained a B.Sc. in Physics and received numerous awards and recognition. He pursued a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, which is where he met Rosalind (Linda). They married in 1965, and moved to California, while George completed post-doctoral work at Stanford. It was in California that their twins, Tait and Tija were born. He loved Canada, and relocated his young family back there in 1971 when offered a position as a physics professor at the University of Toronto. In 1975, George and Linda adopted two children: Debbie and Ron. <br /> <br />From an announcement of his death circulated to the Physics department: <br />&ldquo;He joined the established &ldquo;bubble chamber&rdquo; experimental work at Toronto, but also helped in moving the group&rsquo;s efforts over the next decade into &ldquo;counter&rdquo; experiments, first at Argonne National Laboratory, then Fermilab. These experiments used as detectors scintillators, wire chambers and calorimeters, triggered and read out with fast electronics. At Fermilab he collaborated on a large spectrometer, some components of which were designed and fabricated at Toronto, running first in a photon beam, then a hadron beam. This was perhaps the first really large experimental facility at Fermilab and it produced a wealth of data on the newly found particles containing a charm quark. Both the production processes and the decay lifetimes were accurately measured, providing important tests for understanding QCD, the complex theory of the strong interaction. <br /> <br />The enormous data rate stored to tape from this facility triggered George&rsquo;s interest in large-scale computing, and he helped develop a system networking parallel processing units for analyzing the data at Fermilab and Toronto. The success of these early systems led him to question the wisdom of acquiring large main-frame computers for the university, and he was highly active in advocating cheaper parallel computing solutions for intensive research computing in the 1980s and 90s.&rdquo; <br /> <br />George was always very careful with his money, tracking every penny and requiring his family to do the same. As he earned and saved for his retirement, he became increasingly interested in investing and pensions. This led to active participation in numerous chat groups and investing circles, as well as involvement in the University of Toronto Faculty Association in his last 10 years at the University. At UTFA, he successfully ran for President (2002-2012) and advocated strongly for pension and benefits reforms. <br /> <br />George&rsquo;s passion was traveling Canada&rsquo;s North, typically by canoe, but sometimes in the winter by snowshoe. He discovered this love of Canada&rsquo;s wilderness during a summer job in Chalk River, and managed a trip every summer for the next 55 years. He paddled almost every major river in Canada&rsquo;s North, as well as much of the coastline. He further convened a group of like-minded wilderness enthusiasts in the winter off-season to talk about trips, and this event has grown to the annual Wilderness Canoeing Symposium attended by hundreds of people every year. His passion for the North also led him to amass a large collection of books on the topic. <br /> <br />He also married his love of canoeing with his dedication to Toronto. After serving a term on the Toronto Conservation Authority Board in the 1970s, he organized a paddle down the Don River in Toronto, to bring attention to the need to restore the Don. The annual Paddle Down the Don continues to this day as a very popular event. <br /> <br />In 2012, George was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour. Following surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, he continued most of his activities for the next two years, including a canoe trip to Richmond Gulf in Northern Quebec. In late 2014, the tumour began to grow again, and he passed away on March 21, 2015. <br /> <br />In keeping with George&rsquo;s wishes, a private cremation has taken place. A relatively informal memorial will take place on April 11, for friends, family and colleagues who knew George. <br /> <br />Donations: <br />If you wish to make a donation in honour of George, please consider the following options: <br /> <br />1. The Wilderness Canoe Association and Canadian Canoe Museum created the annual Luste Lecture, now in its third year. For more information see the Canoe Museum website Gifts can be made online in support of this lecture series through The Canadian Canoe Museum at: or call the Museum at 1-866-342-2663. <br /> <br />2. The Luste undergraduate prizes in Physics at the University of Toronto were established by George to recognize and support undergraduate physics students of merit. George always believed in financially supporting higher education. To make a donation to the George Luste Scholarship for 2nd or 3rd year students in the Department of Physics who have demonstrated financial need and academic merit, visit or call 416-978-3307. <br /> <br /> <br /></div>