December 10, 1942 - February 8, 2021
Daryl Lloyd Guignion died on February 8, 2021 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, PEI. He was born to Lloyd and Mabel Guignion in Rosebridge, Gaspe. Daryl and his siblings, Garth, Sandra and Marlene, grew up in a small house on land that today borders on Forillon National Park. To say that Daryl came from a modest background would be an understatement. He didn’t experience the luxury of indoor plumbing or a telephone until he was in high school. Money was scarce and Daryl developed his strong work ethic as a young boy, working in the woods alongside his father and brother cutting pulpwood, milking the cow, tending the garden and raising chickens and later, working in copper mines in Murdochville. He inherited his mother’s gentle nature and she encouraged him to do well in school. Daryl saw the damage inflicted on the family by his father’s alcoholism and promised his mother he would never drink. He stayed true to his word.
Grade 12 was unavailable in Gaspe and Daryl left to attend Dartmouth High School in Nova Scotia. He became the first in his family to get a university degree, completing his BSc at Mount Allison University. Daryl spoke often about the influence of Dr. Hinrich Harries at Mt. A in encouraging a holistic view of the environment and developing a passion for field work. Wilfred Carter encouraged Daryl to do his Masters Degree at Laval University and he completed his Masters research project studying eider ducks in the St. Lawrence estuary. His Gaspe wilderness background came in handy when he spent a summer on an isolated island. He had many stories of harrowing trips in a small boat going to and from Brandy Pot Island, and eating gulls’ eggs when there were no other supplies.
Father Charlie Cheverie offered Daryl a position in the Biology Department at St. Dunstan’s University which eventually turned into 40 plus years of teaching in the U.P.E.I. Biology Department. Daryl and Father Charlie would remain lifelong friends and enjoy fishing trips in the Morell River and in Gaspe for many years. Daryl cherished his years at the university and spoke often of how well he was treated, from cafeteria staff, custodians, and maintenance workers to lab technicians, secretaries and fellow professors. Daryl taught a variety of field courses and his students recall field trips to parts of PEI most of them had never visited - canoe trips to wetlands, snowshoeing, visits to old growth hardwoods and sand dune ecosystems. Some remember when he told them to lie on the beach at the Conway Sand Hills, close their eyes, and listen to the waves and the birds to fully experience and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around them. Daryl took students to the Atlantic Society of Fish and Wildlife Biologists annual meeting every year and they have lasting memories of hikes in Fundy National Park and of climbing Gros Morne Mountain. Other residents of Duffy Science Centre were less enthused when he brought in muskrats for the class to skin and examine or when students were asked to find an animal carcass and prepare the skull in his mammalogy class. The smell of rotting flesh lingered in the building for many days.
Daryl sat on countless environmental committees both in PEI and across the country. One that was especially important to him was the 1985 National Parks Centennial Citizens Committee. He was able to visit national parks across Canada and in working with people from various backgrounds, he finally gained the confidence in his abilities and knowledge that had been lacking. He often pointed to that Committee as being a turning point in his life. His involvement in environmental issues in PEI included many hard-fought battles. Daryl may have been quiet but could be formidable when he was passionate and determined about something. He would often speak of his involvement in the development of the Island Nature Trust, the protection of Greenwich, and the Morell River Conservation Zone as perhaps his most proud achievements. He also took great pride in the development of two technical manuals for watershed management on PEI and two Atlantic salmon strategies which continue to provide guidance for river restoration in PEI.
The journey was always more important to Daryl than the destination itself. No trip, long or short, could be done without frequent stops at an apple stand, donut shop, or dairy bar. The drive from PEI to his ancestral home in Gaspe took most people just over eight hours. For Daryl, it often stretched to twelve, as he stopped for a picnic, a walk along a river or beach and numerous naps.
During the month of Daryl’s sudden illness, many former students reached out to share memories and comment on how he had shaped and influenced their lives. Many have said that they would not have chosen their career without Daryl’s influence and inspiration. The word most often used to describe Daryl was “gentle”. He had a quiet, positive approach and tended to see the best in people. He believed that fostering relationships was just as important as carrying out research, and enjoyed talking with landowners in their kitchens as he carried out work across PEI. He often spoke of how good it felt to be welcomed into homes and offered tea and biscuits when he would be seeking permission to access properties.
Daryl was known for his generosity. He shared his knowledge of the environment willingly and with anyone who would listen. Even after his retirement from UPEI in 2008, Daryl continued to work with watershed groups in the province to improve habitat and populations of fish and wildlife. His generosity knew no bounds, and he was constantly delivering raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb and his famous raspberry jelly to anyone who would take them. Even when he was admitted to hospital, he insisted on having us bring in jelly for nurses and doctors involved in his care. Many people have also received red oak tree saplings from Daryl. He could be seen collecting acorns at his property in Canavoy, which he recently protected under the Natural Areas Protection Act, as well as on the UPEI campus and city parks. Not only would he give you saplings, he would often come to your property to plant them. The best way to remember Daryl is to plant a red oak tree.
Although Daryl spent time in most of the rivers in PEI, the Morell River held a special place in his heart. He knew the river intimately, and when he had trouble going to sleep, would “launch” his canoe and paddle his way down the river until he fell asleep. He took pride in his involvement in the salmon restoration program for over 30 years and assisted in the collection of salmon up to this past fall.
Daryl was very proud of his children and their accomplishments. It was fortunate that the children living out of province were able to visit and spend time with their dad during the past month. In the last few years, Daryl could be seen in a lawn chair watching Evelyn and Harrison play soccer or in the bleachers at a basketball game. Daryl and Rosie worked as a team over the past thirty years, sharing many days and nights in the field, and entertaining others with their bickering and banter. Pillow talk in their household was discussions around brook trout, salmon and smelts.
Daryl received much recognition and many awards for his decades of environmental involvement and achievements and was particularly proud of his National Recreational Fisheries Award received in 2012. The recognition was appreciated, but Daryl’s greatest wish has always been for Islanders to continue the fight and work to protect and restore our environment for future generations.
Daryl is survived by his wife Rosie, children Jeff (Wendy), Suzanne (Diana), Daryl (Lisa), Amanda (John), Evelyn and Harrison; grandsons Justin (Tia), Zakary (Tatyjanna), and Sam (Savannah), as well as great- granddaughters Atlas and Arya Guignion. Daryl is survived by his brother Garth and sisters Sandra Adams (Arden) and Marlene Guignion, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Also, mother-in-law Ruth MacFarlane Lambe, sisters-in-law Bonnie Ralph (Charlie) and Cindy Darbyson (Paul), brothers-in-law Jim Carlsen (Kathleen) and Matt MacFarlane (Johanna).
Donations in Daryl’s memory can be made to the Island Nature Trust or the Daryl Guignion and Ian MacQuarrie Graduate Scholarship in Science at UPEI. Arrangements entrusted to MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel. Online condolences may be made at www.macleanfh.com