Tragic News of Roy Ostling

Kim Goldberg
June 7, 2014

Roy OstlingWell-known Nanaimo photographer and writer Roy Ostling disappeared more than a week ago, on May 29. Yesterday, we received the tragic news that Roy’s body had been found in Surrey. This is the message Roy’s siblings posted to Facebook last night for the hundreds of people who had mobilized to help search for Roy in recent days:

“Dear friends,

Thank you all for your tremendous support and compassion. Sadly, this evening we received the devastating news from the Nanaimo RCMP that Roy’s body was found June 4th on the Lower Mainland near Crescent Beach in Surrey. The RCMP believes that there was no foul play and the autopsy results are forthcoming. As you can imagine, we are in shock and will get back to you with our plans. We want to thank all of Roy’s friends for mobilizing so quickly to spread the word. The media and social attention today heightened everyone’s awareness. We also thank the Nanaimo RCMP for diligent efforts to find Roy.

Kristen, Janis and Erik Ostling”

Brushes with Nature © Roy Ostling

Brushes with Nature © Roy Ostling

This tragic outcome to Roy’s story has left many of us quite shaken. I personally had known Roy for several years and would cross paths with him often, as we both did a lot of walking and photographing in downtown Nanaimo and had many friends in common.

Roy was a very talented and prolific photographer. You can view a large selection of his work here on Flickr.

And here is a selection of his amazing photos rated “most popular” by other Flickr users.

Roy had many community involvements including the Crimson Coast Dance Society, the Qualicum Institute, the Brant Festival, and much more. On his Twitter profile, Roy described his passions as being “writing, photography, the outdoors, interesting people, poetry and the arts.”

Pigeon Guillemot (2) © Roy Ostling

Pigeon Guillemot (2) © Roy Ostling

I would often encounter Roy at poetry readings around town, and at parties and social gatherings at the home of his good friends Joe Rosenblatt and Faye Smith in Qualicum.

I find myself quite shaken by the news of Roy’s death. The words rattling around in my head right now, words that I cannot shake loose, are Plato’s maxim: “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


Tuesday, June 10, 3:00-5:00 pm
The Malaspina Room, Coast Bastion Hotel
11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo BC

Roy’s family and friends are holding a Celebration of Life to remember and honour Roy, and you are invited to join. The Malaspina Room has a beautiful view of the harbour, which Roy loved to photograph. There will be an opportunity to share stories and memories of Roy. Please share this announcement widely so that as many of Roy’s friends as possible will find out in time and be able to attend.

About Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg is a poet, journalist and the author of 8 books of poetry and nonfiction. Latest titles: DEVOLUTION (poems of ecopocalypse), UNDETECTABLE (her Hep C journey in haibun), RED ZONE (poems of homelessness) and RIDE BACKWARDS ON DRAGON: a poet's journey through Liuhebafa. She lives in Nanaimo, BC. Contact:
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4 Responses to Tragic News of Roy Ostling

  1. Katy says:

    So sorry for your Loss everyone. This man must have been a very special one. Than you Kim for keeping us posted

  2. Theo Massop says:

    Thanks for letting us know. Your Plato quote is good to remember. Life is precious because it is so fleeting.

  3. Pingback: MISSING: Roy Ostling (Nanaimo) | Pig Squash Press

  4. susangillis says:

    oh I’m so sorry to hear this. My condolences.

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