It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Nelson Mayer, President of the National Association of Friendship Centres. Nelson passed on to the spirit world on December 20, 2016 after a short stay in hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Ella and their family. Canada’s expansive Friendship Centre Movement is grieving the loss of a true leader, a dedicated mentor, and a dear friend.
Nelson’s involvement with the Friendship Centre Movement was extensive and spanned over four and a half decades. He served as NAFC’s President from 2013 to 2016 and from 1987 to 1988 and he served as the Association’s Vice-President for ten years. Nelson also served on the Board of Directors of the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres (MAC) in the capacity of Vice-President and President. He was also the Executive Director of MAC for five years before taking on the same role at the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) where he worked until his passing.
Nelson’s leadership was driven by his on-the-ground experiences with many local Friendship Centres across the country. He was the Executive Director at The Pas and the Dauphin Friendship Centres, and the Winnipeg Indian and Metis Friendship Centre and served on numerous Friendship Centre Board of Directors including in Winnipeg, Thompson, Dauphin, and Vancouver. In addition, he was an honorary Board member of the Riverton Friendship Centre, a lifetime member of the Dauphin, Flin Flon, and Lynn Lake Friendship Centres, and the first honorary youth on the Aboriginal Youth Council (AYC).
Arrangements have been made to celebrate his life on Friday January 6, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta. Donations can be made to the Coronary Care Unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton or to the NAFC’s Aboriginal Youth Council (AYC).
Nelson’s leadership, humour and dedication to the success of young people in the Friendship Centre Movement will be sorely missed. The NAFC’s Board of Directors will continue moving forward with the vision of the Friendship Centre Movement that Nelson was so passionate about throughout his long career. The Board has appointed its interim President, Mr. Christopher Sheppard, formerly NAFC’s Vice President.
National Association of Friendship Centres