Deaths | Décès

4463 George Vrana;

3295 Joseph Lackner;

Dr. Keith Neilson; and

Dr. Rusmir Tanovic


4463 George Vrana – May 11, 1935 – April 13, 2015

(No photo available at press time)

George Vrana of Gananoque, Ontario passed away peacefully at Kingston General Hospital on Monday, 13 April 2015. He was born is Chrudim, Czechoslovakia on 11 May, 1935. He was the son of the late Charles and Liduse Vrana. He leaves behind one brother, Charles Vrana (Jackie) of Cambridge, Ontario. George leaves to mourn his wife Marlene (nee Hawkins), his son Richard (Jennifer) of Kingston and his daughter, Janet (John McCleary) of Barbados and Clarksburg, Ontario. He is also survived by his grandsons Owen McCleary and Brock Vrana and granddaughters Tara McCleary, Alexis and Eva Vrana.

George and his parents came to Canada in October 1948 from Czechoslovakia to escape communism and the family settled in St. Mary’s, Ontario where George finished his secondary schooling. He was selected to attend the Royal Military College in September 1955. He graduated from RMC, Kingston in May 1959 and from the University of Toronto in 1960 with a BEng (Electrical) degree. He joined the RCAF early as an Air Cadet from July 1951 to September 1955. After college he continued his pilot training at RCAF Portage La Prairie; then Navigator training at RCAF Bagotville from September 1961 to March 1962. George married his wife Marlene on 10 March 1962 in the Christ Anglican Church in Gananoque. He then joined a CF 100 Squadron in Baden-Solingen, Germany until March 1965. George retired from the RCAF in April 1965 following which he was employed as a Computer Systems engineer in St. Bruno, P.Q. He then worked at UACL, Montreal from 1970 to 1972. The family moved to Oakville, Ontario in September 1972 where George spent the next 24 years with the Canada Systems Group, Mississauga.

George retired in 1996 and they moved to Gananoque. He was then fully engaged with his hobbies of carpentry and photography. George was justifiably proud of the beautiful summer home he and Marlene built on Tremont Island, off Gananoque. He travelled back to his homeland several times and also enjoyed holidaying in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. George was an active member of the RMC Club of Canada.

As per George’s wishes, there will be a cremation and private family burial in Gananoque. The family plans a celebration of his life at a future date.


3295 LACKNER, Joseph Lawrence

December 7, 1930 – March 19, 2015
Peacefully in hospital surrounded by family in his 85th year. Loving husband of Connie (née Twolan). Caring father of Colleen Green (Todd) and Paul (Fernando). Cherished grandfather of James, Christopher, Natasha and Tamara Green, and Julien Lackner. Joe will be missed by many nieces, nephews and extended family. Friends may call at the Garden Chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 3440 Richmond Rd. (between Bayshore and Baseline Rd.) on Monday March 23 from 10 a.m. until time of service in the chapel at 12 p.m. Reception and burial to follow. In lieu of flowers donations to the Parkinson Society of Ottawa or to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Condolences, tributes or donations may be made at


Message on behalf of the Principal / Message de la part du Recteur

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the loss of two of our dear friends and colleagues, Keith Neilson, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and Rusmir Tanovic, Associate Professor in the Civil Engineering Department. They both were remarkable people who were invaluable members of our faculty, the College and their profession. They will be missed. I ask you to keep them and their families in your hearts and prayers.

I offer the following in reflection of these two amazing scholars:

Keith Neilson was educated at the University of Alberta where he earned a BSC, a BA, and an MA, and at the University of Cambridge where he completed his PhD. After a short stint at Royal Roads he arrived at RMC in 1979. Over the next 35 years he developed a major international reputation as a teacher and scholar of strategic foreign policy with a focus on British-Russian/Soviet relations. As a teacher, Keith was known for his comprehensive knowledge of the fields in which he taught and for insisting that his students excel in their research, logic, and writing. As a scholar, Keith was both prolific and well-respected. He authored/co-authored five monographs, 11 edited collections, and 52 articles and book chapters, and has made countless conference presentations. This scholarly achievement was recognized by the College in 2013 when he was awarded Cowan Prize for Excellence in Research. He also served as Department Head in the 1990s. He took his retirement last year but remained an active researcher to the end. Keith was an important part of both the History Department and College; he will truly be missed.


Rusmir Tanovic, P.Eng., was a highly qualified bridge engineer who designed over 100 bridges in the former Yugoslavia where he taught for 10 years at the University of Sarajevo, before he departed his country because of the major conflict that existed at that time. He began at RMC in 1994 as a sessional professor and researcher, working on bridge projects. He became a full-time term professor in the department for several years and finally became an indeterminate faculty member in 2009. He taught a variety of undergraduate structures courses and a very popular graduate course in Bridge Engineering. His knowledge was highly respected by the students. He was one of the most highly qualified instructors in Bridge Engineering in the country on the strength of his broad design experience. He was the foremost bridge expert in DND and produced a variety of essential technical aids for the Canadian Military Engineers (Royal Canadian Engineers.), including guidelines and software. He was a very kind, thoughtful and helpful man and a complete gentleman. He will be missed dearly.


Harry Kowal



Chers collègues,

C’est avec une grande tristesse que je vous informe de la perte de deux de nos chers amis et collègues, Keith Neilson, professeur émérite au Département d’histoire et Rusmir Tanovic, professeur agrégé au Département de génie civil. Ils étaient tous les deux des gens remarquables, membres précieux de notre faculté, le Collège et leur profession. Ils nous manquerons. Je vous demande de les garder et leurs familles dans vos cœurs et vos prières.

J’offre ce qui suit dans la réflexion de ces deux savants étonnants:

Keith Neilson a étudié à l’Université de l’Alberta où il a obtenu un BSC, un baccalauréat en Art et une maîtrise, et à l’Université de Cambridge, où il a obtenu son doctorat. Après un court passage au Royal Roads il est arrivé au CMR en 1979. Au cours des 35 prochaines années, il a développé une importante réputation internationale en tant que professeur et érudit de la politique étrangère stratégique avec un accent sur les relations anglo-russes soviétiques. En tant que professeur, Keith était connu pour sa connaissance approfondie des domaines dans lesquels il a enseigné et avoir insisté que ses élèves excellent dans leurs recherches, la logique et l’écriture. En tant qu’universitaire, Keith était à la fois prolifique et très respecté. Il est l’auteur / co-auteur de cinq monographies, 11 collections éditées, et 52 articles et chapitres de livres, et a fait d’innombrables conférences. Cette réalisation scientifique a été reconnue par le Collège en 2013 lorsqu’il a reçu le Prix Cowan d’excellence en recherche. Il a également été chef de département dans les années 1990. Il a pris sa retraite l’année dernière et est demeuré un chercheur actif jusqu’à la fin. Keith était un élément important à la fois du Département d’histoire et du Collège; il nous manquera immensément.


M. Tanovic, Ph.D., P.Eng., était un ingénieur de ponts hautement qualifié qui a conçu plus d’une centaine de ponts dans l’ex-Yougoslavie, où il enseigné pour 10 ans à l’Université de Sarajevo, avant de quitter son pays en raison du conflit majeur qui sévissait à l’époque. Il a fait ses débuts au collège en 1994 à titre de professeur agrégé de session et chercheur, travaillant sur des projets de ponts. Il devint éventuellement professeur agrégé à temps plein à période déterminée pour plusieurs années pour finalement devenir professeur agrégé pour une période indéterminée en 2009. Il a enseigné un nombre de cours du premier cycle en structures et un cours gradué très populaire sur l’ingénierie des ponts. Ses connaissances furent très respectées des étudiants. Il était un des instructeurs en ingénierie des ponts les plus hautement qualifié au pays, en raison de son expérience étendue de conception. Il était le plus grand expert des ponts du MDN et a produit un éventail de guides techniques essentiels pour les ingénieurs militaires canadiens (Corps du génie royal canadien), incluant des directives et des logiciels. Il était un homme très gentil, prévenant et serviable. Un chic type. Il nous manquera immensément.


Harry Kowal