June 4, 1940 – September 17, 2023
On the morning of September 17, 2023, Eric Michael “Mike” Stafford passed away peacefully at Memorial Hospital in Surrey after a short illness. He was 83 years old.
Mike was born on June 4, 1940 in Vancouver, BC to Eric and Doris Stafford. A lifelong resident of the lower mainland, Mike graduated from West Vancouver High before attending the University of British Columbia, where he would earn a Bachelor’s degree in physical education and a Master’s in kinesiology. During his time at UBC Mike was also a member of the Thunderbirds swim team, an experience that helped shape his enduring commitment to the study of exercise physiology.
While attending UBC, Mike met his wife, Kathleen, with whom he had a son, Rahl, and daughter, Nika.
After graduating from university, Mike would go on to build a 40-year professional career as an entrepreneur, fitness instructor, personal trainer and consultant. As sole proprietor of the Stafford Consulting Group, Mike created Ener-Fit, which would become the leading provider of community-based aerobic fitness classes in the Greater Vancouver area throughout the 1980s. In the 1990s Mike turned his attention to fitness testing and consulting. He created a set of standardized physical aptitude tests for firefighter job applicants that were adopted by fire departments throughout the lower mainland and BC, and which helped modernize industry hiring practises. Mike also worked as a personal trainer for athletes and others seeking to realize their physical potential.
Mike had many interests and hobbies, from drag racing to dog psychology, custom car fabrication to political history, all of them driven by a lifelong commitment to personal education and the pursuit of knowledge. He loved to converse across a broad range of subjects and delighted in a lively exchange of ideas with friends, family and strangers, always aware of how his life was enriched by the unique experiences and perspectives of others.
Mike was also a devoted family man, raising two children largely as a single father, and instilling in them his beliefs in the value of education, inclusiveness and social justice. Later in his life he was blessed with the births of two granddaughters, whose presence in his life brought him immeasurable joy.
An avid dog lover, Mike spent many hours hiking the trails in the North Delta watershed park near his home, his faithful companion Sydney at his side.