Ian Lister | Passages

Ian Lister, beloved husband, father and brother, died on April 19, 2018. Ian was born February 16, 1961, to Margaret (Baird) and Roderick Lister at Madigan Hospital at Fort Lewis, Washington.

The youngest of five children, he grew up in an Army family. After periods living in Washington and Washington D.C. his family settled in Denver, Colorado and later Castle Rock, CO, where Ian attended Douglas County High School. Growing up, Ian was interested in many activities, including music (he was an accomplished pianist), wrestling, Boy Scouts, and high school debate.

He attended Arizona State University. It was at this time that he learned to play the bagpipes, joining a pipe band in Phoenix. In 1982, he left university to move up to Orcas Island and met Rolf Eriksen, who introduced him to the construction trade. He also met his future wife, Ann (Roberts) Lister, in 1982 and they were married in 1991. Their first son, Rowan, was born in 1999, followed by their son Ewan in 2001, and daughter Flora in 2003.

Ian embarked on a career in construction that spanned 25 years, building fine homes and public buildings in the Northwest, including the Orcas Center, Grace Church on Lopez Island, White Salmon Day Lodge at Mt. Baker, and the Lummi Nation Longhouse in Lummi, Washington. Ian had a deep love for systems of logic and order as they applied to art, and wherever these two things met was where he found his happiness. Ian possessed a well developed natural facility to view projects in three dimensions. He liked to take architect’s plans and re-draft certain details himself in order to work out how to build them; later this would allow him to transition into the field of drafting. He was hired by Stoltz Kau Architects as a drafter in 2008. In between construction and drafting, he enjoyed several stints as a surveyor for GW White Inc.

Ian enjoyed many hobbies, including collecting and using old surveying equipment, antique cameras and photography, astronomy, antique clock and watch collecting and repair, and beekeeping. He was his family’s genealogist. He loved dogs, baseball, cooking, Volkswagens, road trips, sailing, and trivia. He piped for dozens of weddings, funerals, parades and other occasions on Orcas through the years, including being the first person to perform on-stage the opening night of Orcas Center.

As his family expanded and his children grew up, Ian became involved in many activities with his kids in the community. Ian served as coach and assistant coach on his children’s t-ball, baseball and soccer teams. He was elected a park and recreation commissioner in 2009 and helped create the new park and recreation tax district on Orcas Island. He was an involved board member of the Music Advocacy Group and was passionate about bringing the joy and value of musical education to every student in our schools. He played the timpani in the Orcas Island Community Band and served on their board. He helped form Orcas Island High School’s first debate team, serving as assistant coach for three years and head coach for one year. Ian was a tireless advocate for the kids in his community. He remembered his own rebellious youth and understood how kids’ innate abilities could be harnessed to pull them from the “dark side.” But nothing could compare to the pride he felt in his own children, and he loved helping them develop their own interests and abilities.

Ian was preceded in death by his brother, Roderick Baird Lister, and is survived by his wife Ann (Annie) and their children Rowan, Ewan and Flora Lister, his sisters Jennifer Lister (Denver, CO), Martha Flannery (Chapel Hill, NC), and Moira Ash (Denver, CO) and their husbands, his aunt Barbara Lister (Manhattan), and numerous and beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and cousins.

His love and influence will be felt in our community for many years to come, through his children and the community institutions he helped found and perpetuate. A memorial service will be held later this summer.

Donations toward organizations Ian supported may be made to the Ian Lister donor-advised fund at OICF at https://oicf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1167” https://oicf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1167 and donations to help support the Lister family may be made at Islanders Bank, Eastsound Branch, or online at https://www.paypal.me/annielisterfamily.