We are deeply saddened by the passing of Roger Marple, a cherished member of AGE-WELL and a powerful advocate for people living with dementia.
Roger served on AGE-WELL’s Older Adult and Caregiver Advisory Committee as member-at-large, Alberta, collaborated on many AGE-WELL research projects and supported future leaders in AgeTech.
Just last week, he received the 2022 AGE-WELL Honorary Fellow Award, which recognizes members who have made long-term and substantial contributions to research and/or innovation in the AgeTech sector, as well as a significant contribution to AGE-WELL.
Since his diagnosis with dementia in 2015, Roger made it his mission to dispel myths about the disease and the stigma associated with dementia. He was a firm believer that you can live well with this disease regardless of challenges and was passionate about sharing his message of hope.
Roger, who lived in Medicine Hat, Alberta, was on the board of directors of the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories. He also served on an Alzheimer Society of Canada advisory group to help raise awareness of the needs of people with dementia, and was active in supporting dementia research in Canada.
“We are devastated to have lost Roger, who was an inspiration and a friend to so many,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, scientific director and CEO of AGE-WELL. “He so generously shared his insights and ideas, and advocated so determinedly to make the world a better place for people living with dementia. Roger was an incredible person. We will always remember him.”
Roger was the proud father and grandfather of three grown children and three grandchildren. An avid sports enthusiast, he also loved to travel and bake. Roger worked for Alberta Health Services and worked in supply management in the south zone for over 23 years.
Roger was introduced to AGE-WELL through Jim Mann, a member of AGE-WELL’s Research Management Committee and an advocate for people living with Alzheimer’s who himself lives with Alzheimer’s disease. Roger’s first AGE-WELL event was a “hackathon” in Oakville, Ontario. Afterwards, Roger was invited out to dinner and was encouraged by Ron Beleno, Co-Chair of AGE-WELL’s Older Adult and Caregiver Advisory Committee, to attend the EPIC Summer Institute later that year. Since then, Roger was an integral part of the AGE-WELL network.
His brother, Bob Marple, accepted the AGE-WELL Honorary Fellow Award on behalf of Roger at the AGE-WELL 2022 Annual Conference in Regina, Saskatchewan.
When asked to describe his brother, Bob Marple said: “Larger than life.” He added that, “Roger didn’t do anything in half-measures.”
When Roger learned that he would be receiving the award, Bob reported that you “could’ve blown him over with a feather. He was just so honoured. It was one of the best things that had happened to him in months.”
“It was his privilege and honour to help out,” Bob said of Roger’s involvement in and contributions to AGE-WELL. “It’s his legacy. Myself and my family, we’re really grateful he had something to sink his teeth into and make his mark on the world.”
Roger had young onset Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. He died on October 24.