Family suspects Qualicum Beach man had medical emergency while kayaking

Quentin Russ had a hunger for life and relished every second spent on the ocean. That’s why, after the discovery of his body near Lasqueti Island in what his family suspects was a medical emergency, they intend to scatter his ashes in the water where he was found.

The family of the 51-year-old Qualicum Beach man have identified him as the person found deceased Saturday afternoon two nautical miles off Lasqueti Island. The body was recovered by the Coast Guard and the death is being investigated by the B.C. Coroners Service.

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Russ’s ex-wife, Lindi Russ, said police told her Russ left Qualicum Beach to go night fishing in his kayak around 6:30 p.m. He was wearing a personal flotation device and was dressed in warm clothes, Lindi Russ said. The kayak was not damaged and it was not overturned, she said.

She was told by the coroner that drowning was not the cause of death, which leads her to suspect he might have had a heart attack while on the water. Five years ago, Russ had a silent heart attack that led to a quadruple bypass surgery.

Russ has two daughters, 21-year-old Selena and 25-year-old Breshell. He also leaves behind two sisters, Brenda and Shelley, who live in Alberta where Russ was born.

“He loved outdoor adventure,” Lindi Russ said. “Fishing, water-skiing, boating, sailing — you name it, he loved it. He really lived life with a ferocity and a hunger for life.”

Russ spent most of his life working as a herring fisherman and a deep sea fisherman, but he settled down after the heart attack, she said. He loved his dog, Buster, a Staffordshire ­terrier.

Selena remembers days spent on the beach with her father, where he’d sit her on his shoulders or swim with her in the deep waters. “I’m a little person … but he made it feel like I didn’t have a disability,” she said.

Lindi and Selena live in Victoria and said they were in complete shock when Victoria police knocked on their door to notify them of the death. Lindi said the family has come to terms with his death, taking solace that he died doing what he loved.

She said Russ will be ­cremated after the autopsy is done.

“His wishes were to have his ashes scattered in the Salish Sea,” Lindi said. “So we will be heading out to as close as possible to where they found him to scatter his ashes there.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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