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DEREK WILLIAM MAZUR
Born: May 13, 1947
Date of Passing: Feb 11, 2021Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory
DEREK WILLIAM MAZUR
The family and friends of Derek William Mazur, 73, are deeply saddened by his death on February 11, 2021, at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg.
Derek was born in Edmonton, AB, on May 13, 1947, to Linda and Stanley Mazur who nicknamed him 'Del.' He had two younger sisters, Diane and Darlene, both with a rare genetic condition. Diane adored her older brother, calling him 'Ducky,' a nickname that followed him into adulthood. In high school in Port Coquitlam, BC, he was the editor of his school yearbook ('The Beaver') and worked in the produce department of Safeway to save for university. Derek's first son, Cris, was born in 1966 from a relationship during high school with Trude LaBossiere Huebner. After years of being apart, Cris contacted Derek in 1993, moved to Winnipeg and was welcomed into the family.
After high school, Derek studied commerce at the University of British Columbia, but academia could not compete with real life entrepreneurship and, just two credits short of his degree, he abandoned UBC for the flourishing counterculture scene in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood. Working from his apartment above a head shop, Derek could be found cruising up and down West 4th Avenue in his red Austin-Healey, hawking bongs and blacklight posters at hippie hangouts like The Advance Mattress. His love of the arts drew him to the theatre where he worked as a stage manager and lighting director at the Vancouver Playhouse and as a set carpenter at CBC Vancouver. At an after party at the Arts Club, Derek met his first wife, Lara Mazur (nee Borgford), with whom he had a daughter and a son, Johanna and Dylan. In 1971 he and Lara moved to Winnipeg where he secured a federal government grant to research the development of a community health centre, and soon found himself developing
co-operative housing. But Derek's love of the arts never left him. Nor did his entrepreneurial spirit.
In 1974, with animator Brad Caslor, Derek started a film production company, Credo Group. When the company expanded into live action filmmaking, initially TV commercials and PSAs, Derek, ever versatile, taught himself directing and producing. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Winnipeg film industry was starting to take off and Credo was at the centre of it. Their 120 Sherbrook Avenue office became a hub of activity and something of a hangout for local filmmakers - occasionally even party central - with Derek presiding over it all with generosity and humour. Under his oversight, Credo's productions included documentaries, short animated films, TV series, Reality TV miniseries, TV movies and feature films. Joan Scott, who joined the company in 1975 as office manager, became Derek's production management and producing partner. In 2003 they became husband and wife. Always inclusive and committed to developing Manitoba talent, Derek and Joan gave many in the film community their start on Credo productions. Over his thirty year career at Credo, Derek was the recipient of an Emmy Award, a Genie award and two Geminis, as well as many international festival awards.
Derek had a magnetism to which the word charisma does not do justice. Carrying a cup of coffee from a pot left far too long on the burner and waving his trademark cigarette, he could inspire one listener or a whole room with his latest enthusiasm. His conviction made you want to join him and do your best and when you did, his appreciation was genuine and generous. His creative intelligence was outstanding, a collaborator with a keen sense of authenticity and timing. If a project went sideways, Derek just buckled down until it got fixed, whether by working through the night, picking up a hammer and saw, spending hours on the phones or mortgaging the family house. He could frustrate with his tendency to leap from one focus to another, but you could never stay angry with Derek. Lunches at the Acropolis could cover topics political, creative and personal, with never an awkward silence. He was honest, caring and committed. He loved to tease, but he never stooped to blaming others for his mistakes or belittling them for theirs.
Great times were had in the Grosvenor Avenue home he shared with Joan and a bewildering parade of offspring and their partners. Derek finally had his dream kitchen - designed to his specifications - where he spent many happy hours cooking and experimenting. That enormous kitchen became family central for dinners, birthday parties, wrap parties and weddings, always with lots of exotic and delicious food made by Derek. On one of Credo's international shoots, he fell in love with Thai food and became fanatical about preparing it from scratch. In later years, on Centennial Street, he delighted his grandchildren with his homemade Greek burgers and every year friends looked forward to gifts of his famous curry powder. You could always hear him humming in the kitchen. No particular tune, just humming. "Derek, stop humming!" "Sorry!" … Hmm … hmmm … mmm … mmm…
Unfortunately, Credo, now Credo Entertainment Corporation, did not survive the economic downturn that followed 9/11. It ceased operations in 2002 and, for the first time in decades, Derek became an employee, joining the National Film Board as Executive Producer of the NFB's Prairie Centre, until the Winnipeg office was merged with Edmonton.
Derek was the founder and long time president of the Manitoba Motion Picture Industry Association and a board member of the National Screen Institute, the Banff Television Foundation and the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association. From 2011 to his retirement in 2017, he was CEO of the Nunavut Film Development Corporation, where he continued his career long mission of developing and supporting young filmmakers. Living year round in Iqaluit, Derek fell in love with the north, its culture and especially its people. He showed that love through dinner parties where strangers became warm friends. He delighted in the ravens that visited his windowsill every morning for their daily snack, and his homemade wine took on a distinct northern flavour, with crowberries incorporated into Derek's recipe.
In addition to his many film and television awards, Derek was awarded a Manitoba Blizzard award for Outstanding Achievement and Canada's 125th Anniversary Medal for Significant Contribution to Canadian Culture. He and Joan were jointly presented with the Gimli Film Festival's Living the Dream Award, again for a lifetime of contributions to the Manitoba industry.
In his retirement, Derek loved spending time with his life partner, Joan, relaxing on the front porch with a morning coffee or in "La Garaga" with a late afternoon glass of wine, watching the antics of birds and squirrels around their bird feeders. Joan was beside him in his final hours in the hospital, holding his hand and reading texts to him from family and friends.
Derek was predeceased by his mother Linda Mazur (nee Watkins); father Stanley Mazur; and sisters, Diane and Darlene Mazur. He is survived by his wife, Joan Scott; daughter Johanna Mazur; stepdaughter Angela Glesby (Ryan Glesby); sons, Cris LaBossiere and Dylan Mazur (Jen Chisholm); stepson Eric Scott (Christa Durhack); and grandchildren, Riley, Brooklyn, Cole and Chad Glesby; as well as dear friends and family in Manitoba, British Columbia and Nunavut.
We would like to thank all the wonderful staff of St. Boniface Hospital for their respectful and thoughtful care of Derek. Due to Covid-19, a memorial to celebrate his life will be delayed until later this year.
The family of Derek Mazur will be establishing a memorial fund to support filmmakers in Canada's North. If you would like to support the fund, please email your contact information to :
Condolences at Neil Bardal Funeral Centre: www.neilbardalinc.com
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Feb 20, 2021
Condolences & Memories (1 entries)
Sad to read this news and sending deepest condolences to Joan and all of Derek's family and friends. I recall being terrified of Derek's mighty talent and directing "force" in the early days of my career as a copywriter, but he always had so much to teach and his work was impeccable. He will be missed. - Posted by: Leanne Fournier (Former client) on: Feb 21, 2021
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