Remembering Claus Wirsig (1933 – 2017)

WUSC is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our lifelong supporters, Mr. Claus Wirsig, and would like to extend our condolences to his family and friends. Claus passed away peacefully at one of his favourite places on July 8, 2017.

Photo of Claus WirsigClaus was the first child of parents Frida and Oscar to be born in Canada. His parents were farmers who immigrated to La Pas, Manitoba. Claus was a dedicated student, with a thirst for knowledge that he maintained throughout his life. He studied history at the University of Alberta, and went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Claus later settled in Toronto, where he met his wife of 56 years, Ann.

Claus first joined the WUSC community while pursuing his undergraduate degree when he participated in the International Seminar to Germany in 1956. This would just be the beginning of his lifelong support of our organization. In his lifetime, Claus was an active institutional member, homestay host, and champion of WUSC’s work in global development. Claus always had a keen interest in the world around him, and enjoyed hosting guests from foreign countries almost as much as he enjoyed traveling to them. He formed lifelong friendships with these guests, and considered them to be extended family.

After the Seminar, Claus began a career in journalism. He then discovered a passion for public service and healthcare, and made a career change in his thirties. He ended his professional career as President of the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, where he dedicated his life to helping children and families for 16 years. Claus was an avid defender of universal healthcare, and donated much of his time and resources to the causes he believed in. After his retirement, the foundation paid tribute to his legacy with The Claus Wirsig Humanitarian Award, awarded to staff for their exceptional efforts of humanitarianism.

Claus never lost his interest in broadcasting, and was often found listening to world news on the radio. In his free time, Claus enjoyed woodworking, gardening, and spending time with his four daughters and seven grandchildren, of whom he was very proud, at their cottage.

Over the many years since the Seminar, Claus remained well connected with the WUSC community and our initiatives. Claus will be remembered fondly for his generous spirit and unwavering support of our vision to create a better world for youth.