More than just filling space: stories of 100 years of living

By Dale Johnson Posted: November 22, 2017 12:10 p.m.

Jack Boan signs his new book for President Vianne Timmons, while Lyn Goldman looks on.
Jack Boan signs his new book for President Vianne Timmons, while Lyn Goldman looks on. Photo: U of R Photography

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you are willing to act when opportunities present themselves…and you have 100 years under your belt.

Back in the ‘60s, Jack Boan had a hand in the creation of publically funded healthcare for Canadians, went on to create the Canadian Health Economics Research Association, championed prison reform with the John Howard Society, and helped to sponsor 60 Vietnamese students impacted by the war. He also taught economics at the University of Regina for more than 20 years.

Photo courtesy of Benchmark Press

In explaining his approach to life, Boan says he never had an end game in mind. His philosophy was simple: “when a door opens, walk through it.”

This eldest son of Anglo-Scottish immigrants was born on a farm near Briercrest, Saskatchewan. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, where his love of teaching was born. He later earned his PhD in Agricultural Economics. He worked with the federal government in Ottawa and later served on the Royal Commission on Health Services.

Somewhere in the midst of all this extraordinary living, Boan found the time to marry, become a father to three children and grandfather to six, as well as serving as one of Regina’s 4 Horsemen (a barber shop quartet named for the Y2K-inspired talk of the impending Apocalypse).

He retired from the University in 1983, but has continued to be active in the life of the institution, as well as health care economics and the plight of refugees.

“Jack Boan’s untiring commitment to education, public service, and international cooperation has helped define the University of Regina for more than 50 years, and inspired countless Saskatchewan people to make a positive impact on our world. His story is in many ways the story of our province,” says Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina

To find out more about the incredible life of Jack Boan pick up a copy of his just-released memoir, Spaces to Fill: And a Century To Do It.

A book launch was held on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. at the Campion College Commons at the University of Regina. The U of R Bookstore was on hand with copies of the book for purchase.

Spaces to Fill: And a Century To Do It retails for $25 and is available at the U of R Bookstore,, and through select retailers. All proceeds from the book are going to the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation – an organization Boan has been involved with for many years.