Cynthia Riediger, known to friends as Cindy, will be remembered as vibrant, energetic and kind.
“She was amazing. I can’t say enough good words about her,” said Cathy Ryan, a longtime friend and former colleague.
An avid runner, squash player and ice skater, Riediger, who was born in small-town Ontario, was devoted to her two daughters, Megan and Erin Fowler, aged 12 and 15.
“She was such a good mom and cared so much about her kids,” said Ryan, who first met Riediger when they were both graduate students at the University of Waterloo.
The 53-year-old was also a fiancée, a good friend and a well-known professional, said Ryan.
Since 2006, Riediger worked as a senior geologist with Shell Canada. Formerly, she was a professor in the department of geology and geophysics at the University of Calgary.
“She loved her work. She just qualified to be a guide for Burgess Shale in B.C.” said Ryan.
Pelee Island Mayor Rick Masse called the incident a tragedy.
“I was always taught you have to respect water and you never know what can happen,” said Masse.
“This is a case of what can go wrong, did go wrong.”
The community is saddened and shocked by the news, he added.
“Nobody in our community likes to see this happen,” Masse said.
Riediger’s life will be honoured on Saturday at Harrow Mennonite Church in Ontario, but a Calgary service is planned for a later date.
An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.