Thank you Ian Coristine...

By: Susan W. Smith, Lynn E. McElfresh

Volume 15, Issue 2, February 2020

February 14. I want to write something now, before it is too late.  You see I heard from Ian Coristine’s Lyne that Ian is not well, in fact his family has gathered at his bedside.  Anyone who knows me, or has been a part of Thousand Islands Life Magazine over the past 15 years knows that Ian has been behind every issue – not only with his beautiful Header Photographs, but in spirit and many “Susie, Ian here, how about… what about…  How come you are late.“  Each and every one of those calls, emails and face-to-face meetings made me realize how fortunate I am to call him a friend.

It was back in 2008 that Ian answered my response to his question –“Anyone want to help with TI Life” as one of his best friends, Paul Malo, the creator of TI Life, had just passed away.  I did not know either gentleman very well, but I wrote, ”Yes,” and before I knew it Ian was on my verandah making his pitch.

Saying NO to someone who has spent the last quarter of his life promoting our Thousand islands would be impossible for me or most people I know.  I agreed and the rest is history.

For the past eight years he was the judge for our Photo contest.  He was like a little boy receiving dozens of Christmas presents under the tree when I sent him the final file.  He would call with his decision and tell me he hated the task as he had to pick winners. He wanted everyone to win – but he was also quick to say, “Only straight horizons,  please.” This past year, 2019 would be his last, but at the time I had no idea.

How important was Ian Coristine – he published… photography books.  If you look on most Island bookshelves you will surely see one of his books; look at a wall in a hall and you will see one of his framed maps. I have met islanders in the west near Cape Vincent and as far east as Cornwall, who remember seeing his little red plane going over on a misty morning. And then there are the numerous projects that he championed. One of the most important would be the building of the Tall Ships and the Aquatarium in Brockville. He was a visionary who championed the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands like no other.

I do not know when the end will be  - I want him to know, “Ian you are one super person, hero and  man. We all thank you!

Susan W. Smith (Susie)

And Lynn McElfresh sent this tribute today:

I remember Ian Coristine’s first book on the Thousand Islands. Wow! What a game-changer—page after page of spine-tingling photos. And while l marveled at his stunning scenes, as a writer, I was even more impressed by his captions. Writing long is easy. Writing short is tough. His captions were informative and provocative miniature masterpieces.

The Gilded Age had Frank Taylor whose pen and ink illustrations introduced the Thousand Islands to the rest of the country. The twenty-first century is blessed to have Ian Coristine to showcase our beloved islands to the world.

Lynn McElfresh (Lynn)

Note: February 15, 2020:

We received Ian Coristine's formal obituary this evening. We join in sending our condolences to his wife Lyne, his family, and his many friends.

Posted in: Volume 15, Issue 2, February 2020

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