Passings: Professor Emeritus Enzo Cafarelli remembered for his enthusiasm for teaching and learning

Enzo Cafarelli, York professor emeritus/senior scholar, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, passed away peacefully following a courageous battle with cancer, Feb. 16, 2016 at the age of 74.

Enzo Cafarelli
Enzo Cafarelli

A professor with the School for more than 30 years, Prof. Cafarelli’s professional research and accomplishments were outstanding, as reflected by his research publications in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals. He was recognized across Canada and around the world as an expert in his area of study; his research interests were primarily focused on the neural control of skeletal muscle. Prof. Cafarelli’s long-term goal was to contribute to the understanding of how the human neuromuscular system regulates muscular contraction in the face of various challenges.

A member of York’s Muscle Health Research Centre (MHRC) in the Faculty of Health, Prof. Cafarelli received the 2011 Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) Honour Award. Prof. Cafarelli had also been the associate editor and a member of the editorial board of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, one of the top journals in the field of exercise science.

He will be remembered at York as an excellent teacher who was well-liked by his students.

As one former student said, “His enthusiasm for learning, and an honest fascination with his subjects, was the environment within which he forced students to teach themselves and each other. A radical departure from traditional teaching, his style was initially quite intimidating; however, most of us thrived in that environment because it was based ultimately on a teachers’ respect for their students’ intellect.”

Prof. Cafarelli contributed equally to graduate and undergraduate teaching – most KINE and Phys. Ed. grads of the ’80s and ’90s will certainly remember the learning experience associated with his required undergraduate course in human physiology. He was also one of the key collaborators in the development of the doctoral program in kinesiology and health science.

Prof. Cafarelli was the embodiment of the values and vision of the School. His exuberant personality, and his quick and dry sense of humour, will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues at York University, and by exercise physiologists globally.

Prof. Cafarelli was the devoted husband of Kathy Richmond, proud father of Tina Cafarelli, Andrew Wilson (Kristen), Bree Cameron (Paul), and Ashley Cafarelli, and cherished grandfather of Emily, Jaime, John and Jake. He is pre-deceased by his parents Enzo and Louise. He will also be greatly missed by his sister Donna Wiegman (Geoff), brother Vincent Cafarelli (Sandy), nephew Daniel and niece Nicole.