RIP: Robe's John Bilyk has Died

Bilyk passed away at age 70 in December.

Manus Hopkins
January 27, 2023

Robe Lighting, Inc. has announced with great sadness that John Bilyk, a well-known and colourful figure in the Canadian and American stage lighting communities, died on the evening of Dec. 11, 2022. He was 70 years old. Bilyk passed away at home peacefully, after a nearly year-long battle with brain cancer, and he is survived by his wife, Tracey.

Bilyk had a storied career in stage lighting that spanned 40 plus years.However, one of his early formative work experiences was with a men’s clothing store in Winnipeg owned by Marc Raymond. Raymond later co-founded Westsun, which grew to be a major Canadian production and installation company. Soon after, Bilyk started his stage lighting career at Westsun in Winnipeg. Bilyk then relocated to Toronto, partnering with Brock McGinnis to establish the Canadian lighting distribution firm Novatec. Novatec represented notable lighting manufacturers including High End Systems and Celco in the Canadian marketplace. He then joined Fourth Phase (later to become PRG) who had purchased Westsun, to establish one of the first used stage lighting sales outlets, 2nd Stage. Bilyk hen joined Vari*Lite as the Canadian Sales Manager for several years, reconnecting with Bob Schacherl, whom he previously knew from High End Systems. Shortly after Schacherl joined Czech lighting manufacturer Robe lighting s.r.o., Bilyk rejoined his former colleague as Robe Canadian Sales Manager in 2016, where he worked until his passing.

 “John was instrumental in the global success of our products early on, and he continued to be a valued member of the automated lighting industry across multiple decades and manufacturers," comments Bruce Jordahl of High End Systems/ETC. "We truly appreciated his industry wisdom and insight, but more so his quirkiness and incredibly loveable nature. We will miss him and send our condolences to his loved ones during this difficult time.”

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Manus Hopkins

Manus Hopkins is the Assistant Editor of Professional Lighting & Production