Passed away peacefully after a long battle with lung disease at the age of 80 years and 6 hours. We were supposed to spend his 80th birthday eating Hakka food and thanking God for one more year. Instead, we spent it in Scarborough Grace Hospital thanking God for one LAST year and thanking dad for everything.
Survived by his wife (Lilly) of 52 years. Son (me) of 48 years and daughter-in-law (Cora) of 15 years. Although, he never liked the term “daughter-in-law”. He called her his daughter and treated her as one of his own children. (Actually, she was his favourite.) Fondly remembered by friends and family around the world. He was “Uncle Art” to anybody who wanted to call him that.
Dad was born and raised in South India. (The 3rd of 8 children.) He immigrated to Toronto alone in the mid-1970s, leaving his 7-month-pregnant wife behind, so he could start a new life. He put his B.Comm. to work..doing 16-hour shifts in an antifreeze factory. A year later, my mom and I immigrated, and I met him for the first time. I went to him immediately. (Mom has never forgiven me for that.) However, this was not unique to me. Children loved my dad. It was his mutant power.
Dad escaped from the antifreeze factory and worked in retail sales for the rest of his employed life. The locations, departments, and even the company name changed, but he had mastered the ART of the sale, if you will.
Dad taught me all the necessary manly skills. How to drive. How to tie a tie. How to iron. He gave me my love of hockey, cologne, swimming, Elvis and black forest cake.
He taught me the manliest skill of all which is to carry your burdens with quiet dignity. Only now do I know a FRACTION of the pressures he faced. Whether his burdens were financial, emotional or psychological, they were HIS, and my burdens were also his because that is the gift a man gives his family.
It’s difficult to say what I remember most about my dad. He had many amazing traits. (I wish I had inherited more of them, but they clearly skipped a generation.) However, there is one that is standing out for me at the moment because it was ever-present up until his recent, declining years. Dad was impeccable. He never had a hair out of place. He was always showered and clean shaven, even on his days off. And whatever function he went to, he was always the best-dressed man there. He personified the phrase, “If you’re going to do something, do it right!”
I’ll close with 2 things. A song and a quote. The song is the one that dad said always made him think of me, and it’s not hard to see why. It is a song written by a father about his children.
The quote is from a pro wrestler … and dad hated that I loved wrestling. However, it may be the greatest final public address ever given. (If you know, you know.)
“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath, and if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the bodies of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalised.“
– The Ultimate Warrior