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A Long Goodbye

Posted 2014.07.08 20.41 in Family/Friends

My dad wrote his own obituary, and it is as beautiful as it is long.

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been reading everyone else’s for years, and I’ve always liked those best that were written by the deceased themselves. So here’s mine.

Hugh_MaksylewichAfter being a burden on the health care system for almost five years, I finally packed it in on July 6th, 2014.

What a great life I have had. I’ve had so many successes, it is going to sound like bragging.

First of all, I was the luckiest guy ever when I met and married Joan Clark. What a fantastic wife, friend, and supporter she has been. And thanks to B.A. and Ron for arranging that Joan and I should meet.

We chose two wonderful babies who grew up to be great fiends; our daughters Stephanie and Leanne. And then there are the grands: Mackenzie, Jackson, and Riley, Leanne’s great kids.

It took a while, but I finally realized that the next most important thing in life after family is the wonderful friends you make over the years.

When I married Joan, I also acquired a place in her family. A lot of people make jokes about their in-laws. I don’t. They’ve always been great to Joan and I. Her sister Marilyn and brother-in-law Rod Shantz have always been better friends than relatives. And their extended family; Mark and Anne and their daughter Abbey, Tracey and her husband Eric and their four fantastic kids, Daniel, Robert, Matthew, and Emily.

I left my parents and sister Sonia back in B.C. when I came to Toronto in 1959. And while we lived apart, they were there for me when I needed help or support. One of my proudest moments was when I was able to  help arrange a surprise 65th wedding anniversary for my parents, Peter and Cay Maksylewich in Penticton, B.C. where they lived.

It truly amazes me the number of people I’ve gotten to know through Joan, my musical career, my various jobs, and of course those I met through my adventures as a small business owner in the now defunct business forms industry. What a rush!

Through the ups and downs of business start-up, loss, and re-start-up, active participation in our trade association, the wonderful and interesting people and places we enjoyed is a major highlight.

So many new friends, so many wonderful trips culminating in a unique award given to me in 1989: I am the only Canadian ever awarded the Member Of The Year trophy by my peers in our trade association. Am I bragging? A little perhaps, but I know you will cut me some slack.

Finally, I would like to recognize the last five years living in what for me was the greatest community ever.

Unless one has actually lived here, it is hard to believe that so many kind, giving, and wonderful people could live in such close proximity.

I will never forget my 75th birthday party in the community rec centre, when 85 people attended to wish me a happy birthday. Sending the thank-you cards, I was overwhelmed to realize that 55 of those were neighbourhood friends. What a community! There are too many to list in this verbose epistle, but you know who you are, and I thank you so much.

Wow, this is long! But you know that I was never one to be short on speaking, until recently!

So, good bye to you all, friends, family, and acquaintances.

Who knows what the future brings, but hopefully you and I will meet again.