Felipe Amoros 1935 - 2009
Dear Mom, Family, Friends and Colleagues;
Thank you, for your prayers, friendship and warmth. They are heart-felt and remind us of the many opportunities we all have to touch someone in a special way.
It was difficult to know where to start but I found a statement that best tells us all about dealing with adversity. Henry James said, "Sorrow comes in great waves…but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot and we know that if it is strong we are stronger inasmuch as it passes and we remain".
Our Dad must have known this passage if not in words certainly in spirit. Over his life he endured great waves, leaving him stronger and wiser yet with much joy and love in his heart which he willingly shared with all of us.
Born as the eldest son to Carmela Onetti and Felipe Amoros, through life circumstances and the failings of his own father, he was raised in the absence of his mother whom he later came to know and love as a young man entering adulthood. The product of a broken home, his sorrow over the absence of his mother propelled him to grow up determined and strong, full of joy, loyalty, love and integrity – committed to his principles, family, friends, politics, and catholic faith. For Pipe, it was always family first.
Pipe met Nora during the same time period that he re-united with his mother. At the time of their mother and son reunion Carmela (Pipe's Mother) was engaged to Tito, our maternal grandfather's (Rodolfo) youngest brother. Rodolfo was the patriarch of the Sablich clan and he welcomed the new "Cousin-to-be" – Pipe - with open arms. Rodolfo could not have guessed then that he would become a role model not just to his "nephew-to-be" but in fact to his future son in law. And this is how my Dad's passage to young adulthood began. "Cousin-in-law" to Nora, and "nephew-in-law" to Rodolfo, he was asked to chaperone Nora's many dates with interested suitors; he attended all the family parties and get-togethers and in the process discovered his passion for Nora, the family unit and food.
As chaperone - Pipe – now the concerned advisor - took every opportunity to counsel Nora on the perils of dating the wrong "boyfriend". You see, my Dad recognized the incredible jewel Nora was (he was a very smart man from the start) and through perseverance and impeccable chaperone duties he won her heart. Their romance was followed by a heart-breaking breakup for Pipe and the loss of Carmela (his mother) months later. At Carmela's funeral, both Nora and Pipe found solace in each other and began their way back to a long and exemplary marriage. Their joyous re-engagement was the prelude to their wonderful 47 year marriage and family life. Our Dad found the extraordinary in the ordinary as husband, father, grandfather, uncle, god-father and friend.
Three daughters later Pipe understood his responsibilities as father, teacher and mentor and began his parental endeavours through dialogue and example. Many stories come to mind, but perhaps one of the most important lessons revolved around the selection of the best spot on the beach. An avid beach-goer, in Peru and later on here, our Dad's proven "best-spot-on-the-beach" selection process was rigorous yet successful. Marissa describes the meticulous selection process starting with heavy planning strategies and role development prior to deployment, early departure times, on-site efficient plan execution, the narrowing of alternatives, and implementation of the final decision and post selection set-up. This rigorous process not only served to provide us with some anger management opportunities followed by forgiveness, wonderful lazy summer days and glorious fun but little did we know then that this obsessive process would cultivate our entrepreneurial spirit and pre-disposition to engineering, design and project management endeavours – not to mention my personal distaste for sand on my towel.
Following in the steps of Rodolfo, family first, was our Dad's motto. On Wednesday of this week, we received a wonderful letter from Mary Katherine Roach – one of our Canadian cousins. On this letter she wrote of her fondest memories of Pipe and the lasting impact he had on her. I quote "The first is that he loved to be surrounded by his friends and family. He was generous and genuinely loved to bring people together. While Christmas and other family events remain dear to my heart, I also recall many other events in which he opened his doors to not only a few but MANY MANY people. I have some distinct memories of the bar-b-cues at Inglewood with Pipe barbequing sausages..."
As you may remember, we arrived in Canada in 1974 – Pipe had been here a year laying down the foundation for our new life. He wanted us to feel connected and rooted – to be part of an extended family that was physically close - and in the absence of our blood cousins he proceeded to build our "Canadian" family. He instilled in us a wonderful sense of friendship that transcended into the concept of "family" and with it he taught us that small traditions support relationships that last a lifetime. Marissa in particular recalls the making of the "Panetone". With a house full of Canadian cousins and amongst all the chaos somehow the dough rose to its full potential resulting in a delicious "Panetone". We learnt camaraderie, teamwork and patience but most importantly we learnt that we had a wonderful family here.
Our Dad loved to have us around but it was Dinner together that superseded everything else. Millie recalls that this resulted in regular delicious meals which he loved people to enjoy thus conflicting with a quick bite with friends while we were out and about. Many were the times that we ate dinner twice because for our Dad dinner time was family time. Our dinner table was always open to all of our friends and it was always lively. We learnt generosity, the importance and relevance of duty and the ability to express ourselves without fear, for as we got older the topics and discussions became an incredible training ground for any future debater and or defender of one's beliefs.
What we did not learn however was the art of cooking. Millie started DinDin with our Dad and somewhere through-out their years in business; she concluded that she too had inherited his ability and know-how around the kitchen. So it was with great surprise that in 1999 while in Sweden that she realized that not only had she not been cooking for her family for the last 9 years but that Marc and the boys had resorted to eating cheese! Dan however did not leave his culinary fate with Marissa, taking matters into his own hands he watched and learnt from Pipe so that the art of cooking and the best family bar-b-cues now remain with him.
With our Canadian family in place and our clear understanding that Dinner time was "sacred", our Dad made sure that we heard and lived all the stories from our family abroad. He taught us that strong family bonds can endure distance if properly cultivated. This week our family is enjoying the fruits of those carefully cultivated bonds for as we celebrate this mass today, our family in Peru celebrates a mass for our Dad which was organized by our cousin Jessica Bullard and our friend's in Mexico celebrate a mass organized by a very special man Arturo Bolanos.
Following in Rodolfo's footsteps, Pipe built strong and loving relationships with our respective husbands. For our Dad, Robert, Marc and Dan were his sons. Often partners in crime - particularly if it involved drinking - Pipe knew that his strong and loving sons would grow to build their own families following the same motto – family first. And then came the grandchildren; Constance, Alexander, Oliver, Katherine, Marc-Antony, Mackenzie, Cassidy and Chelsea. Each one a special gift and jewel for his family crown. Our Dad participated and involved himself with all his grandchildren generously. From changing and bathing 5-week old Constance while I was writing exams to listening to Chelsea tell him and show him her many undertakings, our Dad - your "abuelito" – remained a constant participant in all of your lives with much love, support and admiration for all of your accomplishments.
And now for his last six years. I read an article in MacLean's sometime this summer. Basically if we had a list of 100 regular activities that we did everyday and each day you crossed one out because you could not do it anymore, how would you feel, what would you do. Well fortunately for us, our Dad was both a great student and teacher and showed us how to remain standing over some pretty great waves. During the last six years as he lost one more physical ability he adapted with courage, humility and dignity. He learnt and taught us to see what he could still do instead of what he could not. He taught us through example to make changes where and when we could, accept what we could not and understand the difference. During the last six years there were some very difficult and trying moments but there were many more happy and warm ones. We had many opportunities to share ideas, thoughts and feelings and met new and wonderful life-long friends like Juan Carlos and Nathalia Duke which may not have otherwise crossed our paths. We had many funny and serious conversations – our Dad remained very expressive so it was very clear which was which - but I wanted to share with you one of the last ones we had for it gave me great understanding of where we were on Monday night at 9:00 pm. In short, he wanted the family to know that he was ready and that we were ready too. It was a good and happy life for him to the very last day.
I find it difficult to conclude in an eloquent manner, so on behalf of all our family I would like to thank you for your love and friendship.
Mom, you were our rock and we are ready to be yours always. Dad knew when he chose you, how you would complete his life. Thank you for seeing that he also would complete yours.
Dad, thank you for the wonderful family you leave me with and for my amazingly extraordinary ordinary life - I love you and will miss you.
Pipe Eulogy by Danny Murray
Hello to all
I was honored when Nora asked me to say a few words on behalf of the brothers in law….
I look out in this room how Many People were touched by Pipe that it makes me very proud to have known him and had him be a huge part of my life for the last 20 years.
One of the things I will always remember about Pipe, was his love of good food. He would never tire of telling you about this great meal he had and how he was going to prepare it for you….
Pipe Loved to Cook and was great at it. Those of us Fortunate enough to have enjoyed the results of his cooking need no further explanation. Reflecting on his cooking style, I think is fair to say that he cooked a lot like the way he lived. With confidence, love and Passion in fact. . . If Pipe himself was a recipe, it would read as follows:
Preheat oven to Extra Caleinte!
Add Equal parts Commitment, Dedication & Faith
Stir in plenty of Passion and lots of Humor.
Then fill the bowl to overflowing with Love and affection.
…….. I would like to tell you a story that I had forgotten until yesterday… It is about Marissa's first Job interview. Freshly graduated from University. . . Marissa landed an Interview in Ottawa. Her father naturally Drove her to Ottawa… for moral support. . . They got there a little early so went to McDonalds to kill time and grab a coke. Those of us who know Marissa can guess what happened next….. Yes. . . Marissa proceeded to spill the Coke all down the front of her Shirt. With only moments to spare. . . Marissa in a panic goes into the rest room & tries to get the stain out. She comes out and asks her Dad How does it look ? Is it gone. . . . Yes. . . It is completely gone. . . let';s go… Says Pepe. So Marissa goes to the Interview. . .When they make it back from Ottawa. . . Marissa Looks in the Mirror and realizes that she has a HUGE Dark Coke stain all down her Shirt……. Somehow, Pipe always seemed to know exactly the right thing to say at the right time.
All who knew Pipe, knew how easy he was to talk to… And many of us will miss that most of all.
I know I can speak for my brothers in law as well as all the other Gringo's in the room when I say that we have certainly learned a lot from Pipe and that he has certainly left an impression on us….
- From Pepe, We have learned simple but important things like…. that when you go to the grocery store, that you go to IGA… and not IGA….
- We learned from him that the soap that you wash the dishes with is called Palmolive & not Palmolive.
- As a quiet Canadian guy sitting around the dinner table in complete shock as people passionately scream at each other about various topics…. I very soon learned, that sometimes. . . . the louder you yell and scream… the more you love
- We have learned that when Peruvian people ask for Wisky. . they really mean Scotch.
- but most importantly from Pipe we have learned about family
- We have learned about passion…Ganas….. and Love for Life
- We have been inspired by both Nora and Pipe by their commitment to their family. Their whole family. . . all of you…..
- I have been witness to what a remarkable family you helped build with your love and dedication. Pipe… You are a role model for us all.
- I have learned about generosity and happiness & how these things are contagious.
- I Learned that If you are having a party and you wanted to make sure that people would have a good time, then Pipe is the one you need to invite.
One of the first times I went over to eat dinner at the Amoros house… We had just had a terrific dinner & After supper. . . Pipe ask me if I liked Cigars…. I Said Sure. . . . So we proceeded to sit on the couch and smoke cigars. . . and drink Pisco……………… I was 15 years old. He knew then as I did that this was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Pipe had a generosity that was contagious and loved nothing more than sitting with his family and friends with a Pisco in his hand. ( HE would even include his son in laws sometimes )
HE was always ready with a good joke. . . and even though you had heard it 10 times before. . . He would always make you laugh anyway…
In closing, I would like to tell you about a conversation I had yesterday that I think says it all. As I was talking with one of the caregivers from the CLSC yesterday at the visitation. . . She said something that summed it all up very well for me.
Thanking her for all her help, I said…. It's so nice of you to come…
She replied that she felt that she had to come… She then paused… Searching for the right words… After a few Moments she simply said. . . I had to come, because you guys are such a special family.
A very special family. Indeed
Pipe…. you can be very proud of your accomplishments. You have built a fantastic family…. we are all in this room celebrating you…. I know that I am a far better person for having known you.
We love you Pipe. You showed us all how wonderful a life you can build when you put Family First!
Pipe Eulogy by Luis Cortez
My dear friends,
Today we have gathered to give our final farewell to our dear friend Pipe.
He has passed away after a relatively long illness which weakened his body but certainly not his mind… I still remember very well in one of my last visit, I sat by his side and started talking on how he was doing, soccer and other topics that I thought he would be interested in. However he did not seem to pay attention to what I was saying. So I told him: "Pipe, you are not paying attention, you don't want me to come and visit you anymore…" Then, he nodded his head and tried to say something… The nurse that was beside him and who knew him well said: I think he wants to tell you something. Then, with the help of a cardboard with letters and the help of his aid, he asked me how was my family doing.
I like to tell you this short story because I think it represents well what Pipe's soul was all about. He always cared for others and wanted to know how they were doing.
This caring for other was probably one of the most influential characteristic of his personality. This is best reflected in the way he raised his family. Pipe and Nora raised one of the most love-caring and united families that I have known.
Certainly the upbringing of a family is not easy and in Pipe's case, like in most of our own cases, it had its share of adversity. Pipe always stood against it and overcame the difficulties thanks to what I think was another of trademark of his personality. He was a profound optimistic and to honor this aspect of his personality I would like to change the sad mood which we are feeling now to a more optimistic and probably humoristic mood which reflects better Pipe's life.
I had known Pipe for some 35 years or so. I remember Pipe joining our group after his arrival to Canada in the early seventies. He arrived alone while his young family was still in Peru. He sympathized well with us and it did not take to much time for Pipe to be an active part of the group and to participate in our traditional Saturday night parties that we used to have very often during those years. It goes without saying that Pipe was always the one doing the cooking.
I remember that he was very often the one who kept us out of trouble when during those parties police officers knocked at our door because we were making too much noise… at that time, neither him nor us were too fluent in English and even less in French. However, in most cases, Pipe managed to negotiate a reasonable agreement with the police officers, turn a bit down the stereo volume and the party kept going on. Since the early days of our friendship, he was our spokesman, our mentor, our advisor, a role that he loved doing and which created strong links of friendship and solidarity among us.
As the years when by, the young families social lives were anchored around week-end gatherings and parties (those times without police) in which "The Amoros" were, if not the organizers, active participants of the innumerable social events to which we have participated.
Otra de las características por la cual creo que nuestro querido Pipe va a ser muy recordado fue su lealtad a los valores tradicionales con que fue educado.
Me acuerdo muy bien en una ocasión en la cual un grupo grande de familias nos habíamos reunido para celebrar el 28 de Julio -fiesta de la independencia del Perú- Estábamos todos muy bien celebrando y pasando un buen momento cuando de repente Pipe pide nuestra atención nos pide 1 minuto de silencio y comienza ha izar una bandera Peruana en una antigua torre de TV que había en el jardín. Por supuesto todos guardando silencio contemplamos a Pipe izar la bandera,.cuando en eso a un par de metros + 0 – de la base para de izar la bandera, se acerca al tocadiscos pone un disco y unos cuantos segundos mas tarde comenzamos a escuchar el himno Nacional del Perú… el cual nos lo hizo cantar a todos mientras terminada de izar la bandera Peruana..
No creo que me equivoque si les digo que en nuestra gran familia Peruano–Canadiense, Pipe fue uno de los principales promotores del amalgamiento de las costumbres y tradiciones peruanas con nuestro nuevo país y estilo de vida.
No podría finalizar mi elogio a Pipe si no destaco una de las características que en tanto que amigos creo va quedar siempre en nuestra memoria… La pasión y el fervor con el cual discutía y defendía sus ideas y convicciones.
Creo que esta pasión y fervor le hizo desarrollar un sexto sentido en su interior el cual le permitía mantener tres conversaciones con tres grupos diferentes de personas y en tres diferentes temas. …en simultaneo…..con su carismático "perdón un momentito", frase muy conocida entre los amigos y que usaba como salvoconducto para participar en las diferentes conversaciones ………y por supuesto no me acuerdo si alguna vez perdió un argumento……………..especialmente si se trataba de política y sobre todo si su amado partido político APRA estaba de por medio…
Pipe, tu ocupaste un gran espacio en nuestra vida social. Pavito te vamos a extrañar.