published in Aging, Death, Family, Fatherhood, Gratitude, Inspiration by Maryanne | March 5, 2017

And Away He Goes…My Dad is Off On His Next Big Adventure

 

Dad at 82, ready for a road trip 🙂

On February 27th, 2017, my Dad, Alex Pope, passed away peacefully in Linden, AB. My little brother, Carleton, wrote this beautiful obituary for him:

In his 84th year, Alexander Carleton Pope left us for his next great adventure.

Loved and cared for by many, Dad was born to Douglas Pope and Helen Alexander on the family farm by Richmond-Melbourne, Quebec. He grew up in Montreal, and leaves behind his younger brothers Doug (Millie) and Ted (Sylvie).

Before Dad was a year old, he was taken to his grandparents’ country home, where a large fire was built to warm the brick house for the cherub’s arrival. The resulting chimney fire consumed the home, and so began a very interesting and capricious life.

After earning a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill in 1955 (taking five years instead of the usual four), his careers were in trust banking and commercial real estate. Although perhaps his favourite work was in retirement, when he took it upon himself to become a semi-professional bottle picker. Though not his most lucrative occupation, he was very fond of his “returnables,” and cycled far and wide in search of new treasure troves to recycle and redeem.

Alex was the proud father of Pat (Mary), Doug (Tracey), George (Donna), Maryanne (John), and Carleton (Valina). He was also a dedicated grandpa to Kylie (Colm), Melanie, Laura, Kimberly, and Emily, and a great-grandfather to Baby Liam! Further descendants are sure to follow.

Mary Harrison & Alex Pope, 1958

Dad first married Mary Harrison, who died in 2014, and then Elsie Los, who died in 1993. When his second wife passed away, he left his career to devotedly raise his youngest son and care for his own aging father. Through his retirement, he always made time to help his children with their projects and businesses; not to mention helping his grandchildren with their homework!

Alex’s two greatest passions were learning and libations, which were more often than not enjoyed together. Dad was a true academic and a critical thinker, and loved nothing more than reading abstract books and pondering the nature of ultimate reality.

Dad also loved literature, and this encouraged him to return to McGill in his ‘60s where he earned another degree, this time in English Literature. He enjoyed writing unique short-stories for several years thereafter.

Sadly, with the onset of dementia in his late ‘70s, he lost the ability to enjoy these passions, which he found genuinely vexing.

As his illness progressed, Dad received a lot of help and consideration from everyone at the Golden Hills Lodge in Three Hills. Dad then moved to the Westview Care Community in Linden, where he received exceptional kindness and attention these last three years. All of his caregivers were very much a new family for him, and he became affectionately known as “Papa.” We are all extremely grateful.

While not his alma mater, Dad was accepted for a third and final time to university, as he donated his body to medical science at the University of Calgary. In accordance with his wishes, there will be: “Absolutely no funeral!”

Thanks for everything Dad! We will all miss you very much.

Love this selfie of me & my Dadio taken in 2015

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

 

2 Comments

  1. Stacey on March 6th, 2017 at 2:43 pm:

    This was a wonderful representation of who your Dad was and how he lived. It was an special honor to share a bit of this lifetime knowing him-.. much love, S-

  2. Maryanne on March 6th, 2017 at 3:30 pm:

    Thanks, Stace! I am so glad my Dad lived with me for 3 years in Calgary…that was a very special time. And I am so glad you got a chance to know him then. Miss you guys lots!
    Take care,
    love MA

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