Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Eulogy: Mario Malit Suratos

Last weekend we laid my Pa to rest. It was so hard to say goodbye, and so hard also to carry on without him. I sang Ave Maria at his funeral mass, accompanied by my husband on piano. I played a bit of flute too! I also wrote and delivered the eulogy at the prayers and viewing on Friday night. We were expecting 50-75 people, but over 400 came!! That was the kind of guy Pa was, very friendly, happy, warm and welcoming to everyone.

There are some great pictures on his legacy site, and here are a couple more.

My husband and Pa - their birthdays are close together, near Thanksgiving, so we always celebrated together.
And the pic collage I made last Father's Day.

And here is the copy of the eulogy I wrote for him.

Eulogy: Mario Malit Suratos

Good evening, and thank you for allowing me to say a few words in honour of my dad. Mario was a happy-go-lucky man who always had a huge, beaming smile on his face. Most of you know he was a small man - his nickname, in fact, "Atog," means "shorty" - but he truly was larger than life, with a big smile to match his big heart.

On October 9, 1946, Mario Suratos was born in Tondo, Manila, one of the poorest areas of the Philippines. I don't know much about his early years, but I know things got interesting by the time he arrived at the U.S. Naval Base in Subic Bay. First, he began his training to become a Journeyman Red Seal Machinist, which would lead to a career spanning 40 years. And second, he met Virginia there, who would become his wife of almost 50 years.

In 1974, they immigrated to Vancouver. Their five children Tina, Annabelle, Jimmy, Leslie, and Jennifer - that's me - grew up in a house on Windsor Street, not too far from here. It was the site of many birthday parties, holiday gatherings, and back porch barbecues. He sponsored his parents to come and live with us, and opened his doors to other families making the transition to Canada. This huge sense of generosity and acceptance is a legacy shared by many people. He was truly everyone's Pa.
Both he and my mom worked hard all their lives. Mario worked at both Wescan Engineering and Sulzer Pumps for decades. He tried his hand as a businessman, owning a laundromat and even a night club for a short time. He discovered a talent for ballroom dancing. He was a member here at St. Andrew's Parish where he sang in the choir and joined Couples for Christ. He started a side career as a financial advisor with Primerica. Pa was a beginner at golf, but he still loved to play the game, especially when he got to drive the cart. He often hung out at the mall, having coffee and chatting with the Oakridge crew. Only a few short weeks ago, they sold the house on Windsor Street, and he had even more time to take Mom for soup or wings or a buffet at the casino. He led a full and vigorous life.

Mario was proud of being born in the slums of Tondo because he rose above his challenges and accomplished so much in his life. He loved kids, his grandkids, his own kids - and we all loved him back. Once, when I was a teenager, he came to see me sing at a school musical. In my defence, it was probably one of the first times I had ever performed in public. He told me afterwards: "Jenn, your voice sounds so nice, but what's wrong with your face, why is it so crinkled?" That was Pa's way: funny, honest, direct. In closing, I'd like to sing a few lines to send my dad on his way; you can let me know afterwards if I finally managed to follow his advice.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime,
So let me say before we part,
So much of me
Is made from what I've learned from you,
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
-- Stephen Schwartz, "For Good," from the musical "Wicked"

Thank you Pa, for everything you have taught us, for taking such good care of our mom, and for continuing to watch over us all. We are comforted by the fact that you suffered no pain and lived your life to the very fullest. We will always remember you as a bright, smiling beam of light that will continue to shine in each of our hearts.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Obituary: Mario Malit Suratos

This week we are making plans for Pa's prayer service, funeral mass and interment. I wrote his obituary, you can find the link to the online page - as well as lots of pictures of his lovely, happy, smiling face - here and below.

And here is a selfie we took on Mother's Day, 2014. I got his smile - lucky me!! This mother's day, the day before he had his stroke, he treated us all for a big dinner at a Chinese food restaurant. He was so happy to pay, and then we went over to their new condo that they had just moved into. He was gone less than 48 hours later. I miss him so much.
It has been a comfort to look at old pictures, read condolences, and go through all the notes and messages that family and friends have written online. I am writing these posts after the fact, but they are helping in some small way as well.

Mario Malit Suratos
October 9, 1946 - May 10, 2016

Passed away unexpectedly on May 10, surrounded by his loving family. Predeceased by his parents Pedro and Primitiva, and brothers Doming and Berting. Mario will be lovingly remembered by his wife Virginia, children Tina (Jeff), Annabelle (Darcy), Jimmy (Maiko), Leslie (Nathaniel), and Jennifer (Christopher), and grandchildren Brianna, Noah, and Leyna. He also leaves behind his sister Pacita, Corazon Erestingcol - whom he always regarded as a second sister - and her family in California, and all his extended relatives here in Vancouver, including the families of Paring Soriano, Etong Suratos, Danny Suratos, Josephine, Aileen and Alberto. Mario will also be remembered by his extended family in the Philippines, and many cousins, nephews, nieces, compadres, co-workers, and friends.

Mario received his training at the U.S. Naval Base in Subic Bay, Philippines, and worked for 40 years as a Journeyman Red Seal Machinist. He had a zest for life and a passion for learning, which lead to a side career as a financial advisor. He spent his days going to the gym, playing golf with his buddies, and having coffee with the Oakridge crew. He and his wife Virgie enjoyed the freedom that retirement provided to go for soup at the casino whenever they wanted. We will always remember Mario as our Atog, an open and generous man, who enjoyed a good laugh and a nice drink. He will be in our hearts forever.

Prayers will be said Friday, May 20, 7:00 pm at St. Andrew's Parish, 480 East 47th Avenue, Vancouver, where Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, May 21, 12:00 pm. Fr. Vincent Nguyen, celebrant. Interment to follow at 1:30 pm at Ocean View Funeral Home, South Mausoleum, 4000 Imperial Street, Burnaby. Online condolences to the family may be made in the space below.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Crafting for theatre - Mitts

I needed a prop for this show that I am directing. It was for a song that warned about the dangers of premarital sex. I came up with these two characters, aren't they a hoot?
And a matching little finger puppet. Crafting for theatre gave me a chuckle.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Such sad news

We have such sad news to share:

On Tuesday night, May 10, 2016, our dearest, dearest Pa passed away. He had had a stroke the day before while working out at the gym. He was fit and full of life right to the end. The hemorrhaging in his brain did not stop, and had spread so much that they couldn't operate. He was stable and somewhat responsive for a day or so, and then he stopped breathing on his own quite suddenly. He passed away at about 7:30 pm and we were all there to say goodbye: Ma, all five kids, husbands, partners, and grandkids.

Anyone who knew or met Pa knows that he was happy, friendly, generous and loving. They had just moved out of the house on Windsor Street where we all grew up, and into a 2 bedroom apartment in Vancouver. He was so happy to be surrounded by his whole family just this past Sunday for Mother's Day, and his sudden loss has hit us so hard.

Please keep us in your thoughts, especially our Mom, his wife of 48 years. Thank you, we'll post information on the service when we can.

We miss you and love you Pa, and we'll see you again.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Clown Boy

And the last custom order for Tuck and Daisy. He's my favourite, because he sort of looks like my friend Dustin. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Flower Girl

My friend Dustin wrote a show, Tuck and Daisy! He asked me to make up some dolls to match the characters. The first one I did was this flower girl.
It took awhile, but I think she turned out ok. I'll post about her piggy friend tomorrow.