On his own terms, in his own home at Belmont House on Friday, December 23, 2016, Dan exited to his own Gershwin/Cole Porter/Louis Armstrong soundtrack in his 84th year. Surrounded by his daughters, Melissa and Melanie; partner, Mary-Jane Horsfall Large; and his collection of Asian treasures, he controlled the shots to the very end. Forever the intrepid traveler, he left Saskatchewan after university and went on to visit more than 100 countries during his extraordinary life, thanks to a career that fueled his hunger for knowledge and adventure.
Even more amazingly, he found two women game enough to join him. The first was his wife, the beautiful Diana (1933 – 1995), who fearlessly joined him for 10 unforgettable years in the Far East, living in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur before returning to Montreal and Toronto to raise their girls. His second love, Mary-Jane, encouraged him to keep moving, learning and exploring. In their 18 years together, they cruised and danced their way around the globe. She also introduced him to Sturgeon Point, where he spent his retirement years reading the Globe & Mail from start to finish and moving on to The Economist when the social schedule permitted.
The other two ladies in his life know they hit the Father Jackpot with Dan. He was loving, generous and patient from the moment they met him until he said goodbye. He was simply perfect. Full stop.
The last two years were the only exception to an otherwise remarkable and happy life — his body may have failed him, but his mind remained as brilliant and sharp as ever; he even corrected errors in this obituary… Dan never lost sight of the simple things that brought him great joy: Broadway musicals, old and true friends, Murder She Wrote reruns and the delight of a great Meursault after a couple of Danny Boy Specials.
A celebration of Dan’s life will be held from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. (Happy Hour, naturally) on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at the Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor Street West.
Heartfelt thanks must go to Dr. Sandy Buchman and the palliative care team for helping us navigate through Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). You are very special people.
In acknowledgement of the wonderful care he received over the last two years, donations to the Belmont House Foundation would be appreciated.