**** Updated September 9, 2009 at the bottom of the post ****
To say the past couple of weeks have been difficult and sad for many people I know, would be an understatement. This past weekend, we lost a truly great man. A husband, brother, uncle, mentor and father figure, not to mention an outstanding businessman. His dedication to his family, friends and work is to be admired. He was strong, fought hard and continued to make plans until the end.
If you are interested, you can read about his most recent career information here and a bit of additional info here. There are many other things he did during his professional lifetime, but this entry isn't about his career accomplishments, it's just about the man I know as "Uncle Pete".
My cousin Sherri remembered that someone once told her that "every conversation you have with Peter Tanaka is significant". My cousin Andrea said that "he was fantastic, and had a way of making everyone else feel fantastic too".
I think all of us cousins have many many fantastic memories of Uncle Pete growing up. As children we remember how he always sent the most awesome toys....with the batteries almost worn out because he had to always 'test' them out first to make sure they worked properly.
For me, he was not only an Uncle, but also a mentor and father figure when I moved out to Toronto to go to University and lived with he and Aunt Phyllis. He always said "School was a 'garden' and I'd get through it just fine". He's given me an enormous amount of career and professional advice, including that related to starting my own business. I don't know that I would have had the confidence to delve into this venture if it wasn't for his advice and encouragement.
Most of the Japanese cooking I know how to do I learned from Uncle Pete, and my guess is my love for 'gadgets' must come from him as well. ;) When looking for his bluetooth ear piece a few days ago in their house for Aunt Phyllis, I found 3 or 4 that weren't the current one....
You may be wondering why pretty much all of the photos are of Uncle Pete with Ben. Yesterday, Ben told me that he hopes he never forgets Uncle Pete. I am so glad that Ben got to know Uncle Pete, even if only for a little over 5 yrs. I am thankful to have these and many other photos of Ben with Uncle Pete, as despite Ben's hope that he never forget, he's only 5, and without these pictures to help secure the memories in his mind, he most likely would forget sooner rather than later.
I could go on for pages and pages, but I'll end it here by saying he left us much too soon.
For those of us who have had the amazing opportunity of knowing, growing up and working with him, Peter Tanaka will never be forgotten.
(Please feel free to leave your memories/comments below. You don't need to sign up to leave comments)
UPDATED TO ADD: If you are trying to find a way to get a message to Phyllis or anyone else in the family, you can click this link to send an e-mail and I will ensure that your message is delivered. Thank you for the kind words that have been sent already.
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 9, 2009
An obituary will be going into the Globe & Mail tomorrow.
Peter's Celebration of Life Service will be as follows:
September 27, 2009
Vaughan House located on the grounds of Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto
I will post a copy of the obituary on my blog as well once I have a copy.
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 10, 2009
The Obituary is posted in the Globe & Mail today. I also have posted a copy of it on my blog here. If you've come directly to this post, just click the 'Blog' link at the top of the page and it will refresh and you will see the Obituary post.
-- Lisa P.