Our Dad, Michael De Abreu unexpectedly died of cancer and a broken heart on May 14, 2023 only 15 days after Mom’s funeral. We are beyond heartbroken ourselves, yet so very thankful for his peaceful passing.
Dad was born in 1936 to Francis and Wilhelmina (Pereira) De Abreu in Georgetown, Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America. He and his seven siblings grew up in villages where his police officer father was stationed. Dad has fond memories of exploring nature, playing pranks, enjoying his mother’s curry and roti meals, and visiting family.
Dad claims he was a mediocre student, yet was accepted to the University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry. There he was U of A’s first Guyanese student, taught a Latin course, and played drums in a calypso band that once opened for Bob Hope.
One fateful day, a young and beautiful Elizabeth Orford ended up in his dental chair. The two soon married and moved to Killam where Dad set up a dental practice and they raised their children.
In 1962, not everyone was accepting of a man with brown skin and a singsong West Indian accent, especially one who voted left. His clinic was often vandalized in the early years.
Dad was the only dentist in a 40 mile radius for much of his 40 years in practice. He was well-known for his gentle hand and for remembering personal details about his patients and their families.
When he retired, Dad devoted himself to his huge farm garden. He eagerly shared his bounty with family, friends, and the food bank. Dad loved his family, bird hunting, black labs, cooking, and current events. He believed in serving his community, spending years on Town and Parish Councils and on the Catholic School Board. Many local families experienced his generosity first hand as he quietly provided them with dental care free of charge or in exchange for feed and straw for his pet cows.
Dad had a rich and satisfying life in Killam. He loved to laugh and enjoyed simple pleasures. He was a loyal husband and an exceptional father and grandfather.
Thank you to Dr. Hanton who always respected a stubborn man’s declination to investigate further. We are also grateful for the compassionate care provided at Killam Hospital and Providence Place to said stubborn man; Your ability to recognize anxiety below the crusty exterior meant everything to Dad and to us.
Dad was predeceased by his parents, parents-in-law, two sisters-in-law and their spouses; a brother-in-law; and a nephew.
Dad leaves behind his three children and their families - Michelle (Mark), Kelsi (Ahmad) and Marcel, Pascale, and Claudia; Renée (Brett), Alix, and Tyler; Michael (Lisa), Melanie, Colette, and Leanne - his seven siblings, and many cherished extended family members.
Dad’s funeral takes place on Saturday, May 20 at 11:30 am at St. Joseph’s Church in Killam. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Rainbow of Hope for Children or the Flagstaff Food Bank.