I came to know Andre back in 2010 when I started a new job. Part of my duties was the management and maintenance of all IT matters. Andre was the company’s outside IT consultant. From the very start, we established a very strong rapport.
As we continued to work together, we discovered many areas of common interest, the principal one being photography, with both of us coming from a strong background in film photography. The photography discussions grew over time, frequently taking up most of our conversations. I admired all facets of his work and was frequently inspired to do more myself. We also shared a background in martial arts, him in Judo and me in Karate and Taekwan-do.
One the things I admired about Andre was his ability step into any situation and establish a rapport with the people involved, from the lowest employee to the CEO. Without fail, people respected Andre and his advice.
Andre also had a mischievous side to him. I remember one time in particular at one of the company Christmas parties (Andre was considered one of the family). The party was dinner and a murder mystery, which included audience participation in the form of a murder trial. The audience was asked to volunteer people for various roles, and before I knew what was happening, Andre volunteered me to act as the bailiff, all the time showing this trade mark mischievous grin. And the next year he volunteered me to be the judge (you’d think I’d have learned my lesson the first time).
Andre was also very generous to his friends. One year my son was coming back from Toronto to Alberta for vacation and wanted to know where he could rent a road bike. I passed this question on to Andre, and rather than pass me on to a bike shop, he offered to let my son use his highly valued carbon fibre road bike at no charge, as he was going be touring in Nova Scotia for 2 weeks. That is generosity!
From his photography adventures to his bicycle tours, Andre lived a rich life, a life that I witnessed being gradually taken away from him as his health deteriorated. Throughout this period, he never failed to inquire about the health of my family, particularly when my daughter suffered a brain bleed 3 years ago. And since I’ve retired, he was always available for lunch or a quick text or phone call and always asked about how I was doing in retirement. He cared about his friends, even though he was going through a world of pain.
Andre, I admire your decision to follow your own path, and I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to know you and proud to call you “friend”. Peace be with you.