Wednesday, March 27, 2019

My brother John J. D'Souza

John Joseph D’Souza.
Eulogy by his brother, Romeo D’Souza

Good Afternoon to you all, John’s friends.

My father was  Joseph Francis D’Souza, my mother was Anna Gracy D’Souza.... and there were 6 of us children. Joseph, Theresa, Rose, John, Romeo and Xavier.

While I represent everyone in our family, these are my personal insights on My Big Brother John. I am Romeo and I am John’s younger Brother.

John and I started life in the Railway Quarters in Nairobi. My mother had a strict rule for me. She said that if I wanted to go to Dr Ribeiro Goan School, I’d have to hold John’s hand when walking to school. Probably because at 6 Years old I ran all over the place and was careless when crossing roads. So I walked to school with John daily and knew many of his classmates from the Railway quarters area. His class of 57 was quite special to me.

He was quite a smart cookie and often helped me with my Math and Science homework. But, he was sometimes hard to understand because he’d start in the middle of a problem and work to the end rather than start at the beginning. We played hockey, cricket, and marbles etc. as kids. He knew all the rules and he’d change them if he was loosing. There were many many times growing up when he fished me out of trouble.

In late 1956 we moved from Railway Quarters to a house in Nairobi West that my parents had built. We spent the rest of our time in East Africa in this house and I have very many Happy Memories of our lives there. We played a lot around the house making steamboats, and other toys. He was pretty good at Science too. There were lots of family events, Weddings, Christenings, Birthdays etc. and we had fun. My Mother was a good cook and that kept us happy.

After graduating with a Degree in Civil Engineering from the Royal College in Nairobi. He worked briefly for the Survey of Kenya and  Ministry of Works and then proceeded to London England. I did not quite understand then why he had to go to England but I trusted his judgement and left it at that. He said something about further education.

I stayed with John in London on my way to Canada and toured Europe with him in 1969. Europe was quite different then. I’ll always remember the time at Trevi fountain in Rome when an American woman gave John and I hell for not knowing and speaking Konkani. I think that may have sparked his interest in Konkani.

I give him a lot of credit for helping me in my academic and professional life and I’m very grateful to him for guiding me to the career I had with the Directorate of Civil Aviation in East Africa, Transport Canada and Nav Canada. He advised me to apply for a Job in the Telecommunications and Electronics field in Nairobi and that set me up for life.

In Canada, he worked for various Engineering companies finally retiring from Ontario Power Generation where he worked in the Nuclear Plant in Pickering. He often talked about the special protective outfits he had to get into to work in that Nuclear facility.

With respect to our family, John was the backbone of our lives. He was not only wise and smart, but he could see ahead and often predicted outcomes well ahead of time. He kept tabs on everything that was going on in the family and was always there for advice. There were occasions when I told him that he was a Genius. Which he was.

John was keenly interested in the academic achievements of his Nephews and Nieces and Grand Nephews and grand nieces and was always available for advice.

He organized and participated in many family events such as birthday parties, Picnics and Camping Trips Christmas Parties etc. Every event was more enjoyable and fun when he was there. He was full of comments and humorous snide remarks some of which were in Konkani and others in Swahili.

He was extremely interested in our family’s history and collected many old family photographs. He knew more about our parents and grandparents than anyone else and provided all kinds of commentary and information for various special events like my Dad’s Birthday etc. and the people in our family.

It’s only now, after his death, that I realized that John actually had 2 families. He had us, his brothers and sisters, and he had you, the Goan Community. He had his special clubs and associations that consisted of TEGSA, 55PGA, GCG, Goan Archives, Konkani DVD and many more.

Because of this, I asked John’s long-time good friend and associate on many ventures, Juliet Rebello if she and her group could organize the Celebration of life reception for John. I felt that it would be quite fitting for John’s friends to arrange his Celebration of life. I think John would have liked this.

So today's Celebration of Life for John has been put together by Juliet and her team.

I also wish to acknowledge and applaud and thank Cyprian Fernandes from Sidney Australia for assisting me and holding my hand during this tough time. Trevorlyn Menezes for all his help, advice and support especially getting this hall, and Michael Pinto from Winnipeg who worked with John on Konkani projects but has never met John in person. He put together a very informative booklet relating to John. It’s my intention to Email it to anyone that requests it as there are a limited number of printed copies here.

It was Trevorlyn that made me realize that John had another family as well. And they too needed to be involved in this event. Thank You Trevorlyn.

The lovely photograph of John was Initiated by Cyprian Fernandes and touched up by Merwin D’Souza the Webmaster of the School Web site. Thank you Merwin and Skippy.
Thanks, Juliet and Tina, Valence and the Knights of Columbus, and your team for organizing this. And a big Thank You to Tim Demello and Ernest Vienna, Claude Gomes, Norman DaCosta, , Bernard Ribeiro, Roque Baretto, 55PGA, and everyone involved that had a special take on John. He was a multi-faceted guy; sort of like a diamond. Thank you, Elma, for leading us in prayer.

A big thank you to my Brother Xavier and my sisters Theresa and Rose for your assistance in this difficult time.  My gratitude also goes out to all of our nieces, nephews and spouses for your tremendous support and consideration.

Finally, my sincere thanks and gratitude go out to all of you for making this a special occasion for my brother John.

John was not just my Brother, he was my best friend, and I’ll miss him dearly forever.
Rest in Peace John.

A shorter version of the above remembrance was read earlier at the Mass

Revised List of speakers at the Celebration of Life for John Joseph D’Souza
The following spoke eloquently about John J. D’Souza
1.       Juliet Rebello  Master of Ceremonies
2.       Elma de Souza led the Grace before Meals.
3.       Romeo D’Souza (John’s Brother)
4.       Bernard Ribeiro ( John’s Class of 57)
5.       Bernard Ribeiro for Dr Joe Demello (John’s Class of 57)
6.       Norman Da Costa. Vice President 55PGA.
7.       Claude Gomes. ( Friends of St. Francis Xavier and Goan Archives)
8.       Trevorlyn Menezes. (Strong supporter of John’s various projects)
9.       Selwyn Colaco. President of the GOA.
10.  Juliet Rebello. ( 55PGA, Goan Cultural Group, Active Goan Adults, Mary Lake etc.)
11.  Frank Fernandes,( long-time associate of John) .alias Bwana Frank sang a special Konkani Song he wrote for John and the Bessau tuje (tumche) ponddom .i.e.  The Blessing in Konkani.
12.  Joseph Terry D’Souza. John’s Oldest Nephew.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

JOHN J D'SOUZA by Norman Da Costa and Merwin D'Souza

John de Souza – a Goan icon
  By Norman Da Costa and Merwin de Souza

    John de Souza was an indefatigable soul who, like Martin Luther King, harboured a dream. He was a Goan icon. He was a man of many talents. He was passionate about everything to do with the community – the Goan archives, his alma mater Dr Ribeiro’s Goan School and the local clubs. He was a historian and had the pulse of the nation at his fingertips. Ask him a question and within 24 hours you could be assured of an answer. Always willing to help on the condition he was kept in the background. He shunned being in the limelight.

  John had his finger in every pie and many wondered where he got the energy to keep on motoring day in and out after making that long trek to work from his home in Brampton to the Pickering Nuclear Plant a distance of some 70 k/ms each way. He would get home, freshen up and then give a few ladies a ride to bingos or any function being held that evening. That was John, always willing to lend a hand.

  His younger brother Romeo discovered John had passed away overnight on March 20 after a few phone calls went unanswered. The family usually met on March 19 to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day – the patron saint of Dr Ribeiro’s – and also to remember the day their father had died. This man with an encyclopedic mind saw his journey end at the age of 79 way too early since he had so many irons in the fire that needed urgent attention - primarily getting the different Goan organizations in Toronto together under one umbrella. He was rebuffed on several occasions but John wasn’t one to throw in the towel. He trudged on but his body obviously couldn’t pull him over the line. He will be remembered fondly for being the driving force behind several initiatives including the formation of the 55 Plus Goan Association, an organization in the west end of the Greater Toronto Association with a membership of 840.

The 55 Plus was formed after the West End Seniors could no longer accept any more members. He was also the heart and soul of the Active Goans Club at Mississauga’s Square One. John, of course, will always be remembered for single-handedly running the popular Goan Voice Canada website that featured local clubs and more importantly death notices. After several years John was forced to bring down the shutters on his favourite venture much to the chagrin of the community at large after Romeo had asked him if he had a succession plan. For the first time, John admitted defeat but he still had so much on his plate to keep him going. With help from Goans across Canada he promoted the Konkani Rosary in video and was a founding member of the Friends of Goan Welfare Society along with Jerry Lobo, Teresa Mandricks and myself to raise funds for needy Goans in Kenya. We intend to close the account in the coming weeks with a final donation in memory of John. John and I had a long relationship. We worked closely on three Dr Ribeiro Goan School Ex-Students, Canada, functions. John also kept in close contact with Merwin de Souza, another ex-student, who lives in Florida and, like John, spends countless hours keeping the extremely popular Goan School website alive.

John and I also worked on the Railway Goan Institute 100th anniversary celebration committee held in Mississauga on Sept. 20, 2009, and as co-editors put out a comprehensive 46-page glossy brochure. Of course, this piece wouldn’t be complete without a word from Merwin. 

“John was a history buff, particularly our Goan history,’’ wrote Merwin.  “He had an obsession for details, most of us would miss.  Recently he was obsessed with the old G.I. Duke St. building which was one of the few stone structures built in 1905 or so.  “Why stone? Do you know how much-corrugated iron roofing cost at the time . . .  the sheer cost?. . . . Why such a permanent structure when many of our pioneers at the time only had temporary permits?”  He'd question. Like I knew the answer?!  He was fascinated by a seminal 1955 Golden Jubilee G.I. brochure my dad published which to this day is often quoted in lieu of any other community records. Interestingly, among his many other roles, he also assumed the responsibility of community historian placing on record, in the many brochures he produced, the journey of our generation.

John would often say “If we don't know where we came from and the mistakes we made, how do we know where we are going and avoid re-inventing the wheel each time.”  A hint of his engineering background and continual improvement process would come out. “Never know why don't we do post-mortems on community events, figure out what worked, what didn't, what we can improve on the next time and pass the info on to new committees instead of reinventing the wheel . . . the only way we can make progress as a community.’’ 
His concern for the community was widespread from archiving a record of our contributions on this planet to raising the question should we as a community be concerned that our men and women of the cloth are being well looked after in their retirement.

Lately, it was becoming apparent John felt the time was running out and I could sense he was getting frustrated. The community has just lost its most valuable resource.”

Like Martin Luther King, John’s dream of unity in the Goan community remains just that . . . . a dream. Farewell, buddy, I will miss our weekly chats and I wish all those boxes filled to the brim containing prized newspaper cuttings will find a new home.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Trevor Pereira: Dear Brother...

A gentleman walked on Jaffa Dr.

23 February will always be a hard day for me, because one week ago on that day in the early hours of the morning my wonderful brother Eugene left us for his celestial abode. Celebrate my brain says, for he has gone home to his Heavenly Father where there is no more pain.... but without him around it's hard to do so, and the tears aren't dry yet. Then I think of the memories he left us with and a smile soon lights up my face. Besides being brothers, the closeness of our ages cemented us together.....helping or defending the other whenever/wherever was a natural reaction.

Early days/School days
This was played out growing up together in our humble dwelling in the Railway Quarters in Nairobi, Kenya. We cheered the other in sports, defending the other when we got into trouble and generally helping out with school work. In Primary school,  I recall being incensed when Eugene was harshly punished by a certain Indian educated upset I was, that I marched to her office to challenge her!  In secondary school, we got in trouble for overstaying at the local agricultural show and covered for each other so we wouldn't get into further trouble with mum, for being home late.  For extra curricular activities he persuaded me to join the 'Konkani Club'...what I did not know was, a number of other boys/girls were also persuaded to sign up, to make it a fun class....Konkani learnt-zip, dance moves learnt-plenty!

Eugene finished his schooling in 1963 and in early 1964 at age 17 he declared he was going off to the UK with his pal Cyril Rebello and they would be working off their passage on a cargo ship sailing from Mombasa. The rest of us at home all protested that he was too young to take on such an arduous journey, but he insisted and mum taking into consideration the political winds blowing over Kenya gave in. Approx 2 years later he came home for a holiday and mum was chuffed to see her son smartly dressed in a 3 piece suite looking very suave and gently spoken....a youngster went out and a gentleman came back....where ever he went the admirers gathered and I fielded a lot of their enquiries!  I joined him in London in 1970, and there he was at Heathrow to meet & greet me. He always watched over me and helped me settle in. He Introduced me to Saville Row, London's bespoke tailoring street, where he got all his clothing. He told me he was offered a position in Gieves & Hawkes, a bespoke gentleman's clothing house, but turned it down as he did not come to London to be a tailor!  We lived in Muswell Hill in N London an aspiring neighbourhood, and Eugene was Mr Muswell Hill....many knew and loved this charming young man. Many moving on from E Africa stayed with him in London and were made very welcome.  Marriage soon beckoned and soon along came Karl. And then he was moving on again with his young family to Toronto, Canada.....I was not apprehensive this time around, after all he was an experienced man now.

I followed in Eugene's footsteps and moved on to Toronto in 1988 with my family and there was Eugene at Pearson to meet/greet me again...again doing whatever he could to settle me in. He was more settled now, a family man with another lovely son in tow and yet he found time to achieve an accounting designation....full credit to you, Eugene!

Eugene was very much like Dad, hard working, always caring and kind.....though he was steps ahead in his dress sense...and he wore it well!

Many adjectives aptly apply to Eugene...well-dressed, charming, kind, caring, generous, fun-loving, humorous, readily come to mind.

I watched you struggle in the last few days Eugene and yet you never complained, instead you took time to tell me you are at the end of life in an effort to prepare me for the inevitable!  Thank you Maureen, Karl, Gavin and your respective families for doing your ALL for Eugene.

Thank you Lord for loaning Eugene to us, we loved him in life and will continue to love him in death.

And now Eugene you have gone ahead again. When I make it home I'm comforted in the fact that in usual fashion, you will be there to greet me. 

Yes indeed, a Gentleman, all suave and debonair walked on Jaffa Drive.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Eugene for being you.


A couple of pals: Juliet Rebello and John J. D'Souza
Regarding your earlier email about myself, my mantra:
Proverb. speak softly and carry a big stick. Do not boast or utter verbal threats, but do make others aware that you are prepared to take action if necessary.

Also I am kept in check by my many siblings - keep family out of any social media,,  they scold.
However, attached is some blurb from the 55PGA brochure which says enough and has been kind to me.

Also in time to come, will speak my mind if I have to. Some unfinished business on how I was  characterized in that journal earlier this year.

For the moment, my mind turns to late Felix Rodrigues, - boy next door at railway qtrs , same age and from  Class of 57. (refer to  Fr. Comerford)

The passing of Steve saddens. His dad and mine were elders in the  RGI. We too had big brothers to pave the way.  Margery's mum was our favourite Aunt.  Her grandfather in Goa was our next door neighbour  - from Badem, Assagao - endless stories to tell.  Olive too, in Nairobi, always there to help the less fortunate members of our village in bereavement and other matters.

You have struck the right tone with the 'Vanishing Goan'. It remains for us to plough on regardless or others think, and get more rafikis to put words on paper instead of watching  from the sidelines.

Have a Happy New Year.

John J. D'Souza

John J. D'Souza: The Catalyst

John J. D’Souza – The Catalyst

(During the past 12 months, Cyprian Fernandes badgered John to record some sort of biography, a miniature one (because to record his complete life would take several volumes). John kept telling Cyprian “one of these days”. Sadly, he never got around to it. Appended below is an excerpt from the 55PGA Tenth Anniversary souvenir– November 27, 2015 which is the closest thing to a mini-bio of JJD)

By Tim de Mello with files from Dr A.J. de Mello, Joseph R. D’Souza, Juliet Rebello and Muriel Lucas

“Do not to let the side down” was the refrain used by Father Frank Comerford, the Headmaster of the Dr Ribeiro Goan School, Nairobi, to one of his star pupils of the 1957 graduating year.

John J. D’Souza did not let the side down. He, together with the other star student of that class, Avinash Chitnis, did what was required of them and brought honour to that graduation year by achieving First Grade honours. I have known John for over half a century. He was in the same class at school with my elder brother Dr A. J. de Mello through the primary and secondary years.

My brother describes John as “. never one for the limelight and always studied hard to do well at school. I can still vividly remember him in class during lunch and other breaks, intently studying his notes, with his elbows on the desk and his ears covered with his hands.”

Outside school, John and my brother were altar boys at St. Francis Xavier’s Church Parklands, and a member of the Legion of Mary. John was diligent and dedicated serving at Mass, attending Legion meetings and visiting the sick. Later, John entered Royal College, Nairobi to study Civil Engineering. After graduating, he emigrated to the U.K. where he pursued a post-grad course in Civil Engineering at Imperial College, London.

 After ten years in the U.K., he was recruited by the Canadian Engineering Consulting Canatom NPM Inc. and brought to Canada to work in the civil engineering department of the Company’s nuclear program. On September 7, 2005, John asked me to attend a meeting of Goans at the Erindale campus of the University of Toronto. The aim was to set up a west wing of the Goan organization operating at the East end of Toronto called Toronto East Goan Seniors Association (TEGSA). After a couple of meetings, John together with TEGSA mentors Bel Remedios, Claude Gomes and Uvy Lopes, persuaded Tony Fernandes to take on the lead role of President of the newly minted 55 Plus Goan Association. Muriel Lucas was asked and graciously accepted the role of Secretary which she carried out with excellent efficiency. Today, the success of the 55PGA can be attributed in large part to those founding members and mentors.

John is passionate about his Goan roots and to help him foster a feeling of community amongst the Goans in Canada he started an online “newspaper” in 2002 called Goan Voice Canada. He has worked tirelessly to make “his baby” the success it is today.

John was always aware of the Goan contribution to Canadian life. In order to maintain a historical record of this Goan Catholic heritage for future generations, he was instrumental in setting up the Goan Archives - an online archive.

Today, John devotes himself whole-heartedly to the management of the Goan Cultural Group which meets every Wednesday at the Older Adult Centre at Square One in Mississauga. He is dedicated to promoting the Goan culture in Canada. Members of the GCG rely on John to maintain a strong and healthy environment at the Club. John tries to find ways to support our ageing (and growing) Goan population in the GTA. He would welcome any type of assistance in this regard. John continues to shun the limelight and remains an unsung hero. The Goan Community in the GTA is lucky to have such a person within our midst. He is one person that we can depend on “not to let the side down”.

Thank you, John!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

John J. D'Souza a Canadian Goan icon: RF MD MM

John J. D'Souza... smiling in 2009 at the Railway Goan Institute 100 year celebration

JOHN J. D’SOUZA, a great loss

(This is a minor off-the-cuff tribute, I am sure greater and more in-depth recognition of the man and his devotion will soon follow)

THE NAME John J. D’Souza will no longer appear in my inbox. He passed away on March 20/21 (depending on where you are). He went to sleep the previous night and never woke up. We can surmise he slipped away in the gentle peace of the night. It would be typical of him to exit in this fashion. Along with a few Canadian Goans John Nazareth, Alcino Rodrigues, Braz Menezes, Emiliano Joanes, John Noronha, Armand Rodrigues, Astrid Fernandes, Jerry Lobo, Norman Da Costa, Juliet Rebello; from the US Merwin D’Souza; from London Mervyn Maciel and a few others, John played a pivotal role in our lives in the fascinating field of information gathering about Goans, Goans-related and everything else in the diaspora. He was equally passionate about saving every scrap of information, every snippet of a photo and anything online or on disc about our lives in Goa, East Africa and wherever else we might have come from. In the life of Canadian Goans, especially Toronto Goans, his departure will leave an almost unfillable gaping hole in the tapestry of the community since the arrival of the first Goan in Canada. More than that we will miss his infectious enthusiasm which he used with beguiling inspiration to push us onwards in our various quests for history’s sake.
John was an engineer, a graduate of the Royal College Nairobi before it became the University of Nairobi. He brought his precision engineering skills to writing. Like some engineers, he was not expansive with his words, he was more precise like any good engineer should be. He questioned, questioned and questioned until he was convinced the fact or the truth had been established or left it out if he was not.
Here is one of his most recent emails, don’t mind the shorthand:

Hi Skip,

cc: Merwin,

I am completing an in-depth article on the role of the Goan Community in setting up the Holy Family Church in Nairobi  1899 – 1963.  This is being finalized and checked. For reasons of brevity I have only made a passing reference to other Churches in the Archdiocese and plan to append a reference list. I need information and welcome those with the knowledge of times then, to submit their experiences. This will be added with the reference source documented.

pls, see attachment.

Ref 2 - is a ref to St Teresa's which was your home ground. There seems to be a huge complex in the area as viewed on Google Maps.  Also, the reunion that took place in the UK shows fond memories.  ( see Merwin's site).

I hope a one-page summary on the origins of St Teresa Mission and an upbeat article on the Goan contribution can be added for the once-and-for-all historical record.

John J. D'Souza

Role of the Goan Community in setting up Catholic Churches in the Nairobi Archdiocese (1899-1999)

Commentary by John J. D’Souza

I am completing an in-depth article on the role of the Goan Community in setting up the Holy Family Church in Nairobi 1899 – 1963. This is being finalized and checked.

For reasons of brevity I have only made a passing reference to other Churches in the Archdiocese and plan to append a reference list. I need information and welcome those with the knowledge of times then, to submit their experiences. This will be added with the reference source documented.

The Goan Community continued to be active in setting up Churches in the Nairobi Archdiocese, Besides the Holy Family Cathedral, the following are a number of references where the Goan Community was involved.

In ref 1 my childhood friend and Classmate 1957, the late Rev. Fr. Pelin D’Souza was the Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church when it celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1983. We were both baptized and received our First Holy Communion there.

The late Albert Fernandes, once mentioned that in the early years (the 1940s) St. Francis Xavier Church did not have a Priest’s house. The Rev. Fr. Butler ( later Bishop Butler of Mombasa) who was stationed at St Teresa’s, used to bicycle all the way to Parklands as early as 7.00 am to celebrate Mass. Today the same journey by car would take almost 2 hours!

In ref 2, I have only faint memories of St. Teresa’s, again a parish where the humble Goan Community played a leading role. I have asked xxxx to provide brief commentary.

In ref 3, the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, my cousin, Fr. Tony D’Souza SDB, in Mumbai, came to Nairobi in 19xx under their “Project Africa” to set up a presence of the Salesians in Kenya and build the Shrine. Sadly I had long departed from Africa by then and have not visited the place.

There were Churches built in Nairobi South B & Westlands. I know very little about them and have asked former parishioners now in the GTA to provide a description.

Nov 2, 2017 - Goans have a long history with the church in Kenya. Dr Rosendo ... St Francis Xavier is the patron saint of missionaries.

Excerpt below ( Please note the statements below are those of the author of the article )

St Francis Xavier Catholic Church is situated at the junction of Parklands Road and Limuru Road (now Prof Wangari Maathai Road).

Built in 1933 and funded largely by the Goan community for their own use, the church is a silent reminder of those days of racial segregation.

Designed to a neo-gothic architectural style, walls are made of butch stone buttressed at regular intervals externally beneath a Mangalore tiled roof featuring a high, vaulted ceiling.

Windows are glazed in steel casements supported in arched openings with rose windows to the higher elevations. The walls are rusticated to external elevations giving the visual impression of an impenetrable fortress.

The statue of their patron saint Francis Xavier stands in the garden.

Today, the church is open to all races.

Ref 2 St.Teresa's Catholic Church-Eastleigh.

Ref 3 - Shrine of Mary Help of Christians - Nairobi

Shrine of Mary Help of Christians
Don Bosco Upperhill

This is a very tiny glimpse into one project which I hope he has completed.

ROLAND FRANCIS: He was the historian of the Goan community in Canada. If you wanted any reference to what he said or context to whatever he chose to discuss, JJD would within 24 hours whip out an article, a post, a video or minutes of a meeting. If there was any record, he possessed it. It was natural that he was a part of the team of the Goan Archives project.

I met John many years ago in Toronto and I knew here was a man who could critically analyze issues unlike most in the community. While his engineering background may have contributed to it, his talents went beyond.

He spent endless hours thinking and acting outside the box on matters that affected Goans in Canada. A website here, a committee there, a panel here, a celebration there. John was a bachelor and one automatically assumed he had more time on his hands than the average person, but by itself that didn’t explain why you could see JJD where three or more people gathered in the name of a Goan cause. He simply loved Goans no matter he gnashed his teeth at the actions of some and he simply loved being with them. 

For many years, JJD single-handedly ran Goan Voice Canada a popular website that he started and which became an informal sounding board for the city. But after the passage of many years, it became even for JJD, a herculean task and he lamentably had to cut it loose. For those like myself who witnessed his pain over this, it was almost like a parent letting go of his favourite child.

John lived in Mississauga and I in the eastern part of Toronto, so while it was difficult to just connect in person over a meal or a cup of coffee on a whim, we talked often and we met frequently enough at events and gatherings. Always with a smile, JJD shared with me a lighthearted vision of our Goan cultural milieu and an even lighter hearted opinion of our ability to try to be agents of change.

He never talked about his health as most seniors are apt to do but of late when we conversed on the phone, he was always trying to impress upon me the tasks that needed to be completed before he lost his race with time. I remarked upon this but he just brushed my concern for his unusual pessimism.

I always visualized JJD like an old soldier never dying, only fading away and it is with a heavy heart that I read Cyprian’s notes to Goanet and to me that JJD had last night unwound the coils of the shuttle that loomed the fabric of his life.

Goodbye John and though I don’t believe in an afterlife, I do wish for you happiness with your rich Kenyan and Canadian memories that all of us who knew you, will in partnership cherish.

Roland Francis

BERNI GODINHO: RIP! You will be missed by the DRGS community dear John. It was good working with you on the DRGS reunion booklet. Your wit was what I admired most.

ERROL FERRAO: Such sad news, sincerest condolences to John's family. Truly appreciate your contribution to our community.

FRANCIS LOBO: John's contributions are global... thank RIP.

MANUEL TAVARES: John was instrumental in making sure the history of the Goans in Canada was documented and preserved for posterity.

MANNY CASTELLINO: What a loss to the community and his family. Sad, sad, sad.

MERWIN D’SOUZA: There's a phenomenon known as the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule which broadly states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Sadly, in our community, it is more like 90/10 rule.  John was one in our top 5%.   We were in touch 2/3 times a week and recently more often than that. 

His concern lately was about all the things our generation needed to accomplish to leave our footprints behind before 'the lights were turned off'.  He certainly wasn't one of our 90% b/s artists.  He was a doer, getting things done in his quiet, no fanfare manner.  With John it wasn't about the attention or accolades, it was about the bigger picture, being our better selves, the challenge and the satisfaction of scaling one peak and on to the next pinnacle.....making progress as a community.   He pushed and encouraged others to take on more but always expected twice as much from himself. 

As an engineer at heart, his organization, management and impeccable follow thru skills were qualities I deeply admired.  It is difficult for the average individual to appreciate the time and effort it takes just to run a periodical website unless one is totally immersed in it.  I understand just a little of that sort of undertaking, but John not only achieved this but at any time had another dozen community balls in the air he did not drop. His community vision, dedication, tireless energy and efforts, I am afraid, were never fully appreciated.  It will become evident over time that the Toronto community has lost a key mover and shaker. 

Bon voyage, my friend,

Merwin D'Souza

MERVYN MACIEL: I just can't believe what I've just read in Cyprian's tribute  - that John D'Souza of Canada is no more. I write this with a deep sense of shock as John was such an energetic soul and a 'Walking Encyclopedia' on anything related to Goans and especially Goans of East Africa.

Only last month, he sent me a message about my granduncle missionary
priest from Zanzibar – something I myself  did not know. Am including an extract from his e-mail below. John was ever willing and prompt to help with any information.

Although I never had the pleasure of meeting John in person, we've
communicated extensively over the years and I shall miss his wit and wisdom immensely.

May his soul rest in peace and may the Good Lord reward him for all the
good he selflessly did for others. My sincere condolences to his family.

Here's an extract from his last e-mail:

I have somewhere an article on your grand uncle Fr DeSa of Zanzibar -
cannot find it 🙁. He came to Nairobi 1902 or 3 to conduct a retreat in  "Concani" as the article says.

If you have a copy pls send at your leisure.

Not one to give up easily, John persisted and came up with this reply:


See attached - he came to Nairobi for a month ~1906

John J. D'Souza

JOHN NORONHA: Deeply saddened by this awful news. His contribution to the Goan community is incredible and will be there for generations to come.


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