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Our Dad was a Great Man.
Our Dad sometimes said that he felt he had not achieved anything great or important with his life but he was wrong.
Jean-Pierre Henaff was a great man in the truest sense of the word. When he was a young man, he took on a new country, a new culture, a new language, and made it proudly on his own.
When we were little, Dad worked 18 hours a day at two jobs just in order to provide for us. He studied hard, took tough exams to improve himself and excelled in his field of expertise. In his career, he travelled the world. His airplanes saved acres of forest and hundreds of lives.
Our Dad had a magical touch for making things. He could take overgrown weed patches and make a beautiful garden. He could take lumps of wood and make magical tree houses. He could take scraps of metal and make them soar through the air.
When we were little, we believed that he could fix absolutely anything and make everything better. As we grew up and found that this wasn’t entirely true, it didn’t detract from our belief in him one bit – it only made us see the imperfections in the world around him.
He was a good man, an honest man, and a loving and generous man. He would do anything to help anyone, whether it meant flying halfway around the world to deal with an emergency or nipping to your house to help with the garden. It is true that he didn’t suffer fools or bureaucrats gladly but he always accepted each person as they came and made real friends across the world with people of every age, culture, and background. He respected and enjoyed people of every age, culture, and background. He respected and enjoyed people and in turn was greatly loved and was respected.
He believed that a job worth doing was worth doing well. Everything he took on he did with all his might and kept at it until it was done properly – no matter what it took. He was generous beyond measure, with his time, his talents and his love; whether it was good food, good wine, good stories, help, advice or money – he shared it freely and with honest pleasure. Even in his death he was thinking of others. Through his brave generosity, five families across Canada are today crying tears of joy, for the new lives that he made possible through the Organ Donor Program.
Our Dad was a great man. He was a true Hero.
He never sought recognition or reward. He did great things because he believed it was right. We are going to teach his grandchildren to see him and remember him in everything they do - by finding the beauty in anything well made, the joy of a thing well done, the pleasure of a garden well tended, and the importance of putting others before yourself.
Our Dad was a great man.