BRIAN AUBREY VINT
February 10th 1941 – December 24th 2017
Adapted from a Eulogy at his Memorial Service on January 7 th 2018
delivered by his niece, Amber Vint Yaciw
(Thank you Amber)
Brian Aubrey Vint was born in Rangoon , Burma on February 10, 1941 to Gladys and Bertie Vint, his older siblings being Milton (1936), Keith (1938), and a sister, Frances Adelaide, (who was born 1939 but died in infancy). They lived in Maymyo, a British Hill Station in the Mandalay region of Burma where his father was employed by the railways. Brian's parents were Anglo Indians of British, Portuguese and Dutch descent.
The early years of Brian's life were disrupted heavily by the Japanese invasion of Burma . If this wasn't enough, the one-year-old Brian was ill with bronchial pneumonia and his dad Bertie was almost shot by a Japanese Squadron. After this threat, Bertie and a group of employees obtained permission to stay to the end as essential workers, provided the railway agreed to evacuate their families. And so Gladys and the boys were airlifted to India in the spring of 1942. The Vint family moved to several places in India at this time and the family welcomed Michael in 1944 and twins Colin and Clyde in 1946.
April 1947 Gladys received the terrible news that her beloved husband Bertie had passed away and she was heartbroken. She returned to Burma to visit her husband's gravesite and to make arrangements for the boys' education. The three eldest sons were accepted at a school in Kalimpong and the family moved back to India to an apartment building called Emerald Court in Calcutta where Brian's aunts lived with their families.
Kalimpong is in Northern India in the foothills of the Himalayas . On completing a few years in Kalimpong, Brian, Keith and Milton returned to Calcutta to complete their schooling at Calcutta Boys' School where many of the pupils were Anglo-Indian. Brian graduated and was employed British Airlines. Shortly after, he married his girlfriend, Arleen at a civil ceremony and their daughter, Julie Anne, arrived a year later, followed a few years later by a son, Dale.
The family then began to consider leaving India for greener pastures. Brian's younger brother Mike emigrated to Australia , while Keith and his wife Gwen arrived in Canada in the mid ‘60s followed by their younger sibling Clyde and their mother Gladys in 1969. Brian also chose to move to Canada and was sponsored by Keith, but his wife Arleen and he decided to go their separate ways, and she stayed in India for a while before leaving for Australia with Julie and Dale.
Once in Canada , Brian moved in with his mother Gladys and brother Clyde , and was employed by Lewis Refrigeration.
Brian's niece Amber describes the meeting between Brian and Jeanette – in her words: “... So, I asked Auntie Jeanette to tell me the romantic story about how she and Uncle Brian met. ‘Oh – I suppose we should include that in the eulogy,' she said. ‘Yes, Auntie Jeanette,' I said, ‘people want the love story!' As it turns out, my Dad Colin had a large part to play in the meeting of Brian and Jeanette.”
“Colin, my Dad, came to Canada in 1972 and was hired by a Jeanette Schwartzenberger at St. Michael's Catholic school. There was a staff Christmas party and dad asked Jeanette if he could bring his brother Brian who was a bit lonely. So they first met at this party. Then Brian offered to help with various jobs that needed doing around the school and so on. Dad had apparently told Uncle Brian to make sure he was being nice to Jeanette. Brian's offers to help out became more frequent and somehow this turned into starting to date each other. This portion of the story is top secret but essentially they were going dancing every Saturday night and hanging out on weekends. They had double dates and New Year's evenings with their good friends Jackie and Mirai and Alain Voger. Then, as Jeanette says, she decided to “put up with him” and they were married on June 30, 1979 in Calgary , Alberta .”
On March 1, 1981, Jeanette and Brian welcomed their son Edward John, named for both his grandfathers' middle names.
Brian and Jeanette's apartment became the hub of many family gatherings. The evening would very often include fond reminiscences from the 'old days' in the 'Old Country'. In addition they often put overseas visitors up to stay at their home. Summer vacations were sometimes spent in their camper van visiting Jeanette's family in Alberta or showing visiting relatives around the city. One memorable trip was their 2-month holiday in Australia meeting family and old friends.
Brian was a great handy-man around the house, but when not mowing the lawn or fixing things, he enjoyed watching sports and the news on Global TV as well as working on crossword puzzles and trying his luck at the weekly lottery. He was forthright in his opinions about the “bloody idiots” on TV, who sometimes irked him! People remember him as a loyal and caring friend to those who were ill and/or needed support.
Brian and Jeanette had many fun memories including a Caribbean cruise around the time of their 20 th anniversary. Their 25 th wedding anniversary was a wonderful gathering of all the people that had been a part of their lives together, and a fond occasion with friends and family—a celebration that was held at the home and yard in which they had worked so hard. Brian loved dancing and they both attended several AI reunions over the years.
Brian was diagnosed with stomach cancer in April of 2013; he went through many bouts of chemo and underwent surgery in May 2014. He later suffered a stroke which was a huge setback, but he pushed through the struggle of rehabilitation. Jeanette has been a devoted wife to Brian over the years, and as his health deteriorated, she looked after him —and her strong faith helped her through these difficult times.
On February 10, 2016 Brian celebrated his 75 th birthday, with a small surprise gathering in the home at Parkwood Place . He became a grandfather in his final years and enjoyed seeing photos and videos sent from Australia of Dale's son Xander Shae who turned one last year.
This December, Jeanette and Brian hosted one last Schwartzenberger-Vint family Christmas lunch—an annual tradition. Shortly afterwards, Brian decided to stay in hospital as the journey back and forth to dialysis three times a week was just too much. On Dec 23 rd he was moved to Laurel Place Hospice.
Brian Aubrey Vint passed over in his sleep early in the morning of Dec 24 th. 2017.
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Postscript: By Amber Vint Yaciw
During these difficult times, Uncle Brian and Auntie Jeanette have been so lucky to have the support of friends and family such as Keith and Gwen, Lorraine and Harith, Fai, Sharon and Dan, Shelley and Rob, Joan S. Thank you kindly to family, friends and the congregation here for all your prayers and messages of support – it was often the thoughts and prayers from of all of you that kept Uncle fighting another day.
I feel so honoured to have been a part of Uncle Brian's last night. Eddy, Auntie Jeanette and I sat with Uncle, ensuring that Global News was on. We watched all the snow reports and I teased Uncle, telling him that he'd do “anything to get out of shovelling the snow eh?” It was a very emotional visit seeing Uncle like that, but being with him as Jeanette cared for him and Edward fed him water, and holding his hand is a memory I will take with me while I remember the love, laughs, and louder and larger than life personality that Uncle Brian shared with all of us. He was a fun and caring man despite the many hardships he endured during his life. He was “a thing of beauty” — loyal to a tee and took such good care of his family and friends.
I would like to share a piece called “What is Dying” by Bishop Charles Henry Brent that has brought me much solace over the years.
A ship sails and I stand watching
till she fades on the horizon,
and someone at my side
says, "She is gone".
Gone where? Gone from my sight,
that is all; she is just as
large as when I saw her...
the diminished size and total
loss of sight is in me, not in her,
and just at the moment
when someone at my side
says "she is gone", there are others
who are watching her coming,
and other voices take up the glad shout,
"There she comes!" ...and that is dying.
Uncle Brian, you will be missed. But you are not suffering anymore; the Vint clan welcomed you with open arms just in time for another raucous Christmas celebration and shouted with excitement at the arrival of a dear brother and son.”