João Enes Pires
Father, Husband, Cheese Maker
Born: February 16, 1934
Died: May 12, 2015 in Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Interred: Gate of Heaven, Burlington
João Enes Pires is survived by Maria de Lourdes Lopes Pires, his wife of 51 years; and two sons Rui Lopes Pires and John Lopes Pires. The funeral was presided over by Father John Voyteck at St Raphael’s Catholic Church, Burlington, Ontario.
The single most life-changing thing my father did was immigrate to Canada from the island of Terçeira, Portugal. His is the story of an entire generation of immigrants who came to Canada in the 1970s. They left their young families to come to Canada to look for a new life. They reached out to friends to support each other. They created communities.
For younger generations, as we come to remember our parents at the end of their lives we witness the real costs they have paid for us to be here in Canada today. For my father with his multiple health conditions, I remember and honour how they were very much related to his work and self sacrifice.
But let us also remember some good things about my father: he was proud to be called a professional cheese maker, managing a cheese company for most of his work life. He always had a great appetite for food and could talk about cheese and wine, analyzing them both. Even when his appetite left him in his later years during his time of ill health, he would always be willing to try some cheese I would bring him to see how it was like.
My father was a great traveler he made a point of seeing all of Portugal, including Madeira island. I remember long road trips across the United States and all over Canada, even visiting the Atlantic provinces during his senior years. He was no different when he reached Canada, his very first weekend was a trip to the Toronto islands. (He is pictured on deck of a Toronto island ferry on this page.)
None of this could have been achieved of course without my mother, her contributions to the family and to his care.
Concluding this eulogy for my father, João Enes Pires, the first immigrant of our family, I’d like to mention a single stanza from a poem by James Michener:
My ship is set sail to seas unknown,
The bo’s’n calls my name and I must go.
~In Memory, Rui Pires