BURJAW, Frederick 'Rick' Anthony - (November 21, 1944 – August 7, 201) - Passed away peacefully at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, with his family by his side.
Many people knew him, by many different names: Rick, Ricky, Uncle Rick, Freddy, Professor B, and Gramps; to name a few.
Rick was the youngest of Frederick and Kathleen’s (nee Hennesy) five children. His siblings Barb, Deece, and Paul predecease him. Survived by his wife of 53 years Diana Lee (nee Gasbarrini). His children Richard (Dana), Michelle (Rob Penteliuk). His grandchildren Stephanie, Sarah, Mason, and Sellah. His dear big sister Bev Dubois. And his two dozen nieces and nephews.
He was a man of fun, adventure, and stories. Depending on when you asked him, he may have been born at St. Joseph’s in Hamilton, or in a barn in Waterdown, or at halftime during a Tiger-Cat game.
Rick was eleven years younger than his next closest sibling Paul. He used to joke that his mom Kathleen needed that break to rest up for Rick’s arrival.
Rick occasionally used the Latin expression ‘Carpe Diem’ (seize the day) to summarize his view of life. This view was shaped in his teens and early twenties after life threw him some curves.
The loss of his father Frederick, when Rick was still a teenager, left him home alone with his mother Kathleen. Shortly after his father’s death, Rick was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and told he had 25 years to live. These events - all before the age of 20 - cemented Rick’s view that a good life of (any length) should be simply a string of good days. Rick embodied the idea of being present in every moment.
He was raised primarily in Westdale and attended Canadian Martyrs and Cathedral Boys High School. Unbeknownst to Rick, his future wife Diana was his Grade 2 classmate at Canadian Martyrs. He would claim not to remember her because he was focusing on his studies.
After a year in seminary at St Francis on Staten Island - Rick used to joke that his records were sealed but they used his experience to tighten up future seminary admissions - Rick returned home for grade 12 and a second more memorable meeting of his future wife Diana.
Rick and Diana were married on July 17, 1965 and quickly set about starting their family. Richard and Michelle were born in the three years following their marriage. Rick graduated from Wilfrid Laurier in 1968 (B.B.A.) and McMaster in 1969 (M.B.A.).
Somehow the young married couple managed to juggle university and family; and by the late 60s the four of them settled into life in Burlington. It looked like a typical family journey was ahead, but Rick had bigger dreams for his family. Propelled by his short life expectancy, Rick was determined to be an entrepreneur.
He combined his professional dreams with his love of tennis and went on to found Arlington Racquet Sports. He and his partners built, owned, and operated five tennis clubs across Ontario. It was one of Canada’s first chains of recreation and fitness centers.
The tennis club experience moved the family to London where Rick became more active in the community. He became an active board member of The Make A Wish foundation; and was its President. He also founded two informal social groups that continue to this day. There was the Friday afternoon tennis group and Wednesday night hockey (a.k.a. River City Rink Rats).
Although Rick retired from hockey a decade ago, he continued at Friday tennis until recently; when his health prevented it. More recently he was an active member of the Burlington G&CC Men’s Curling League. And throughout his entire adult life, Rick was always part of a regular poker night; too many to mention!
Rick’s next big business adventure took the family to England in 1983. He set up the European manufacturing and sales division of Big O Drain Tile. And as only Rick could do, he picked up a sideline as head coach of The Solihull Barons, a professional hockey team in England’s Premiere League.
After returning to Canada, Rick settled into his college and university teaching career. It was a role that harnessed his personality and life experiences. It really was his calling. In his usual self-deprecating way, Rick started his small business class by saying that starting a business was easy - he’d done it many times! His success as a teacher was recognized in 2016 when he was awarded the faculty leadership award at The Dan School of Management (at Western).
Along this amazing ride, Rick accumulated hundreds of friends and connections. While he was known by many different social groups, work colleagues, and students, he remained a devout family man his entire 73 years. His family always came first.
For Rick and Diana’s 50th wedding anniversary, their grandchildren built word art with words like: family, laughter, cigars, and Ellicottville. They could have filled an entire billboard with words because of how dynamic Gramps was. His legacy of the grandchildren made him most proud. The values and personality he instilled in them will ensure his memory survives.
Visitation at Smith's funeral home, 1167 Guelph Line, Burlington on Sunday, August 12th from 3 - 8 p.m.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church (287 Plains Rd E, Burlington) on Monday, August 13th at 10:30 a.m.
The family requests any donations be directed in Rick’s name towards The Princess Margaret Hospital foundation or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada.