February 9, 1928 - January 11, 2019
Our beloved patriarch, George, died quickly and painlessly at home on January 11, 2019.
To say that George squeezed out every drop of life is a grand understatement - from surviving the horrors of the Holocaust and losing his entire family, to restarting a new life in Canada. Blessed with 4 children (or as he would say, 3 kids and a girl) he pursued life with great vigour. World renowned for his tenacity and generosity, for George there were no problems, only challenges for which he could always find solutions. He helped hundreds of new Canadians find jobs, homes, and pursue their dreams. He had no time for naysayers or laziness. Our father lived larger than life - from using dynamite to blast rocks at the cottage, to igniting Czech democratic protests in 2016.
George’s early years are well known through the story of Hana’s Suitcase, which follows George and his sister Hana’s journey from their Czech home to Terezin and finally to Auschwitz. In George’s case - he believed that he survived due to his perseverance and a little bit of luck. He was liberated from the Death March in January of 1945 and returned home to find out that he was the sole survivor of his family.
George felt that he should not dwell on the past and chose to make a new life in Canada honouring the legacy of his parents. Three years later, he met a fellow survivor, Joe Seidner, and together they founded Brady & Seidner. As he established the business, George began a busy family life with his first wife Carol and their 3 boys, Douglas, Paul and David. He impressed upon his boys the values he had grown up with, including a spirited appreciation for cottage life and family time. Guests were frequently lulled into a false sense of relaxation with weekend invites to a “Rock Festival” or “Woodstock”, neither of which had anything to do with music, but rather the literal translation. When he was no longer able to swing a chainsaw, his favourite pastime was to direct others including his kids and grandkids as they cut trees, used the leaf blower, and moved rocks.
At 54, George expanded the family by marrying a second time and together with Teresa had a daughter, Lara Hana. The family continued to grow with badly trained but much loved dogs.
The arrival of Fumiko Ishioka into George’s life in 2000 heralded the next chapter, sharing the story of his sister, and that of his own as a member of the underground magazine at Terezin called Vedem. George believed that these stories transcended faith and belief; encouraging kids and adults alike to explore history and learn more about the consequences of hatred and intolerance. Having, impacted many lives, his story continues to touch people in every corner of the world.
George’s proudest achievement was his family and their success. He often commented that his parents would have been so proud to see how the Brady clan had expanded after suffering such hardship during the war. Not one to hold a grudge, this was his vindication; that he won out in the end. George was a member of the Order of Ontario, and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, keys to Prague and Nove Mesto (his home town), the highest German civilian Order of Merit: the “Verdienstkreuz am Bande”, the Masaryk Society award, the Czech House of Commons award, Post Bellum award, honour from Palace University, and various other honours. He was also very proud of achieving 1st, 2nd and 3rd place (in the same race) for the over 80 category at the Devil’s Glen Ski Club Championships. George’s legacy is carried on by his wife Teresa; children Douglas (Carol), Paul (Joyce), David (Robin), Lara (Mark) and his grandchildren; Adam, Daniel, Cameron, Everest, Sierra, Nirvana, Khoi, Grace, Isaiah, Elijah, Aaron and Theodore. Special thanks to Teresa for her miracles in keeping George healthy, despite his best efforts to do otherwise and to Marty for those weekly lunches. Forever with a twinkle in his eye, George will be deeply missed. George was the world’s biggest optimist - always seeing the glass more than half full.
At Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel, 2401 Steeles Avenue West ( three lights west of Dufferin) for service on Wednesday January 16, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. Shiva to be observed privately. In George’s honour, and to continue the important cause he believed in - please consider a donation to the Tokyo Holocaust Education Centre in lieu of flowers. https:// www.canadahelps.org/en/ dn/31868