Charlie Huan Ting Chen

January 10, 1926 — November 21, 2023

Toronto

Our father, Charlie Huan-Ting Chen passed away peacefully on November 21, 2023 at the age of 97 in Toronto, Ontario.  Our mother, Sarah, his wife of 65 years was by his side.  Charlie is also survived by his daughters Alice, Betty (Lorne Mack), Christine, and Dorothy (Geoffrey Peddle), 12 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.
 
Charlie or "Pop" was born in Guangxi Province, China in 1926.  His early education and short career as an elementary school teacher took place in Guangxi before he entered the National Defense Medical School, graduating in Taiwan in 1954.  He obtained further medical training in Copenhagen, Honolulu, Providence and Boston before completing his anesthesia residency at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 1967.  Until 2000, when he retired at age 74 from the Regina General Hospital, Charlie practiced anesthesia, including providing highly-valued expertise in the emerging field of heart-lung bypass.  Over his forty plus years of medical service Charlie was well respected by his surgical and nursing colleagues.
 
We are most fortunate to have had so many years with our father.  He was a strict disciplinarian as a parent, dragging us children out of bed early on Saturday mornings to clean our rooms, keeping a strict timetable even when on vacation, and placing high expectations on our young shoulders for school excellence.  And yet, he also taught us how to thrive and enjoy life, providing us with endless opportunities for recreation (camping, canoeing, hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, water skiing, and ice fishing),  for travel (from cross-Canada driving trips to Caribbean beach vacations to a memorable China family trip) and of course for learning (including regular visits to the Regina Museum of Natural History, stocking our home library with Encyclopedia Britannica, and dragging us into every museum our paths crossed).  
 
As a first generation immigrant, our father was amazingly adaptable, enthusiastically embracing diversity in experience and people, and proudly wearing the badge of a Canadian citizen.  He, along with Mom, played competitive badminton and tennis with a local community league well into their seventies.  He was a leader in the Chinese community, promoting and organizing cultural events.  He loved tinkering in the garden, lining our yard with a colourful explosion of blossoms and gleefully sharing our bounty of crabapples with neighbourhood kids.  Well into adulthood we continued to be influenced by our fathers strong work ethic, moral compass and integrity.  We could always turn to him and our mother for reliable, practical, and no-nonsense advice.  Although in recent years his health and physical function waned, he remained characteristically strong-willed (some might even say bull-headed), and never wavered from his watchful and loving oversight of our mother's well being.
 
We will miss him.
 
We thank all of Pop's friends who enriched his life.  We also thank the wonderful staff at the Grenadier Retirement Residence and the private caregivers who provided gentle and respectful care to the end.  In keeping with his wishes, Pop was cremated, and his ashes will be scattered over the Pacific Ocean on a family trip, an opportunity to celebrate our hard working and loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
 
For those who would like to honour Charlie's memory with a charitable donation, we ask that you consider contributing to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Fund.
 

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