Horace Henriques – Obituary
Folks, we have all lost a tremendous friend today. It was particularly sad seeing him in the last few days lose various things we take for granted– the ability to eat food, swallow water, staying awake etc… This will ultimately happen to all of us in the end– hard to think about our own future mortality eh!
As I think about Horace, he was always the guy who did not have the same confidence in himself that the rest of us might have had due to our social upbringing. As an orphan growing up in Guyana, Horace was the guy who was neglected by others, he was in the background, the kind of guy that others made fun of, or dismissed as irrelevant due to his perceived external advantages. This traumatic growing up experience I am convinced were the building blocks that made Horace into an outstanding super -mentor who helped hundreds of students of color and non-traditional students in the University of Toronto (TYP) program. His own personal growing up experience and socialization was the main reason he could do magic with the TYP students. Horace was their non-judgemental mentor who they could trust and show their vulnerabilities. Horace gave students countless hours of deep academic coaching, listening and counseling. He also gave his students the most important ingredient for future success — unconditional love and empathy. In the corporate world that large scale academia has become this is totally unheard of! We Professors are just suppose to assume “everyone” is the same and not give anyone preferential advantages!
I will forever be grateful to Horace for modelling for me the empathy lesson– being there for those non-high flying students who need a confidence boost or an opportunity to do better. Its really hard to be the professor who has empathy and willingness to give students the benefit of the doubt rather than just dismissing them as lazy and not having the “desire” or acumen to finish the “degree.” Our students have always had complicated lives that we often don’t take the time to learn about– due to our busy lives. Horace never did that!
Horace I will miss your singing, jokes, dancing, and always being the life of the party no matter what country we were visiting. You were the guy along with Allison who opened up your house in Toronto to friends and visitors to get together and socialize no matter what time of year it was.
Horace my friend you are in a better place now without the pain of Lewy body dementia. I am sure you are looking down and smiling on all of us with Selwin, Scrap Iron, Patricia and the many others from our CSA gang who have also left us. Fire a drink, get the music ready because we are all in the departure lounge now waiting for our own separate flight to be with you in the future.
Hugs to everyone