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Edward Michael (Ted) Keating

Edward Michael (Ted) Keating

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Here are the words I spoke at my dad's celebration. I hope these words bring you solace and leave a smile on your face as you remember him.
On behalf of my family, I want to start by saying thank you to this wonderful community. In these past few months while dad's health declined, our friends, neighbours, and relatives provided an extrodinary-level of support to our family. This time was incredibly difficult, but was made as easy as it could have been by those came to walk with our dad everyday, those who provided meals for us, those who called to check in, those who came to sit and watch a game with dad, and the countless other acts of kindness provided by you. For everything you have done, you have our eternal gratitude.

When people pass away, we are often told to take solace in the fact that our loved ones will live on in our memories of them, in the way they have affected our lives, and in the lessons we learned from them. Given that dad was always a teacher, I think that these words would resonate with him. So today, I'd like to share with you three lessons from Ted.

Lesson 1:
When steph and I were in highschool, laura was in elementary school, and dad was teaching at Van Tech, each school day would start the same. Dad rode his bike to work and he'd leave the house earlier than my sisters and I. Before he left the house he'd stand at the top of the stairs in his spandex biking shorts, an old white t-shirt tucked in, his helmet on, white sport socks pulled up to mid-shin, and his biking shoes and he would say, Girls, are we wealthy? Girls? Are we wealthy? and he would repeat this question until he got the correct answer from us, which was an inevitably grumpy, yes dad, we're wealthy because we have our health. And then he would smile at us and sing M-I-C See you real soon, K-E-Y, why because I love you, M-O-U-S-E, then he'd leave to bike to work.

There are multiple parts to this lesson, the first of which is, it doesn't matter what you wear.

For the second part, when dad says the he thinks we are wealthy because we have our health. I think this means more than just a healthy body, although he strongly valued physical fitness, and was active all his life playing rugby, squash, skiing, and golfing to name a few. I think that he also meant a healthy mind, and a healthy soul. And dad lived this philosophy. To keep his mind healthy, he was constantly learning new things, from researching how to have the perfect golf swing to changing his career to work with new teaching technologies. To keep his soul healthy, he was generous with everyone he met; anyone he ran into would be invited over to the house for dinner. If a friend ever asked for his help, he would show up and enthusiastically lend a hand. With our mom he created a community around him of wonderful and supportive people. I believe that even at the end of his life, when his body was failing him, our dad still would have said he was wealthy because he was surrounded by the love of his family and the love of his friends and for that again, we thank you.

The mickey mouse song brings us to Lesson 2: Those of you who knew dad as a math teacher, may not know that he was also a poet. One of his best works comes in the form of a card that he wrote for mom that goes:
You plus me plus three = family
This work is a bit out of date and if he was around to rewrite it today he would have written something like,
You plus me plus three plus three plus six equals family.

These poems and the mickey mouse song summarize lesson two: love your family.
It was clear in everything that dad did that he loved his family. It was clear in the way that his face lit up when the grandkids came to the house, in the way that he patiently taught them to ride a bicycle, in the way that he held them when they were born, and hugged them as they grew. It was clear in the way that he accepted our spouses into his life without judgement, just an invitation to have a drink, watch the game, and questions of genuine curiosity to get to know them. It was clear in the way that our dad raised my sisters and I, with very little anger, lots of patience, and support when we made mistakes. It was clear in the way that he loved our mom, the love of his life. In the way he was excited to go on trips and explore new places with her, in the way that he would install a new room or a new kitchen, in the subtle bragging about her that he did when he would invite someone new to dinner, and in the way he would grin at her when he said something to make her laugh.

Dad was not one to say I love you all the time, and yet I never doubted that our dad loved us. And I feel, as I know my sisters do too, lucky to have had him as our father.

Lesson 3 comes in the form of a fable. Dad told this story to my sisters and I over and over again through our lives. I am paraphrasing here because some of the details have gotten lost over time or were not consistent to begin with, but it goes something like this: once there was a young aspiring actor in Hollywood who was trying to find an acting job. He tried out for countless plays and movies, but he could not land anything. Then one day he was trying out for a play and the director said to him, we really like you, but the only role we have left is a rock. And the actor said yes, I will take it. The actor practiced being a rock everyday leading up to opening night. On opening night he went out on stage and he was the best rock that he could be. And he received a standing ovation for his role. And you know what, that rock was Dustin Hoffman (or sometimes Al Pacino). But regardless, the moral of the story remains the same, be the best that you can be.

And dad was the best that he could be in everything that he did. He was the best golfer that he could be, he was the best driver that he could be, he was the best teacher that he could be, he was the best friend that he could be, he was the best grandfather that he could be, he was the best father that he could be, and he was the best husband that he could be.

Although it was cut short by this terrible disease, while he was alive, dad lived the best life that he could live.

And, since no good lesson would finish without repeating the main points, to summarize
1)Remember, you are wealthy because you have your health
2)Love your family with all you have
3)Be the best that you can be

These are some of the many things that we have learned from dad that will live on, in the way we continue to support each other in this community and to create our own communities, in the way that we raise and love our children, spouses, and each other, and in the way that we live our best lives.

Dad, we love you and we will miss you.
Ted Keating was an instructional designer in Open Learning for 13 years before his retirement in 2013. With a wealth of expertise in digital and online learning, particularly in mathematics, and in teacher training, he managed the development of math courses and was a certified trainer for WebCT. He helped establish OL's Instructional Design department, serving as co-chair in its early years. Ted will be remembered for his easy-going and supportive nature, his dedication to active living and his ability to make any subject scintillating. He loved learning and teaching, and immersed himself in life.
One of the Many Heartfelt Speeches at Ted's Celebration of Life

I think we are all here to acknowledge that there is now an enormous hole in our universe and to hope that with all these memories we can recreate a giant jigsaw picture of our lovely Ted.
Ted was the best neighbor everhe magically turned acquaintances into close friends and in the process created a sense of belonging for our little community.
Ted loved to hang out on the street, Fashionista Ted, in those crazy white overalls (sometimes clipping his hedge) but frankly I think that was just an excuse . He had this incredible ability to look around, make eye contact and immediately strike up a conversation with perfect strangers showing such innocent curiosity, true interest and complete acceptance to whomever he was beguiling..
.and then the next thing you knew, there they were...sitting at the ever expanding Keating table, you know that table, many of you have experienced as it always having room for just one more!
Once there, Ted took hosting seriously. You remember that mischievous glinthe loved injecting a little excitement, into the conversation no avoiding sex, politics and religion at this dinner table. Instead Ted took delight in being a little bit of the provocateur, delighting in bringing up controversial topics and then always ready to laugh and see the ridiculous in everything. He offered jokes, stimulating ideas, food and wine and most recently Bonnie Prince Charlies.
Ted as neighbor was always ready to helpI can't count how many times he lugged something up or down narrow curving stairs, helped with a child's math problem or taught a neighbor to ride a bike
As a teacher, I so envy Ted s remarkable abilityhe was able to break down a skill into manageable bites and then so diplomatically, without making you feel like the idiot you were, point you gently in the right direction so that you actually felt pretty clever by the end. Many of us now feel extremely confident in our skill at Mexican trains!
Ted was always up for fun and adventure.and he brought that neighbourliness with him; charming folks in Nepal. Bhutan, Cambodia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, France, Portugal, and Haida Gwaii. In Vietnam the guides insisted on Ted drinking beer with them after a very long dayand of course tired though he was, there he'd be; big Ted sitting on a tiny little pink plastic kid's chair ; drinking beer on the street and of course finding out about their lives..
Doug tells me, his great delight was in seeing Ted with that look of the Cat-That-Ate-the-Canary.', You would catch him with a little smile on his face and just know he couldn't believe how blessed he was. First blessed to have lucked into snagging the love of his life, twice blessed with the three amazing daughters they produced (not to mention three lovely son in laws)..and thrice blessed with six precious grandchildren. And although I can imagine what it must have been like to be the only male in a home with four females, Ted would just float through hassles getting that same look on his face; looking sideways at Elaine, realizing he had yet again gotten away with something. If the fur really started flying, he would, of course, find some urgent repairs that needed doing outside the house, .
In the hospice, Ted was the sun around which his family rotated, especially those last few nights with Elaine holding his hand and all his girls sleeping on a pullout next to himFour little sardines in a can.Steph, Kristina, Laura and little Sloan
Those last few months, Ted continued his role, as host and neighbor, bringing us together in a different way. people gathered together to walk, talk, yell at sports, play games and party hearty. Everyone who bore witness to this time felt it an honor and a privilege to yet again experience Ted's warmth. Through him we made new connections and the community continued to grow

So now, all we can do is honour and extend the impact of our lovely friend. So, all of you Get out there. Hang about on the sidewalk, talk to total strangers, ask them inquisitive, interested questions and then bring them home for a meal and give your spouse a hug, all in the confident knowledge that her look of fond exasperation hides a deep well of perfect endless love.

We love you Ted.
I taught with Ted at UHill secondary from 1979 until he left for Vancouver Tech. I remember when we took the grade 10s to Strathcona Park Lodge & Ted & i would hang out in the ferry cafeteria eating and drinking coffee.
We'll miss you Ted.
Barb Glick
I am truly very saddened to hear of this sad news. Mr. Keating was my Math 12 teacher back at Vancouver Technical in 1988. He was always such a kind and wonderful person. I learned a great deal from him and was inspired to become a mathematics teacher because of him and his encouragement. It is my distinct honour to continue to carry on his legacy in passing onto my students the many mathematics concepts and life lessons he taught me.
To his family and loved ones, please know my thoughts are with you and hope you will accept my sincerest condolences.
Being a few years younger than Ted, my high school friends & I were always amazed at being included in activities which got us out of the North End of Winnipeg. Ted, his brother Bo, Helmut Klein & Bob Jaskiewicz were like big brothers and have remained friends ever since. Our heartfelt condolences to Elaine & the kids. Ken & Diane Johnson
As former tenants of Ted and Elaine, we got to know Ted as a very kind and gentle person with a great interest in other people. We are very saddened to learn about his passing. Our thoughts are with the Keating family.
In an earlier entry I mentioned the wine-tasting, in Napa and Sonoma, and chipping practice, outside Santa Cruz, off Highway 1, along the Pacific,on the beach there. Here are some of the photos, from February, 2006, of these wonderful times together.
Lovely memories! My 3 daughters grew up with Elaine & Ted's 3 daughters. They shared same ages, playtimes, cousins, sleepovers, tents & toys, dinner tables & a gazillion b'day parties. My calendar is a maze of amazing entries, my photo album is heartwarming. So is the memory of your
forever smile Ted & of you carrying my sleeping child to our car after a late eve of fun at the Keatings. God bless you & your family, you're all special people to us.
Ted was one of my older cousins. Back on Manitoba Ave., visiting Aunty Jean and Uncle Mick, Ted was the kindly, tall cousin who could pick me up and carry me on his shoulders. At such great heights, the neighbourhood was a grand vista. His ability to show others the wonderful panorama of our lives was a true gift. I am so grateful to Ted for his generosity, quiet interest in my life, and for his many examples of inspiration. Ted and Elaine. Thanks so much. Aunty Jean and Uncle Mick will be doing a jig, happy to see their boy again.

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