ILUNGO XAVIER

Obituary
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    - Cindy Xavier
  • "A good professor...a good man. May you rest in peace.. ..."
    - Evelyn -Student
  • "I have no words to express the sense of loss over not..."
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Ilungo "Johnny" Xavier
Johnny was released from this world while in the loving arms of his wife Cindy and daughter Agnitha on December 3, 2013 at the University of Alberta Hospital. He was taken from us far too soon. Left to grieve the loss of this truly remarkable man are his wife of four years, Cindy Marie Xavier; daughter Agnitha Lourdes Xavier; stepchildren Travis Allan Haftner, Keeley Marie Haftner (husband David Saunders) and Ashley Irene Haftner; sister Josephine ("didi") Dominica Alexandra Abraham and many cousins and relatives living in the United States and India. Johnny was predeceased by his parents, Francis Anthony and Lourdes Mary Xavier (nee Chinnappa); and his two brothers Pradeep Charles Xavier and Solomon Paul Xavier.
Born the youngest of four children in the city of Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India Johnny's early years were full of adventure and great times. His experience in a military (Indian Air Force) family moving from base to base all over India made Johnny a notably adaptable and diverse person. He spoke several languages including English, Hindi, Punjabi and his mother tongue, Tamil. At times he spoke any or all of them at once!
Johnny earned a B.Sc. (Ag) at the College of Agriculture in 1985, and an M.Sc. (Ag) at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Microbiology in 1989 at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) in Coimbatore, India before he immigrated in 1991 to Saskatchewan, Canada, which became his second home. He also briefly worked at CIBA-GEIGY of India Limited in Madras (now Chennai). At the University of Saskatchewan, Johnny earned an M.Sc. (Applied Microbiology) in 1994 and a Ph.D. (Applied Microbiology) in 1998. In 2009 he received an MBA (Executive Management) through the University of Regina. For Johnny, education was a valued achievement. He thrived as a scientist and his love of learning and training of fellow scholars earned him the moniker "guru" or "boss" by many, among them Vimal, his much-loved nephew.
Johnny was a Professional Research Associate at the U of S from 1998 to 2003, and an Adjunct Professor at the College of Medicine from 2003 to 2008. In 2003 Johnny joined Philom Bios, later merging with Novozymes Biologicals, as the Research and Development Manager and Senior Research Scientist where he remained until 2008. There he played an integral role in the science behind many of the agricultural products that are being used by farmers today, including a liquid formulation fondly referred to as "Johnny's Liquid". He was a brilliant scientist with a heartfelt interest in agriculture and a desire to bring affordable, environmentally friendly products to the consumer.
In 2009 Johnny joined the University of Saskatchewan Industry Liaison Office as a Technology Transfer Manager. To his colleagues, Johnny was much more than that. He was a brilliant leader, a humble and good-hearted man, and a great friend.
Johnny had a passion and love of life that is rare. His sense of humor and deep-throated chuckle was often heard and always welcome. Johnny's soft heart made him a target for any child who instantly recognized him as someone who would joyously do their bidding. He loved to cook, with his friends and family being the benefactors of delicious meals that included tandoori chicken, roti and biryani. Many times these meals would include a Sunday football game with his beloved Green Bay Packers. Johnny loved NFL Sundays and Chennai Super Kings cricket matches, which were perhaps the only rivals to his Packer obsession.
Above all, Johnny loved more than anything to spend time with his family for whom he had a fierce loyalty and a deep pride that was evident to anyone who met him. His wife Cindy was his chellam, his prize, his rock and his equal in every way. His daughter Agnitha was his shining star and absolute pride and joy, and his stepchildren Travis, Keeley and Ashley were as loved and cherished as if they had been born to him. Johnny was a true family man and our lives will be forever altered by his absence. He fought to remain with us, an unwavering survivor in every sense of the word. Our lives were richer for having known him. We will honor and cherish his memory by remembering him with heartfelt love for "where there is love there is life", Mahatma Gandhi.
A Prayer Vigil will be held for Johnny on Thursday, December 12, at 7:00p.m. at Hillcrest Funeral Home (east on 8th St., first right past Briargate Rd). The Funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, December 13, 2013 at 2:00p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish (Corner of 12th St. & Wiggins Ave.). Online condolences may be sent from www.hillcrestmemorial.ca Memorial donations in Johnny's name may be made to the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan (Unit 1A-527 Main St., Saskatoon, SK S7N 0C2) or a charity of choice. Arrangements entrusted to Charmaine Menard.


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Funeral Home
Hillcrest Funeral Home - Saskatoon
8th St. East, 1st right past Briargate Rd.
Saskatoon, SK S7K 3J8
(306) 477-4400
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Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Dec. 10, 2013
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