Friday, November 9, 2007

Leaving The World Behind


Hi everyone,

It is with great sadness that I now must inform you that our dear John peacefully died at home on Thursday November, 8, 2007 with family at his side. While it was expected that he would succumb to his illness it still leaves us all with heavy hearts. John, as you know was so full of life and made such a difference in all of our lives. It will be a huge loss for us all.

John was comfortable until the end of his life and left our world with music still playing as he actively listened away. It is still unreal to our family and much too fresh for us yet to fully process, but the pain is real and we will now all mourn together. Judging by the hundreds of emails and letters that you have sent it is remarkable how many hearts he has touched and in such significant and personal ways. His children and I were just commenting on the significant impact and legacy he has left. It is rare for any one human being to have touched so many individually as well as globally, and to have left such personal imprints to such a large number of people. I always used to tell him what a lucky fellow he was to have been able to have made so many folks happy every time he works- regardless of where- just given the nature of his work which always resulted in smiles or feelings of joy. He was blessed to have been able to have been engaged in such an unique occupation all of his life which at the same time provided such pleasure to him.

The Irving Berlin song, "When I leave the World Behind" speaks of a man facing the prospect of his own mortality and the legacy that he would leave behind. The song refers to millionaires who contemplated their wealth and its distribution after death through a comparison to simpler folk, who without wealth aimed to leave behind peace and beauty. On the cover is Al Jolson, an entertainer on the American stage for several years.

From my perspective, John had the greatest wealth- in the things that matter. He had so many friends and folks who loved him, he had a family who adored him and he had talent across so many areas. To have been a performer and musician with such ability to entertain right up until the end of his life was the gift that he received. He leaves enormous wealth behind in his albums and CDs, his stories, his hundreds of concerts and their memories and anecdotes and the other very personal and unique ways in which he touched all of our hearts....


He was probably the wealthiest man that I have ever known and
I will not be the only one with tears tonight....

The official funeral announcement is posted below.
John has an email in addition to our post which is: john.arpin@sympatico.ca where messages will be received.

Best Regards,

Mary Jane

Funeral Announcement:

Arpin, John Francis Oscar


Died peacefully on November 8, 2007 at the age of 70, with his loving wife and family at his side. John was born in Port McNicoll, Ontario on December 3, 1936. He was an internationally acclaimed pianist, composer, arranger and performed in a variety of settings including upscale clubs and concert halls both as a soloist or with symphonies. He also produced and wrote music for several TV series, including TVO’s Polka Dot Door. John brought joy to many through his gift of music, his passion for and engagement in life and through his charm and wit. He will be forever missed by his wife, Mary Jane Esplen and his children-son, Bob and his wife Lynne; daughter Jennifer and her husband Steve Schaefer and daughter Nadine and her husband Majid Mohammadi, all of Toronto. John also leaves 4 grandchildren- grandsons Alexander and Kurt and granddaughters Nicole and Brianna. John is also survived by his brother, Leo of Midland, Ontario. John was predeceased by his mother, Marie Emelda Bertrand and father, Elie Regis Arpin. John and his family greatly appreciate the excellent care provided by the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, and treatments at Princess Margaret and Mount Sinai Hospitals, as well as services organized by Toronto’s CCAC (e.g. St. Elizabeth’s Nurses).

The family will receive friends at the HUMPHREY FUNERAL HOME – A.W. MILES CHAPEL, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Eglinton Avenue East) from 2-4 & 6-9 p.m. Thursday, November 15 and Friday, November 16. A Prayer Service will be held on Friday evening at 7:30 in the chapel. Mass of Christian Burial will be held in ST. MICHAEL’S CATHEDRAL, 65 Bond Street on Saturday, November 17 at 10:00 a.m.

If desired, donations in John’s memory may be made to the St. Michael’s Choir School, 67 Bond Street, Toronto M5B 1X5, 416-393-5518; or The Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO), 296 Jarvis Street, Unit 7, Toronto M5B 2C5, www.capo.ca. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.

Humphrey Funeral Home
A.W. Miles Chapel
416-487-4523

21 comments:

Linda said...

Dear Mary Jane you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Shortliffe said...

Mary Jane,

Francine and I grieve also. What a wonderful guy. Phone or email if there is anything I can do.

Gary Shortliffe

Bev. said...

Dear Mary Jane,
Thank you for sharing so much of your lives with us.
It is a sad time, but, you did make me smile reading about your many adventures together.
I am thinking of you and your family.
Bev.

Joe & Judy Tersigni said...

Mary Jane and Family
We are truly sorry to hear of John's passing. You and he and family have been in our prayers since we heard about his illness.
The FAVOURITE SON OF PORT McNICOLL will live on forever in his music which everyone cherishes.He was a wonderful personal friend who will be dearly missed.
If there is anything we can do to help please let us know.
Love
Joe & Judy Tersigni

Bill Edwards said...

Hi Mary Jane.

Prayers are being offered for your family. We all need them at such a time, but giving them has more meaning for us right now. I can't comprehend this, even though I have lost other musician friends in the same manner. I can only thank you for sharing him with us, and God for offering him to the world. Now God and the gang can dance a little more with John joining Bob Darch, Buck Kelly, and so many other great ragtimers.

Thank you for your caring and love for all of us in this time where we should all be caring for you and your family.

With sadness but good memories, Bill Edwards

Bev Duncan said...

Mary Jane,

Jeannie called me this morning. It was the phone call that I was dreading.

A beautiful part of my life, the honour of knowing John, of watching him always raise the bar from that humble wonderful beginning in that little confectionary that Mark Bell so accurately described, to the heights he rose can only be described as inspirational.

The phrase, “the day the music stopped” has taken on a completely new meaning to me, and likely to all the people that were touched by John’s talent.

I have advised my mom, she is deeply saddened.

As John so beautifully interpreted Vera Lynn’s great wartime ballad, “we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but….”



Bev Duncan

Carrie Loring said...

So terribly saddened by the news of the passing of John, musician and man extraordinaire!

How thankful I am for having had the chance to work with him for so many years on The Polka Dot Door. Every minute was a pleasure.

I hold his family in my heart.
May his music live on in us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary Jane & family,
Wally and I have held you and John in our thoughts and prayers for many weeks. We shall continue to pray for you with the knowledge that the good Lord provides strength and comfort in those trying times.
John will be remembered throughout the world by the people who have listened to his remarkable playing.
Thank heaven for his CD's.
Love,
Wally & Glady

Hal Krueger said...

Dear Mary Jane and Family,

We here on Earth have lost a giant of a man and a great musician. I came to know John and his music through his performances at various festivals. He was always "world-class", not only in performing, but as a gentleman, a humanitarian and a dear friend.

John will be sorely missed at our West Coast Ragtime Festival next week where he was to perform as a featured headliner.

I find solace in believing John has now been lifted on the Wings of Angels to that Great Orchestra in the Heavens where he will join many of his musician friends and admirers.

Your sharing of this experience is most appreciated. God Bless You!

Hal Krueger
West Coast Ragtime Society

Bren said...

Dear Mary Jane...

I just wanted to let you know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers... It is so difficult to lose someone we love but you have shared with us such wonderful memories, that we cannot but help feel his spirit live on...

My deepest sympathies to you and to your family...

Bren McKeachnie (Pope)

Anonymous said...

Mary Jane,
We feel so sad tonight, learning of John's passing. Peter and I wish we were in Toronto, tonight, to be of some support and comfort, no matter how small. And we worry about you, Mary-Jane, and we wonder what we can do to help. We will be in touch soon.
With love from Winnipeg,
Anne-Marie, Peter, and the kids

anne-marie dooner said...

Mary Jane,
We feel so sad tonight, learning of John's passing. Peter and I wish we were in Toronto, tonight, to be of some support and comfort, no matter how small. And we worry about you, Mary-Jane, and we wonder what we can do to help. We will be in touch soon.
With love from Winnipeg,
Anne-Marie, Peter, and the kids

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary Jane,

I always thought I would see John again before departing this earth. We were affected by his great humility and humanity, and of course musicianship. This week when I go to play at the festival in Sacramento I will be proud to say that I knew John, albeit breifly.

Frank French said...

Dear Mary Jane,

I always thought I would see John again before departing this earth. We were affected by his great humility and humanity, and of course musicianship. This week when I go to play at the festival in Sacramento I will be proud to say that I knew John, albeit breifly.

Frank French

Anonymous said...

It does not matter when you have time to read this MJ but I wanted you to know that I had to take a couple of minutes of silence when I heard of John's passing--to collect my thoughts and reflect on the kindness and warmth John brought to my life. I did not have a chance to know him as much as other close friends but what I will always remember was his big smiles and hugs and his ability to always give me a wonderful compliment that totally lifted my spirits. I will miss him telling me how beautiful I look or how he loved the colour of my hair etc. I guess I always had a "good feeling" when I had been in his company. He will not be forgotten and his beautiful music will live on in many of us---for the rest of our lives. My warmest thoughts and prayers are with you and the family and friends. I will see you soon.
Paola Ardiles

Paola said...

It does not matter when you have time to read this MJ but I wanted you to know that I had to take a couple of minutes of silence when I heard of John's passing--to collect my thoughts and reflect on the kindness and warmth John brought to my life. I did not have a chance to know him as much as other close friends but what I will always remember was his big smiles and hugs and his ability to always give me a wonderful compliment that totally lifted my spirits. I will miss him telling me how beautiful I look or how he loved the colour of my hair etc. I guess I always had a "good feeling" when I had been in his company. He will not be forgotten and his beautiful music will live on in many of us---for the rest of our lives. My warmest thoughts and prayers are with you and the family and friends. I will see you soon.
Paola Ardiles

Anonymous said...

It does not matter when you have time to read this MJ but I wanted you to know that I had to take a couple of minutes of silence when I heard of John's passing--to collect my thoughts and reflect on the kindness and warmth John brought to my life. I did not have a chance to know him as much as other close friends but what I will always remember was his big smiles and hugs and his ability to always give me a wonderful compliment that totally lifted my spirits. I will miss him telling me how beautiful I look or how he loved the colour of my hair etc. I guess I always had a "good feeling" when I had been in his company. He will not be forgotten and his beautiful music will live on in many of us---for the rest of our lives. My warmest thoughts and prayers are with you and the family and friends. I will see you soon.
Paola Ardiles

Paola said...

It does not matter when you have time to read this MJ but I wanted you to know that I had to take a couple of minutes of silence when I heard of John's passing--to collect my thoughts and reflect on the kindness and warmth John brought to my life. I did not have a chance to know him as much as other close friends but what I will always remember was his big smiles and hugs and his ability to always give me a wonderful compliment that totally lifted my spirits. I will miss him telling me how beautiful I look or how he loved the colour of my hair etc. I guess I always had a "good feeling" when I had been in his company. He will not be forgotten and his beautiful music will live on in many of us---for the rest of our lives. My warmest thoughts and prayers are with you and the family and friends. I will see you soon.
Paola Ardiles

Frances Aknai said...

Dear Mary Jane,
I am so sorry to hear of John's dead from good friends, Peter and Muriel.

How well I remember John playing almost non-stop for Mother & Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary (Pollick) and again for Mother's 70th Birthday.

I still enjoy listening to John's CDs since moving to Victoria, B.C.

Please accept my sincere sympathy in your loss.

Frances Aknai

grant and sharon said...

Sharon & Grant (Neighbours)
Our fondest memory of John goes back to when he and Mary Jane first moved onto Pembroke Street across from our home. They invited all their new neighbours to their house. It was quite a collection of characters, people from all walks of life and many parts of the globe. John sat at the piano and offered to play a folk song for each guest from their country of origin. Of course we expected the Canadian and English and French songs from his repertoire but as usual John had a trick up his sleeve. When he found out one guest was from Egypt and another from Hungary he managed, from memory, to play each a song from their homeland. There was not a dry eye in the house.

Jenn said...

Dear Mary Jane and family,

Your blog caught my eyes when I was looking for something. Reading your entry made me very sad. My MIL passed away on the same day 11 years ago.

My deepest sympathy to you and all family members. May his soul rest in peace.

Jenn of the Netherlands