Thursday, July 06, 2006

More about my Dad

This is more or less the eulogy I gave for my Dad, pictured above on 6 June 2006.
My Dad was born in Dukla on Nov 30th in 1926 where he lived a happy normal religious and peaceful life until the late 1930s when things started to go wrong.

In 1939 at the age of 13 it all started to go horribly wrong and he spent the next six years more or less in a variety of concentration camps in Poland, Germany & Czechoslovakia.

He survived. There are many stories. Dad was one of the many 'Boys' interviewed by Martin Gilbert for his book, The Boys.

Eventually Dad was liberated by the Russians in '45 and taken to the UK where he spent time in Windermere adapting to and preparing for British life.

His love for his adopted country was obvious and eternal. He had the wonderful pleasure of meeting the queen twice in as many years very recently.

Sadly his parents and sister were not heard of again and he always believed, with reliable information, that they had perished at the hands of the Nazis.

He remained the sole survivor of his close family with only a sole surviving cousin in Israel. They found each other via an ad his cousin placed in the Jewish Chronicle.

In the UK Dad became a baker and worked hard, walked everywhere and went on cycling and camping trips with friends. He cycled round Britain at least once. Dad had a costume jewellery / haberdashary market stall in all the usual places. He eventually went full time into that business with 2 partners and together turned it into a thriving business with at one point 50+ staff based in East London.

I always remember Dad coming home of an evening enjoying dinner with us, tucking us into bed and watching the news, walking the dog and going to bed. Very comforting.

Dad finally retired in 99/00 and continued to enjoy the family and freemasonry he cherished. Along with his love of football and Arsenal. His boys brought him the usual mix of joy and stress but when his grandson Coby joined him in Nov 05 he lit up.

Sadly Coby's arrival marked the start of his final journey which ended Sunday peacefully with my mum, my brother & I at his side.

Despite all his ills over the last few years Dad did not complain and was comfortable and content for most of the time. The army of people who assisted us and the friends that supported and visited Mum & Dad have a special place in our hearts & family.

Dad retained his sense of humour until his very last few days. I made him laugh (and cry simultaneously of course) in the last fortnight.

Our favourite memories of Dad (and there are so many) include the now famous yabba-dabba-do's at both boys weddings, giving his mother-in-law Asne, who sadly passed away on July 1 2005, a witches broomstick with a red ribbon bow for her 75th and finally, believe it or not, his riding an Ostrich on holiday in South Africa.
Thanks for all your kind words of support. Speak soon.



Teresa said...

One of the greatest men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I type this with a tear in my eye as my thoughts are with you at this sad time. For you Lipa Tepper.....

Some people come into our lives and quickly go,
Some stay for a while and leave footprints in our hearts,
and we are never the same.....

Al, Martin and I as you know have both been through this so if you ever need us you know where we are xxx

NW10 Crew said...

Hey Tepper.

Just checked in and heard about your Dad.

Long Life my friend.

By living thru and surviving those years in the camps, he showed that life was more important than death, and this should be remembered now, in his passing.

Regards to all the family, including your brother...

Namaste. Shanti. Shanti.