Dorothy Margaret Farooque (née Purves) left us quite suddenly at the age of 84 after a swift and unsparing illness. She fought hard but departed this life on September 16, 2021 with both of her children by her side. She is preceded in death by her husband, Farooque. She will be desperately missed by her children Lara Korba and Ian Farooque and her grandchildren, Charlotte and Liam Korba.
Born in Preston, Lancashire, UK on October 24, 1936, she lived a life that was the stuff of great novels. Daring and fierce, she challenged norms and was well ahead of her time with her independence and her outlook on life.
Born just before WWII, Mum carried a gas mask to school as a little girl and lived through bombings and rations as German U-boats cut off supplies to England. It left her with a wise frugality, the knowledge that she could handle anything, and an appreciation for the fragility of life, underscored by the death of her husband at a young age. She learned and leaned on her Anglican faith throughout.
Mum met Dad in a London jazz club in the early 1960s and fell deeply in love as evidenced by the tenderness and passion in their love letters. This young, English woman travelled to Uganda by herself and married Dad in Kampala, despite the enormous challenges facing them as a couple from different backgrounds and religions. They chose Canada to raise their children and emigrated here in 1965.
Dad died at age 43, leaving her a young widow and raising two children alone in a country with no family. She loved fiercely and nurtured us with indescribable self-sacrifice, kindness, wisdom, and enormous but quiet strength.
Her commitment to helping others began with her teaching career. Mum was a proud alumna of the Park School and Ripon College in England and a proud alumna of the University of Toronto where she finished her Honours BA in 1988 whilst working and raising two kids solo. A diligent student, I can still see her at the dining room table where she studied every night. I would call her before my university exams to hear her sage advice: “Calm, collected, cool, precise, and read your question over twice.”
She taught children for nearly 40 years in England, Uganda, and Canada, and by age 25 was already a Deputy Headmistress. Most of her career was spent teaching English as a Second Language to new Canadian children. They would enter her classroom uncertain of this cold, new land, feeling different and unable to speak the language. By the end of their first year with her, those frightened eyes turned into smiling ones as she not only taught them the common language of their new land but loved and supported them throughout their transition. Many were refugees who would come to school unprepared for cold Canadian winters. They usually ended up with snowsuits and boots from our house. She once got into trouble for buying a child lunch who didn’t have one. It didn’t stop her – she just continued doing it under the radar.
Mum’s instinct for children was illustrated whilst teaching in East London. There was a tough boy who got into so many fights that most teachers found him a challenge. Mum asked to take him and was able to channel his energy in such a constructive way that John Stracey went on to become the welterweight world champion in boxing!
After her retirement she travelled the world solo to India, China, Australia, South America, the Artic, and even Antarctica but it was seeing her grandchildren that brought her real joy. She utterly adored them!
Mum, you will be missed more than words can describe - your voice, your smile, your mischievous laugh, your rapier wit, your phenomenal example of strength and independence, and your unwavering support through all of life’s trials. How will we go on without you, Mum?
We love you always.
A private visitation and funeral service will be held. Due to the restrictions still in place surrounding COVID-19, attendance at the visitation and service is limited; to register, please copy and paste the following link into your browser.