Hundreds gathered to celebrate the life of Langara’s first Dean of Continuing Studies, Doug Soo, at the Britannia Community Services Centre on Feb. 22.
Soo passed away on Jan. 12, 2014 at the age of 65 during his regular Sunday hike on Grouse Mountain.
He received one of Langara’s first Emeritus awards in 2013 for making Langara’s continuing studies department one of the largest and most successful providers of adult education in the province.
Gemma Oropesa was Soo’s administrative assistant during the years he spent as dean at Langara from 1997 to 2012. She described him as an understanding boss, a friend and a mentor.
“Every time he’d walk in the office, every morning he’d greet you, and there would be humour all the time,” Oropesa said.
He gave valuable lessons
Instead of a eulogy, a video of Soo’s Langara convocation speech from 2012 was played at the six-hour long memorial. In it, Soo stressed the importance of appreciating the now, living in the present and greeting and enjoying each other to enable us to better work together and address complex issues.
“When you get a group of people together, something magical occurs,” Soo said in his speech. “Energy, creativity [and] enjoyment are magnified. … Change occurs.”
Remembered for his volunteering
Soo was a prominent community-builder. He gave back to the Boys & Girls Club of South Coast B.C., an organization for at-risk youth that mentored him growing up. He served on the board of the Canadian Cancer Society and was named an honorary life member of the Association for Community Education in BC in 1994.
Soo is remembered not only as an intelligent, caring and funny man, but also by the eccentric ties he would wear. A flashing red bowtie was his trademark at Langara.
“I fed him, but I didn’t dress him,” Penny Soo, his wife, joked in her memorial speech.
Reported by Megan Bobetsis