Stewart Katz

Stewart Katz

Toronto ON

Stewart was many things to many people; but first and foremost, he was a family man. If there's one thing people knew about my Dad, it was his profound love and pride for his family. My sister, Zoey, brother, Sonny, and I could not be more blessed to have had him as our Dad. He possessed a unique ability to make each of us feel adored and special to him. We are deeply grateful for the precious time we shared with Stewart, and the void left by his absence is indescribable.

Stewart was a big guy, tall and strong, and most definitely known as a “gentle giant”. He was admired for his strength, both physically and mentally. Throughout his life, Stewart was fervently committed to his health and fitness. He was always the first one at the gym every morning. His discipline and determination were evident to anyone who knew him; he faced challenges with resilience, and never took for granted life's simple joys. My Dad most looked forward to homecooked meals shared with our family, time outdoors with my Mom, Liz, his cherished wife of 32 years, and the occasional cold beer in the warm sun during vacations.

Shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, my Dad was diagnosed with an aggressive, atypical presentation of leukemia. It was 2020: we had just celebrated his 58th birthday and my parents' 30th anniversary. Just as he had confronted every other aspect of his life, he bravely and steadfastly approached treatment to achieve remission and resume his normal life. Initial treatments included intensive inpatient chemotherapy and radiation. Stewart earned a reputation as a stellar patient and could often be found walking, circling the wards at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He was fortunate to receive a perfect-match stem cell transplant from his dear brother, Ricky. Through it all, my Dad persevered.

Unfortunately, several months post-transplant, the cancer relapsed necessitating further treatment. The prognosis was grim yet we all clung to hope. Serving as a beacon for our family, Stewart faced each subsequent piece of bad news, striving to maintain a positive outlook, and pressing forward with the mantra, "You have my word; I’ll do whatever it takes to fight for my life”.

Stewart had a huge heart and graciously took care of everything and everyone. With him so used to being in the caretaker role for our family, it was tremendously unnatural for him for that role to slowly become reversed. Each in our own way, my Mom, siblings and I shuffled our commitments, prioritizing our support for our Dad/husband. We rallied around my Dad supporting him and each other in every possible way.

The outcome of our story was our worst nightmare; after a relentless 18-month battle, my Dad passed away on July 11, 2022. His strength, tenacity, and grit during this unimaginably difficult time continue to inspire us as we navigate our next chapters. He was enormously excited to be a fun-loving and spoiling grandparent, and his passing just a few months before his first grandchild was born, is a devastating part of our story. We miss him dearly every day and are committed to upholding and continuing his wonderful legacy. He was, and will always be, our hero.