OBITUARY

Raul Escobar Fernandez

10 October, 19534 January, 2021
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Writer, artist, photographer, philosopher, and nature lover, Raul embraced life and all it had to offer with unbridled enthusiasm. Born in the central Mexican town of Celaya, Raul spent his formative years in Chihuahua, Mexico close to the U.S. border before moving as a teenager to Mexico City. He immigrated to Canada in 2002 and became a proud Canadian citizen in 2013. He is survived by his wife Monica Gutschi and his daughters Sofia and Alicia Escobar, all of Toronto; daughter Ofelia Escobar Lezama and partner Sergio Olvera Flores; son Ricardo Escobar Lezama and partner Angelica Mijangos; his mother Bertha Mercedes Fernandez Perez, sisters Laura and Sylvia (Ramon Orozco), brother Roberto (Georgina Puig-Amarillas); grandchildren Hector Alejandro and Camila Isabel, all of Mexico; plus a huge extended family throughout Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and Europe. He is predeceased by his father Raul Escobar Aguayo and his sister Bertha Escobar Fernandez.

As comfortable in the opera house as at the soccer stadium, Raul was an autodidact who enjoyed discussing politics, literature, art theory, music, sports, and comparative religions, just to name a few of his interests. He found beauty in the smallest details, and often took a photographic record. He straddled both the Mexican and Canadian cultures with ease: introducing Canadians to his famous huevos rancheros and serenading the neighborhood, or taking Mexican visitors to Niagara Falls, the Bruce Peninsula and other sights. Among his favorite activities was attending the English Conversation Circle created by his ESL teacher as he enjoyed meeting people from all the world’s cultures around the table at Occasions restaurant.

Raul studied economics at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, but had an eclectic career that included stints as a loans officer for a government financing agency, an analyst for the government security agency, and as head of the taxi licensing department for Mexico City. In Canada his lack of English skills limited his possibilities, and he labored in various industries: packaging, cement, and food production. He made friends everywhere.

Raul fue un rebelde genuino, un ente libre, comunista por convicción, amante de la fotografía, la música, el cine, pero sobre todo la lectura. Le gustaba conocer gente de cualquier lugar y se adaptaba para platicar con cualquier persona.

Vivió orgulloso de sus cuatro hijos y finalmente de sus dos nietos. Su sabiduría y enseñanzas quedarán guardados en sus corazones.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Canadian Mental Health Association or any group that supports the Grey Wolf, such as the International Wolf Centre.

Services

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Memories

Raul Escobar Fernandez

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ANITA SNOW

31 January 2021

Dear Monica, Sofia and Alicia,
My thoughts have been with all of you these last few weeks and I know that the departure of your husband and father from this life as we know it has left a huge hole in your hearts.
Raul was a wonderful man and I enjoyed him immensely during our chats long ago in Mexico, later in Canada during a trip for Monica's birthday and occasionally on FB private messenger.
Much love to you all,
Anita

Augusta Dwyer Porter

26 January 2021

Para Raul, de Luis:
Dejemos que la vida corra y se derrame, como el agua que vaya adonde quiera ir, al jardín o donde el sol, el viento, o el vapor la lleven. La vida se va como un río, pero no se pierde. Se convierte en nube, en lluvia, y a veces también en lágrimas.

Kailee Cripton-Eser

26 January 2021

To a family that became my family -

I spent many weekends in your home. For two years straight, it feels like I was there every single weekend. 70% of the reason, was because Sofia is a best friend of mine - the remaining 30% was solely based on the fact that I knew Raul would be making huevos rancheros in the morning. A meal that stuck with me for so long, I found myself trying to recreate it to the best of my ability years after. The memories of a round table, in the old kitchen, filled with plates, bowls and cups, surrounded by Raul, Monica, Sofia and Alice. Laughter, joking, eating together as a family. Something so minuscule as eating as a family with yours, was something I had and still have so much gratitude for. In so many ways without knowing it, Raul and Monica, who cooked breakfasts and lunches and dinners, then served it on that old round wooden table, did so much for me. I saw true essence of unconditional love and how a parent should care for their children, and I felt loved when I needed it, by your family. I am so lucky to have been loved by Raul like I was his own. Thank you Raul, for everything. Thank you, Monica, Sofia and Alice, for welcoming me into your home. For letting me be a part of your family. My love, loyalty and care will always be here for you, when you need it. I am eternally grateful - and I know Raul can smell the sweetgrass from wherever he is.

Don Curren

24 January 2021

Many years ago, when Monica and I worked at Dow Jones and shared a cubicle wall, she brought in a story Raul had written for an English class for me to take a look at.
I wasn’t quite sure why, so I thought “I’ll give it quick proof-read and mark any grammatical or spelling errors.”
As I read it, I was impressed with the quality of the story telling and its emotional sincerity. I quickly came to the conclusion that Raul was a sensitive, intelligent and perceptive human being with a knack for telling a story in any language, and was possessed of admirable honesty and candor.
Listening to the eloquent eulogies from Monica, Sofia and Alicia last Saturday remined of that story I read so many years ago, and reaffirmed my belief that Raul was a remarkable, courageous man who loved life deeply, lived joyfully, and struggled bravely with a lifelong affliction.
May your many wonderful memories of him comfort you at this time of sorrow - and as you feel his absence in your lives in the years to come.


Adriana Touron

18 January 2021


I met Raúl in English classes in Toronto back in 2005. It was not difficult to discover the wonderful person behind his English with a Mexican accent. Always ready to help and devoted to his friends and family, I remember his unhurried talk and the pride he felt for his family, with whom I also had the pleasure of sharing dinners, superbowls, talks and coffees.
I send a big hug to Mónica, Sofía, Alicia, Ricardo and Ofelia.
We will see you again amigo!

Conocí a Raúl en las clases de inglés en Toronto allá por el año 2005. No fue difícil descubrir a la maravillosa persona que había detrás de su inglés con acento a mexicano. Siempre dispuesto a ayudar y fiel a sus amigos y a su familia , recuerdo su hablar pausado y el orgullo que sentía por su familia, con quienes también tuve el placer de compartir cenas, superbowls, charlas y cafés.
Le envío un abrazo fuerte a Mónica, Sofía, Alicia, Ricardo y Ofelia.
¡Nos volveremos a ver amigo!

Martha Forgrave

17 January 2021

Monica, Sofia and Alicia, my heart is with you.
I am lucky to have had many fun dinners at your home, delicious cooking by Monica and always beautiful music that Raul would choose just for that time. He had a way about choosing just the right piece, that I was always enquiring who the artist was and what was the name of the song. His brown eyes would be sparkling as he told me the musicians name and perhaps something about them or where he discovered them, and I will always cherish the fun and happy memories of wine, music and family dinners we shared.

Serena Marcelle

16 January 2021

As a friend of Sofia's I had the pleasure of meeting Raul upon a visit of his to Sofia in Ottawa. We enjoyed breakfast and he encouraged my limited Spanish speaking skills. As I shared with him my program of study Global and International studies he happily shared many stories about Mexico and we discussed world politics.

To Sofia, Alice, Monica and Raul's entire family, my family and I share our deepest condolences for your loss.

Ofelia Escobar

16 January 2021

Mi papá es y será siempre el hombre que más admiro, por su inteligencia, por ser tan culto, por su pasión política, por su rebelde corazón, su gusto musical, su talento culinario, su sensibilidad, su carácter amistoso, su amor por México. Hoy lo admiro más al saber que tanta gente lo apreciaba.
Vivió en Canadá extrañando México y en cada visita a México presumía a Canadá. Me hizo amar un país que no era el mío.

Monica, gracias por compartir tu vida con él y por amarlo tanto. We are still family.

Hermanos; Ricardo, Sofía y Alicia, siempre estaré para ustedes.

Papi, estoy inmensamente orgullosa de ser tu hija, tu primogénita. Gracias por todo. Y aunque el hueco en mi corazón se quede, mis recuerdos felices y mi amor por ti siempre serán más grandes. Gracias por amar a mis hijos. Gracias por aparecer en mi sueño y decirme que estás bien.
Adiós papi, adiós hombre lobo.

Jennifer Morrison

16 January 2021

I was delighted to meet Raul when Monica and I reconnected after many years. He was a lovely man and I won't forget him - the music, the dance parties, long games of Mexican Train... And I'm sure I'll never have huervos rancheros again without thinking "these are not nearly as good as Raul's."

Monica, Sofia and Alicia, I hope the memories of your wonderful partner/dad Will bring you comfort over time. Thinking of all of you with love.

Karen Teeple

16 January 2021

I, along with so many others, am deeply saddened about losing Raul. He was such an integral part of the Glebeholme neighbourhood – full of life and passionate about life. He made the community a better place. At the start of the pandemic, he was a major force in rallying the neighbours to bang pots in support of frontline workers including the 7 am. shift to support the garbage workers as well. More broadly, Raul brought his Mexican culture to all who knew him and we were the lucky beneficiaries of his enthusiasm for introducing us to Mexican music, food, art and politics. He had an enquiring mind and never shied away from a political discussion. He was always informed and strongly principled in his positions – a rare trait! As both a friend and neighbor, I will miss our days chatting and laughing in our backyards and evenings on the back deck with good food, drink and conversation. His warmth, humour, integrity and compassion were a constant in his life, and showed his resilience despite the challenges that come with living in a different culture later in life. Although he is no longer with us, his indomitable spirit will remain with us.

Monica, Sofia and Alice – we all share and feel your loss.

With much love,
Karen

FROM THE FAMILY

Gracias a la vida

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FROM THE FAMILY
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As Daniel Boone

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