Raul Escobar Fernandez

October 10, 1953January 4, 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.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Raul Escobar Fernandez

have a memory or condolence to add?

Don Curren

January 24, 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

January 18, 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

January 17, 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

January 16, 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

January 16, 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

January 16, 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

January 16, 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,

Joy Crysdale

January 16, 2021

The way I knew Raul best was through Monica’s love for him. Monica and I are skiing buddies, and on the way to the ski hills or on the way home, she spoke of her family, and told us about Raul...everyday things, and couple things, and special things, like their wedding anniversary trip. Each story created a portrait of her love for him, and his for her.
When I did meet Raul, once playing the famous Mexican train game, other times at the beginning and end of ski adventures, I immediately liked the kindness and intelligence and fun I saw in him, and how he cared about other people.
To Monica, Sophia and Alice, my heartfelt condolences for your loss. Your friends and family are with you.
With love,
Joy Crysdale

Momoye Sugiman

January 16, 2021

My deepest sympathy to Raul's beloved family. My heart is with you. I met Raul in 2004 when he was a student at the ESL school where I used to teach. Although he was never my student, he would often visit my classroom during breaks to chat with my Mexican students. Many years later, he returned to the school to brush up on his English. By then, I had semi-retired, but I supply taught his class occasionally. I was thrilled to reconnect with Raul. The last time I spoke with him was early last March. I promised him that I would swing by his classroom in April to give him a copy of the Jones Anthology of 2004 containing an evocative short story he had written--but then came the nightmare of the pandemic. I will always remember Raul fondly through his sensitive writing and warm smile. I could sense the depth of his humanity in his eyes and voice. I regret that I never got a chance to give him his published writing. He said he would look forward to receiving it....I still have it waiting in an envelope for him. Oh, how I wish that he had been a student in my class. I would've helped him nurture his writing in English. Obviously, he was a highly intelligent man with deep thoughts and emotions. I imagine that writing and photography were powerful outlets for him....May he rest in peace. May you be comforted by your beautiful memories of Raul: a man with a beautiful soul.

Rodrigo Escandon

January 15, 2021

Querido Tío Raúl. Me acuerdo muchísimo cuando pasaste un tiempo con nosotros en Los Ángeles en 1993.

¿Y porque me acuerdo de esto tan bien?

Estábamos juntos viendo el partido de los Kings vs Maple Leafs cuando Gretzky anoto en OT para ganar el juego. Siempre estabas tomando fotos y tomaste una foto de esa jugada. Cuando revelaste las fotos escribiste mensajitos en la parte de atrás y en esa foto pusiste “¿Te acuerdas del marcador? Anótalo.” Y si lo anote. Kings 5 Maple Leafs 4.

Gracias por este recuerdo de muchos que pasamos juntos.


Gracias a la vida


As Daniel Boone