Hermano Pontes, beloved husband of Mary Pontes of Calgary, passed away at the Rockyview General Hospital on Saturday, August 14, 2004 at the age of 83 years.
Hermano Costa Pontes was born in the town of Fenais da Luz, on the island of SÒo Miguel, Azores, Portugal, on November 10, 1920. The eldest of eight children, he began tending the dairy farm owned by his father, Manuel, as young as four years old. He was recruited by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and immigrated to Canada in 1957, part of a wave of Portuguese labourers who energized Canadian communities from Montreal to Kitimat during the fifties. He worked on track maintenance crews in several locations in British Columbia and Alberta before returning to Fenais da Luz in 1959. He married Aurelia Maria Viveiros Rego in the same town on February 21, 1960. They settled in Calgary in October of the same year. Three children were born to them: Herman Rego in 1962, William Manuel Rego in 1963, and Aurelia Rego in 1965.
Hard work, thrift and a prosperous economy saw the family move from the inner city to the suburbs and finally to an acreage south of Calgary. Hermano’s early attachment to the land never ceased, and in building his acreage estate and pursuing his agricultural interests he achieved a life-long goal. He would get up about 4 a.m. to milk the cows before going to work. He preferred to spend the long summer evenings out in his ever-expanding garden, where there was always something to weed, water or pick. By the time he resumed his farming career he had sponsored the immigration of two members of his wife’s family and fifteen of his own.
In 1985 he retired from CPR after more than twenty-eight years of service. The pleasures of his retirement were diminished when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent a series of painful radiation treatments but persevered and eventually beat the disease. Later he said that he had only asked God for two things: one was to come to Canada, the other was to survive cancer. He was granted both.
His reprieve allowed him to watch all his children graduate from university and obtain post-graduate credentials, though the pleasure of watching their successes was tempered by their increasing distance from home.
Hermano continued to work his vegetables while Aurelia Maria cultivated the trees and flowers on their acreage. In the same week as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he was hospitalized for shortness of breath, an ailment which was diagnosed as congestive heart failure. His physicians characterized his condition as “end-stage” and did not give him much chance of leaving the hospital. Despite this he made a remarkable recovery, and took up residence in Father Lacombe Nursing Home in October of the same year. This was a time of great changes in his life. He missed his wife and had to adjust to roommates and new routines. But as he got to know the people of the Father Lacombe community he began to appreciate his new lease on life. He attended Mass daily in the Chapel and spent long periods in reflection.
Shortly after 8 a.m. on August 14, 2004, Hermano ceased to struggle against a growing series of physical ailments. A couple of days earlier he thanked his wife for all she had done for him. The previous day he had said that he wanted everyone to know how content he was with his family, which now includes a grandson, William Anton Kalovec, son of his daughter Aurelia and her husband Martin.
Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Fish Creek Chapel (14441 Bannister Road S.E.) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 at 7:30 P.M. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (1414 Shawnessy Boulevard S.W.) on Friday, August 20, 2004 at 11:00 A.M. with the Rev. Patrick Cramer, Presider. Graveside Service to follow at Okotoks Cemetery. To forward condolences go to www.mcinnisandholloway.com.
In living memory of Hermano Pontes, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E., CALGARY, TELEPHONE: (403) 256-9575.Print This Obituary & Condolences