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PREMDAS, Francis H. PhD

1928 – 2012

Dr. Premdas passed away at home, surrounded by family, on September 1, 2012.

Francis was born and raised in San Fernando, Trinidad. After attending Naparima College, he taught in Trinidad and then continued his education in Canada at Mount Allison (BSc), University of New Brunswick (BEd, MSc) and University of Manitoba (PhD). He was a Professor of Biology at UNBSJ for thirty years. In 2000, after his retirement, he moved from Saint John, NB to Calgary, AB. Among his many interests were horticulture, especially orchids, dahlias and rhododendrons, winemaking, and helping to educate others.

He is survived by Ruby (nee Persad) his wife of sixty years, their four children Barbara (John Kelly) of Calgary, AB, Donna (John Woodard) of Ste. Adele, QC, Nancy (Peter Tan) of Stittsville, ON, and Bill (Maureen) of Montreal, QC; one grandchild Alyson Woodard (Shane Lowenberger) of Calgary, AB; and one great-grandchild, Emeric Woodard-Lowenberger.

At Francis’ request there will be a simple cremation and there will be no service. A small private ceremony will be held by the family to celebrate his life. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers, please take a moment to remember your times with Francis. Donations to the Francis H. Premdas Prize in Biology at UNBSJ would be appreciated and can be made online by visiting http://www.unb.ca/donations or by calling 506-458-7821.

In living memory of Professor Premdas, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: (403) 256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Bill,

    I am sorry to hear of your fathers passing. Please accept my sincerest condolances to you and your family at this difficult time.

    Andrew “SJHS Class of 83”

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  2. Dear Nancy,

    Sorry to read about your father’s passing.

    Trish Darrah

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  3. Catherine Morris :

    Dear Ruby & Family: I was saddened to learn of Francis’s passing and send my heartfelt sympathies and condolences. My caring thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. Wilfred and Francis shared the love of orchids, dahlias, rhododendrons and winemaking. The love of plants passed on to Wilfred is very evident in my garden and the beauty lives on. Most sincerely, Catherine and the late Wilfred Morris (February 03,2012).

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  4. Dr. Premdas taught me first year Biology at UNBSJ in 1984 and I never forgot him. I can still hear his voice telling the students to “picture it in your mind’s eye” when memorizing the lessons he attempted to teach us. He was one of the best professors I had, and it is because he cared about what he was doing. He wanted us all to do well. I am very sorry for your loss.

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  5. Gail (KIing) McCavour :

    Dear Ruby and family;
    How well I remember Dr. Premdas. Such an excellent teacher. You may remember myself and Connie Titus, we taught at Saint John Vocational School, and you Ruby use to come to get your hair done in the Beauty Culture Dept. We also took Genetics and Biology from Dr. Premdas, working toward our degrees Also we have been in your home, whilst Dr. Premdas helped Connie and I make Blueberry wine. We often talk about our days in UNBSJ whilst teaching fulltime and working on Degrees. Dr. Premdas was so much an encouragement to us as we struggled along with our Education. Connie and I have both since retired from teaching. I am wondering how we had time to teach. I want you to know Ruby that you will be in our prayers and you have so….. many memories of your life together.
    With Love and Prayers
    Gail

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  6. To Bill & Maureen, and the entire Premdas extended family, we want to extend our sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with you. Chris & Debbie.

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  7. Ruby:

    Sue and I were sorry to read in today’s Telegraph Journal of Francis’ passing.

    As suggeted, I did have some memories to recall. I particularly remember the friendship that developed between Miles Keirstead, my father, Arthur, and Premdas at UNBSJ.

    Our daughter holds a management position at UNBSJ. You would not believe the new buildings added to the campus!!!

    I have made a donation to the Francis H. Premdas Prize in Biology.

    No reply is necessary.

    Thinking of you,

    Dick Harrison

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  8. LaVern & David Kierstead :

    We are so sorry to hear of your father’s passing Barbara. I will always remember how fondly you always spoke of your parents. I also will always remember how kind you were to my mother for her 80th. Our thoughts & prayers are with you, John & all your family at this time.

    David & LaVern Kierstead

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  9. Marilyn Chinnery :

    Dear Ruby and Family
    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of sorrow. Having lost Terry some 18 years ago, I know how you feel. There is an empty hole that can’t be filled.

    I have been in Calgary for 7 years along with Scott and his family. Remember that you are not alone.

    Thinking of you,
    Marilyn Chinnery

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  10. Sincere condolencences.
    Fred Donnelly
    Professor of History (Retired)
    UNB-Saint John

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  11. George and Grace Venkatarangam :

    Dear Ruby, We are very sad to hear about Francis’ departure. He was such a fine gentleman, thoughtful and considerate. we were proud to be his friends. May God give you strength to carry on. You are blessed with loving and caring children. Our heart felt condolences to all. Love
    George and Grace

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  12. Ruth and Charlie Sullivan :

    Dear Ruby, Nancy, Barbara Donna and Bill.
    Was very sad to read of Francis passing. My thought quickly went to wonderful neighbours and great friends and always willing to pass on his knowledge of gardening with me (Ruth)and the card games we played socializing. Thinking of you Ruby and family today.

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  13. Pam Krenzel and Doug Martineau :

    Barbara, John and the entire Premdas family:
    We are so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. May the heartfelt thoughts of your friends bring you comfort, and the many wonderful memories you shared and created with your dad bring you peace. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. xox

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  14. Dear Ruby
    Please accept my condolences. I was sorry to hear of your husband’s passing.
    Sincerely, Joan Shannon

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  15. Tim and Janet Lincoln (Brittain) :

    Dear Ruby and family,
    We were saddened to learn of Francis’ passing.He was a leader in education and a friend to the many students he taught.Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours at this difficult time. If there is anything we can do please let us know.

    Tim (Boodoosingh) and Janet

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  16. Doug and Pam Godsoe :

    Our deepest sympathy to the family.

    Pam (Sabean)Godsoe and Dr. Doug Godsoe, Bronx NY

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  17. Dear Mrs Premdas and family,(especially Barb) I was sorry to hear of Dr Premdas passing. He was one of the fixtures at UNBSJ. He was alwys pleasant and was a pleasure to meet either at work or socially. Please accept my deep condolences.
    Bill Kerr (former Reference Librarian at Ward Chipman Library, UNBSJ )

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  18. You grow Orchids? ” Yes, it is my passion….come see!!” Then he took me into the “Orchid Greenhouse” at UNBSJ, and began to explain how to grow each species. Dr Premdas was a true mentor and teacher of life. He forged my future as a person, and love of biological systems. Although I eventually specialized in human health care, I never lost my appreciation for biology, life, and evolution – even though we only see a tiny snapshot of it during our lifetime. Thank you Dr. Premdas.

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  19. Kathie and Ivan HO and family :

    Dear Ruby and family:
    We were very saddened to hear of Francis’ recent death. We have very fond memories of our get togethers in Rothesay and Saint John. Treasure the wonderful memories of him you all experienced. They will help you through the difficult times. As a former San Fernandian, I am very proud to have known an individual who had such a significant impact on his students. Please accept our sincerest condolences.

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  20. Kirsten (Larsen) Robichaud :

    Dear Mrs. Premdas, William, Nancy, Barbara and Donna:

    Am saddened to read of Dr. Premdas’ passing.

    I feel fortunate that my early childhood memories include having you as neighbours on Hayward Court and attending school with you, William.

    Also felt fortunate when my path crossed with Dr. Premdas’ after Hayward Court. Such a kind gentleman, always making time to talk.

    One of my fondest memories is the day Dr. Premdas and nephews visited my parents’ camp in Belleisle. We sailed and picked berries for wine he planned to make.

    Please accept my condolences and know I am thinking of you.

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  21. Charlene Sullivan :

    Nancy and family; Sincere condolences, please know that you are in my thoughts during this difficult time

    Charlene Sullivan

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  22. Sheila Venkatarangam Jacob :

    To the Premdas family,
    I was sorry to hear that Dr. Premdas passed away. He was an excellent professor and I am grateful for all the encouragement he gave me. My condolences to all of you.
    Sheila

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  23. Signe (Thornhill) Winters :

    Please accept my sincere and heartfelt condolences at the loss of this fine man. Nancy & Bill, I think of you often. You were both superb students and delightful friends. My thoughts are with you.
    Fondly,
    Sigi

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  24. Peter and Lynn Kinsella :

    Dear Ruby
    It was with sadness that we read that Francis had passed away. We enjoyed him from our first meeting at an orchid show here in Saint John more than 25 years ago. That day changed my life. I also remember our last meeting at the Kingston Farmers Market several years ago.
    Be well
    Peter and Lynn Kinsella

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  25. Phil Calon and Barb Robinet :

    Barb:
    So very sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Phil and Barb
    Extreme Restaurant

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  26. Bryan and Joan Scott :

    Barb,
    We’re sorry to hear of your loss. We know how much you loved your “Daddy”. Our heartfelt condolences to you, John and other family members.

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  27. Dear Premdas Family,

    I was sorry to hear of Francis’ passing. I remember him as a very kind man who was both knowledgeable and wise. At Biology departmental meetings he would often listen quietly to the various debates and succinctly come up with an appropriate solution or way forward. His heavy teaching load with large classes did not deter him from thoroughly preparing his lectures each year, running his research programme and contributing to the many committees of the department and campus. I also remember the attention that he gave to his orchids and the small plot of land outside of the city. He was a true Professor in the full sense of the term.

    With best wishes,

    Jack Terhune
    Dept. of Biology (retired)

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  28. David Rawlence Ph.D. Hamilton, New Zealand :

    I was sorry to learn this morning of Francis’s passing. I worked with Francis at UNBSJ for many years. He was one of the finest people it has been my privilege to know.

    To Ruby and the Premdas family, I extend my deepest sympathy.

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  29. One who blooms in the heart can never be forgotten.
    Cherish the memories.
    Love you all,
    Bolo and Fay ( Trinidad )

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  30. I am saddened to hear of Francis’ death. His intelligence and gentleness are what I remember best from those Orchid Society meetings.

    My condolences.

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  31. Dr. Francis Premdas :

    Ruby & Family- please accept our sympathy on the passing of Francis to the higher sphere in life. I knew him for many years and I know he’ll be a great loss to you all.
    May he find eternal rest.
    Hanif & Nita London.

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  32. Stephen and Linda Patterson :

    Dear Ruby, Barbara, Donna, Nancy, and Bill,

    We have just learned of Francis’ passing and are deeply saddened by the news. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy. Linda was in Francis’ first class at UNBSJ, so we know first-hand what a caring, thoughtful teacher he was. But more, you were among our dearest friends, sharing family time and special occasions together. We remember those times with great fondness, and though the years have separated us, we imagine ourselves with you now, to share a hug and to remember a loving husband and father and, for us, a very dear friend and colleague.

    Steve and Linda Patterson

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  33. Dear Ruby, Barbara, Donna, Nancy and Bill:
    I was greatly saddened to learn earlier today of Francis’ passing. Although our paths have not crossed for many years (other than a couple of e-mails exchanged with Barbara concerning Sandy MacPherson) I have wonderful memories of our friendship during grad student days, first with Francis (without family) in LBR around 1960 or ’61. I can remember during that year, Francis, Sandy and I (rather unsuitably clad for mountaineers), struggling to reach the top of Mount Katahdin. Francis was wearing wellington boots and his comment on our return, not surprisingly was: “Mountain climbing is for the birds!”
    Later, after Ruby and youngsters arrived I was able to enjoy Premdas family hospitality and friendship at home.
    I often heard that Francis was an excellent teacher who really cared about his students. An excellent teacher and a fine human being.
    Annette and I hold you in our thoughts.
    Affectionately
    George and Annette Strunz

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  34. Pretima Judy Dass-Ali :

    Mrs Premdas and family,
    Please accept heartfelt condolences on the passing of Dr Premdas on behalf of my mother and sisters. May he rest in peace. We all do lovingly remember you and your wonderful family. We sometimes sit and reminisce about the very happy days spent in your class at Grant School in Trinidad.

    With love from one of your former pupils.
    Pretima Dass

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  35. Hello Bill and Maureen. In trying to find some contact information for you, I came across this. I am so very sorry for your loss. Not exactly the greatest way to reunite. My old phone number is gone and so is my Shaw email account. If anyone reads this and is able to pass my information to Bill or Maureen, please do so. I am their Pet Sitter from Calgary and do need to speak with one or both of them. Thank you and again, condolences to the family.

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  36. LYNETTE PREMDAS :

    Dear Ruby & Family:

    Please accept my Deepest condolences on the passing of Uncle Francis. I was looking for Uncle Titus phone number on the internet and accidentally came
    across the passing of Aunty jean and Uncle Francis.
    The Premdas Family especially Aunty Muriel always spoke highly of both of you to me and my two children at family gatherings. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

    Sincerely,

    Lynette,Declan & Candice Premdas:

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  37. Peter David Premdas Ph.D. :

    Dear Aunt Ruby and Family –
    Kindly accept my condolences on the passing of Uncle Francis. He was something of an inspiration to me and strongly influenced my decision to pursue my doctorate. I was fortunate to have also attended Mt Allison in the early 80s and a number of professors still carried fond memories of him. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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