Joseph Drblik passed away peacefully with family by his side on September 7, 2017 at St. Anne’s Hospital in St. Anne de Bellevue. He was predeceased a year ago by his dearest wife Anne, whose loss he felt very deeply. Joseph leaves to mourn his cherished daughters Joanne (Alan Montrichard), Katherine (Gary Tombs), Susan (Bernard Costello) and Anna, his grandchildren Ginny, Derek and Charlotte, and great-grandsons Tristan and Dylan. The eldest son of Angela and Joseph Drblik, he was also predeceased by his sisters Mary and Helen, and survived by his sister Anne, his brother John, and a large extended family of nieces and nephews, who were all very dear to him.
Joseph’s family immigrated to Canada when he was a young boy, becoming part of the close Slovak community in Montreal. They worked hard, as so many did, during tough times to make a new life in their adopted country. During WWII, he served as a Warrant Officer, assigned to the RAF 311 Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron, Coastal Command, and later with the RCAF. He was proud of his service and was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion.
He and Anne were married soon after Joseph returned to Canada, and they started a family soon after. They were creative, hardworking, and frugal, always aspiring to make something of their lives and live with purpose. They both had a love of the arts, and his talents for singing and acting led Joseph to the stage. He started out as master of ceremonies at many a Slovak cultural event at Jesu Hall in Montreal and picnics in the Laurentians, where his renditions of folk songs and religious music from the old country could bring many a tear. He later joined the Montreal Repertory Theatre, acting in productions of The Merchant of Venice, The Cherry Orchard, The Good Woman of Setzuan, and many others.
Many happy summer hours were spent with his family driving the long road to Stratford, Ontario to share with them his love of theatre and the magic of a wonderful production of Shakespeare. He was always exuberant about the music he loved, playing classical LP’s on the stereo on weekends at a volume that filled and sometimes overflowed the house with the symphonies of Beethoven, Sibelius, Dvorak. The New World Symphony was one of his favorites, with its tender Slavonic pastoral melodies and stormy, brooding passages.
Being blessed with four daughters didn’t stop Joseph from outings with his girls to the Montreal Forum for hockey, or to Jarry Park for an Expos ball game. He was an avid golfer, and because he believed so strongly that “anything worth doing is worth doing well”, an afternoon on the course with dad was usually more of a course on golf, with many admonitions to perfection of form. And he let both his daughters and later his grandchildren know that he believed in their talents and potential to achieve whatever they set out to accomplish in life, taking pride in and encouraging their best efforts.
His family is extremely grateful for the kindness and wonderful loving care Joseph received from the staff of 3A in the Remembrance Pavilion at St. Anne’s Hospital during his last year. And while he had a welcoming smile for all of the staff who crossed his path, he had a special twinkle in his eye for his regular nurse Denyse Paiement, whose attentiveness and tenacity provided both he and his family with so much support. His time there also gave him the chance to reconnect with his love of singing and music, with his faith, and with his brother John, always there for him through thick and thin.
We also want to thank the staff at the hospital for the act of compassion which allowed Joseph and his wife Anne to be together at St. Anne’s at the end of her life. It was a great comfort to them both, and to all of us who loved them.
A private service for family and friends will be held at 10:30 on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at Belvedere Funeral Complex, 22025 Route Transcanadienne, Senneville, QC. 514-457-4440
Donations may be made in his name to the St. Anne’s Hospital Foundation in support of Canada’s veterans.