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Obituary: Sandor Alex Pap

Born in Szakoly, a small farming village in eastern Hungary in Europe on March  4, 1938, passed away peacefully March 23, 2024 in Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada. He was predeceased by his wife Betty-Anne, a brother Ferenc and Feranc's son, also named Feranc. Istvan, another brother, also predeceased Alex. He is survived by two sons Gregory - Attila (Demi), and Robert (Monique), his niece Julianna, the daughter of his deceased brother Ferenc, four grandchildren, Caroline, Istvan, Caleb, and Mackenzie. Alex is also survived by his sister Julianna Elek and her two sons Miklos and Latci, and his brother Samuel and his sons Latci and Samuel.

In Canada he was known as Alex by everyone who loved him. Alex attended primary school and an an agricultural college at the age of 16. Attending college gave him a lifelong appreciation for learning and any and all things about gardening. His formal education in Hungary was cut short at the age of 17 due to his participation in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution which was crushed by the Russians. Thousands of other Hungarians fearing persecution by the Soviet authorities also became refugees. Alex entered Austria on Christmas Day 1956. For Alex, Christmas Day was always an extraordinarily special day. It was his first day of democracy. He “was a free man.”

Canada was the first country to offer Alex an opportunity to immigrate. He arrived in Ontario, Canada in 1957 sponsored by the Canadian Government which gave him five dollars.

Alex's first job in Canada was as an underground nickel ore miner. As a new immigrant it was very difficult for him to find employment. At his first job his supervisor handed him a shovel and pointed at the recently blasted boulders of rock (ore), then pointed at a wheeled cart to carry the ore to the surface, half a mile above. He did this for six months. Fortunately, the cart was on a railroad track.  

Dad moved to Yellowknife, North West Territories to continue his career as a miner. While working in Yellowknife he met a young lady, Elizabeth Anne Rose Hourigan, 'Rosie'. He invited Betty-Anne to a community ballroom dance where a temporary sign outside the dance hall read, “No minors.”  Because Alex was a “miner,” this caused him confusion. Rosie quickly explained how English can be confusing.  

Alex and Betty Anne were married March 31, 1964 in Edmonton, Alberta. They were married for 60 years. Betty Anne passed away September 9, 2023. They moved to British Columbia eventually settling in Sooke for the three decades. Alex and Betty Anne had two children, Gregory and Robert, who grew up in Sooke. Alex volunteered as the Scout Leader when no one else wanted to take it on the position so that his sons could continue with Scouting. In doing so he influenced at least two hundred young men and boys in a positive manner.

Alex changed job from various mines and other construction sites depending on employment opportunities. In 1974 Alex changed trades and became a welder/fabricator. In 1990 he was transferred to Sechelt, BC where he lived for the next three decades.  Dad was a proud member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 for 50 years. Alex became an extremely proud Canadian in 1963.

Alex loved playing and watching European football (soccer). He loved reading, amassing a 500+ personal library that contained topics from fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, history, economics, Dickens, Orwell, Stevenson, Chomsky, and the Bible. He was also a lifelong Chess player. 

Alex requested that there be no service or ceremony.