MENDES de FRANCA, Vincent -
Peacefully on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at Unionville, Ontario after a life very well-lived. Vincent, age 83, was the beloved husband of Rita Mendes de Franca (nee Duarte) for 61 years, the loving father of Susan Mendes de Franca (John Carruthers), Debra Mendes de Franca Poirier (Marc Poirier), Mary Mendes de Franca (Steve Maxwell), Diane Mendes de Franca (John Baldassarra), and Vincent Mendes de Franca (Susan Arthur). He was the caring Grandpa to 16 adoring grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren and a beloved uncle to many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his father Willy, his mother Juliet, and his brother Dennis. He is survived by his sister Maureen and his brother Michael. His warmth, kindness, and smile made him a friend to all.
Born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1937, Vincent completed his high school education at St. Stanislaus College in 1954 and was a proud St. Stan’s Old Boy. After graduation, he began his career in Guyana with the Royal Bank of Canada. After 6 years with Royal Bank, he accepted an offer of employment with Colgate-Palmolive in Guyana. Over the next 20 years, he assumed increasing positions of leadership and responsibility with Colgate-Palmolive in Trinidad, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Brazil. With Rita by his side and caring for a growing family, their adventure together was one of love and happiness, many moves, many homes, and becoming linguistically and culturally fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese. Their lives were enriched by the many close friendships that were nurtured in Latin America which endure to this day.
In 1981, Vincent was given the opportunity to relocate from Brazil to Canada and assume the role of President of Colgate-Palmolive Canada. The move reunited Vincent and Rita with their brothers who had earlier immigrated to Canada. In 1984, Vincent, Rita, and their children became citizens of Canada. Vincent served in his role as President until his retirement in 1993. While he worked hard, Vincent always enjoyed spending time with his family, reading the newspaper, drinking red wine, listening to Julio Iglesias, golfing with friends, and cheering for Brazil in the World Cup.
Blessed with good health, a boyish enthusiasm for anything that was fun, a love of children, and a willingness to offer his help before it was even asked for, he and Rita embarked upon what would become his second and even more successful career, that of Grandpa. He was a babysitter, a chauffeur, a coach, a cook, a golf partner, a listening ear, a highway traveller, a teacher of Guyanese songs, a weekly restaurant host, a supplier of treats, a graduation attendee, a generous benefactor, and a passionate fan of everything that his grandchildren were participating in. Even to the friends of his grandchildren, he was simply known as Grandpa. They will never forget the warm abrazos that he always greeted them with.
A devout Roman Catholic, Vincent was able to attend and enjoy Mass for all but the last year. The faith that he and Rita shared helped them immensely on their journey through life together.
While Vincent faced bravely the debilitating challenges of Alzheimer’s disease over the past 5 years, he never complained. His warm disposition, his joyful laugh, and his love for his wife and family never faded. He leaves a remarkable and enduring legacy in the children that he raised, the leaders that he mentored, the friends that he made, and the memories that he and Rita created.
At this time, the family would like to give special thanks to Vincent’s caregiver, Precy, to Father Rick, and to the team at Amica Unionville for their care during the latter period of Vincent’s life.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private interment will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Thornhill on Friday, January 8, 2021.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Newediuk Funeral Home. Online condolences at newediukfuneralhome.com
Rest in peace, Vincent. You have earned it.