Shiu Fai Chan was born Jan 22, 1933 to Chan Koo Yerk and Lo Suet Mui, the youngest of seven children, six of whom survived. His three brothers and two sisters loved him, tolerated him, and helped him, mostly. It was from his sisters that he learned to appreciate competent women.
Fai’s father was a doctor, who saw his patients in the family living room. In order to follow him, Fai went to Taiwan, enrolled in the Army Medical School, and learned Mandarin on the job.
After interning, he returned to Hong Kong, and worked on a Dutch cruise ship, travelling to Japan and Southeast Asia. In order to practice in Hong Kong he came to Saskatchewan in 1960 to intern again, and learn English on the job. His family learned that Saskatchewan could be very cold, so he arrived in July with a jacket made of heavy woolen coating material.
He met Elizabeth (Betty) and was married in 1964. He took further training in Saskatoon and Hamilton, passed the exam in Internal Medicine, and worked in the Cancer Clinic in Regina. He started practicing in Port Alberni in 1969.
Fai became the first resident internist at the West Coast General, and the need for an Intensive Care Unit was soon clear, so Fai and the nurses organized classes to train staff. Doctors and nurses learned together. We have a picture of the ninth annual class in 1979.
Fai was a member of Rotary, and the Chinese Canadian Society. He was very active in the Chinese Canadian Society’s fundraising banquets for Scholarships.
Fai took call whenever he was in town, which was more than 300 nights a year, and was noted for turning up at 3 am in suit and tie. When the call got to be too much, he retired, and the Hospital, Nursing and Medical Staffs threw him a party for the century!
Fai and Betty had three children, Ruth, David, and James. He leaves behind Ruth, James, four grandchildren, three great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and greats, and great greats!
Family was very important to Fai. He did not want the next generation to repeat his experience, so he helped his nieces and nephews. For the Chinese side of the family, he brought many to Canada and mentored them. For the Canadian side, he took them clam digging, sailing, swimming, etc.
His dedication to his patients was recognized locally by staff and patients. After retirement he received the B C Senior Medal for service and the Canadian Medical Association for Service.
Fai was a bright happy man who could see humour often, and could laugh at himself or others equally well. He was good to people, but could be tough as well.
Because of COVID, there will not be a formal Funeral Service at this time.
A way to remember him is to smile and help the younger generation. (And since he was 87, almost everyone is the younger generation!)
The family wishes to thank Dr. Puts, the staff at the West Coast General, the Nanaimo Cancer Clinic and the staff at Home and Community Care for all the excellent care.
Anyone wishing to remember Fai through donations may give to these organizations, or to the charity of their choice.
Stories, condolences and messages to the family may be offered at www.chapelofmemories.ca
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