Family, friends, and fellow politicians remembered the late Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa on Friday at a celebration of life service at Christian Life Assembly church.
Mark’s wife Diane spoke about her husband’s love of music and practical jokes, about his advocacy for life issues, and about his kindness, even to the extent that while in the hospital being treated for cancer, he asked his doctor if she was working too much.
“He was more concerned about me and the kids and the grandkids, than that he wouldn’t be here for us,” Diane said.
Warawa served as Langley’s Conservative MP for 15 years, before he died of pancreatic cancer on June 20.
He had a long career as a businessman, ICBC manager, and city councillor in Abbotsford, all while raising five children with his wife.
Diane shared stories of their family life, ranging from minor pranks to the frightening moment when their son fell and struck his head on concrete, and had to be rushed to the hospital.
The large Canadian flag hung behind the stage had been given to the Warawa family by the Canadian government, Diane noted. It was the flag flying from Ottawa’s Peace Tower the day Mark Warawa passed away.
READ MORE: Community bids adieu to Mark Warawa
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer spoke about how Warawa’s love for his family and how he made his fellow Parliamentarians feel like their sojourns in Ottawa were more home-like.
“He was always such a warm and kind figure in our political family,” said Scheer.
He was respectful to his opponents but firm in his beliefs.
“He fought for causes that were important to him, and he never compromised his principles,” Scheer said.
He taught his children to follow their dreams, said his son Jonathan, who went on to get a PhD and become a university professor.
The only regret his children had was that they had not had the chance to spend more time with him while he was alive.
Longtime friend Arne Olson, who met Warawa on their first day at what was then Trinity Junior College, now TWU, told of Warawa’s first experience hang gliding.
Warawa overshot the landing zone, narrowly missed a barbed wire fence, and landed perfectly in the middle of a herd of startled cattle.
Warawa himself spoke via video, taken by Diane while he was in the hospital shortly after his diagnosis.
He mentioned the first time he was close to death. When he was 18 months old, a driver in a 1947 DeSoto ran over his chest at a park in White Rock.
“That was my earliest recollection, having wires hooked up to me to check me out,” Warawa said.
He concluded the video by telling his family to place their trust in God.