Thursday, August 1, 2019

The passing away of Alex Bekker

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Alex Bekker, who died on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at St.Joseph’s Health Center, surrounded by his wife and children.

For the past 3 months, my father struggled with what he first believed to be a cold or a flu, but then worsened over time. Both myself and his wife frantically pushed him to seek the advice of more doctors, which originally diagnosed it as parotitis, then lung inflammation and then pneumonia. There was a lot of confusion and we couldn't get a right answer about what was going on. His wife begged him to rest and even go on early retirement. However, it wasn’t until the very last days that that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer spread like wildfire through his body, spreading to the liver and bowels and then to the blood within a matter of days. 

It all happened very fast and we are devastated.

My father, Alex, was a quiet and reserved man. I feel privileged that I have been given the chance to know him in his private life and I feel proud to be his daughter. 

To me, Alex was not just a father. He was the light of my life.  He was a teacher and someone I looked up to. 
My father taught me to ride a bike,  the love of reading, how to care for my first dog. He taught me the opening riffs to ’The House of The Rising Sun’ back when the fancy struck me to learn guitar. 

But most importantly,  he taught me to live a life of kindness, value hard work, and emphasized the importance of having a sense of humour. 

Above all, he valued family bonds. Between holiday gatherings, excursions, trips, and weekends spent in the park, between quiet evenings spent arguing about this and that, I, too, learned that close friends, cousins, and family are the fabric of life. 

My father was born and  grew up in the far north - Cape Schmidt - where his mother Clavdia, and his father Leonid, had to often yell at him for coming back home too late, because in the summer months it never got dark. 

He moved to Lugansk for his university studies, and then to Israel on the heels of a revolution.
Israel was a country we all immediately fell in love with. My parents bought a small, but cozy apartment in Rishon Le Zion - translated as ‘The First of Zion.’ In the evenings, with the windows open, we could smell the wine from the historic wine factory nearby. On weekends, he would sit with us, sometimes with his brother, Vova, sometimes with his uncle, Alexey, in the warm evenings, well into the night with cold beer. All evenings were warm in Israel.

The sea was a 20 minute drive from our home. We went there almost every weekend. Sometimes, we’d come during the evening as well and make a bonfire with friends and family gathered around. During the day, it was busy and loud in all the best ways. During the night it was wild and beautiful. Walking together on the soft sand and looking out to the moonlit sea was magical. The fun we had in those evenings, I will never forget. 

In Israel, he had his second child, my brother, Anton - 10 years my junior.

Together, we celebrated all the holidays together. Passover at his uncle’s house and New Years at our place. 

He came to love Israeli music as well, in particular Arik Einstein and Danny Sanderson. We knew the words to some of the songs and sometimes would sing them together. He was a music lover and among his favourites were Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Queen, and Michael Jackson. 

These are my memories of my childhood spent with him.

Israel is not a perfect country. Following a series of security concerns, he decided to move to Canada with his family in 2001. 

Even as an adult, Alex inspired me, although I never told him. Always helpful, he was the first I would come to for advice, big or small. He was always a phone call away. 

When I got my own apartment, and was hosting my first thanksgiving, I picked up the phone to ask even about small silly things: should I untie the chicken before throwing it in the oven? 

Now, I find myself asking, “What would my father do?” 

And even though I can no longer have a ready answer one phone call away, I find my actions to be inspired in a direction that I hope would make him proud. 

Alex, you have given us gifts that are more precious than anything in this world. Your love, your patience, your understanding, and your wisdom will live with us forever.
I speak three languages and in none of them can I find the words to express the depth of my love for you and the pain of the loss. 

Goodbye, father.  You will always live on in my heart.


  1. Примите наши искренние соболезнования Вашему горю. Скорбим. Алекс навсегда в наших сердцах. Королёвы

  2. Мои соболезнования.

  3. On behalf of all his friends from his site please accept our sincerest condolences. You father was a beautiful human being, a gem, we will miss him forever. He wrote me 2 days before his death and told me how sick he was. But I would've never thought it would be the last time I hear from him. I'm very sorry for your loss...

    1. Thank you. He really was the best person.
      I was at the hospital every day, and it was shocking how fast he was going. We all thought we had more time. I talked to him about all sorts of things, but I never said goodbye. It was simply inconceivable to say such a thing.

      We talked of each other's interests all the time, but we didn't participate in each other's online communities at all, so I wasn't sure where to post. I read and speak Russian just fine, but writing is a challenge, seeing as I grew up in Israel and Canada.

      I wish you all the best, and that you eat well and take care of yourselves - tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.

    2. Mari, sweetheart, my heart goes out to you, your brother and your Mom! I can't express how sorry I'm for your loss, for our loss.
      I kind of figured that English would be the easiest language of communication. And I know that you will not find any words in any language to describe your loss and sorrow.
      I'm begging you to take care of yourself first and foremost. You sound like a strong woman. You Dad would be proud of you.
      Please, let me know if there's anything you need, maybe just to talk.
      May God bless you and your beautiful family

  4. Лёша, ты не умер, ты просто уехал далеко. Где мы все когда-то будем. Искренне твой - Трахтор.

  5. Мои искренние соболезнования родным....как обухом по голове...Лично мы не были знакомы - но я учился готовить на рецептах Алексея...Rest in Peace..

  6. I never used to write him but followed all his recipes on many sites starting from Hoolinar,and so on...Got from him my inspiration to cook and he used to be my most favorite coolinary writer...Really miss him...Condolence from the US,RIP,мужик!

  7. Конаццкий, привет!
    25о мелкими глотками....
    Ну ты вкурси..

  8. Канадец, привет.
    Давно к тебе не заходил, видно зря.
    Прими мои соболезнования, конечно поздно, но это лучше, чем никогда.

  9. Случайно попал на ваш сайт по запросу "Ковбойская фасоль", изумился многочисленным годным рецептам, и листая страницы узнал о кончине автора. Вы правы, что сохраняете творение вашего отца. Пусть и дальше сайт существует. До слез... Светлая память этому хорошему человеку...

  10. My sincere condolences, I've learned so much about cooking from Alex's blog and it was a real hit when I knew about his death. He's still in our memories

  11. Привет, камрад. Ты не забыт. Светлая память. С приветом из Одессы.

  12. С Днём Рождения, незабвенный ДРУГ мой! Память о тебе храню бережно. R.I.P. Алексей, ТАМ увидимся!
    АНТА-Александр Гончаров.