On behalf of my mother and sister, I would like to thank all of you for attending this service. From family to co-workers to friends, we appreciate all of you making the time to come here from around the world. I’d like to think that dad would have been happy to know that he touched so many people in a positive way. Our thanks to all our family and friends who have been here for us. I would also like to thank all at Marsh Canada who have done everything possible to ease our pain and provide tremendous support to us.
Today marks a month to the day of my father’s death in the World Trade Center disaster. It has been the most painful and frustrating month of my life; a sentiment that I’m sure extends to a great many people in this church today. Your presence here is a reminder to me that, rather than dwelling on dad’s death, we must instead celebrate the full and joyous life that he lived. We must celebrate a life filled with compassion, humility and especially love. Love for my mother, his wife of 23 years; love for my sister and myself. He treasured his family above all other things in his life, a fact that he reminded me of several times. He took special joy in watching Jaclyn grow up; not having him there at her graduation was the first time I was faced with the full magnitude of losing him.
Although he told me to always value my formal education, it will be the things he taught me that I’ll hold most dear. He taught me the meaning of humility, taught me to never rub my successes in the faces of others. He lived his life by that credo, to the point that many of his closest friends had no idea just how successful he was in his professional life. That applied to me, as well.” Dad could barely bring himself to say anything even when forced – he once told a Pearson customs officer that he worked in systems and didn’t feel as if it was necessary to say anything else. It was only as I grew older and got a better idea of his work that I really understood what he had accomplished in such a short time, and my respect for him grew further.
While many here knew Bernard on that professional level, I dare say that he was more effective as husband and father. He gave us all we could ever want, and we’d finally arrived at the type of life that he must have dreamed of upon immigrating to Canada in 1978. At the very least, he provided my sister and I with constant amusement, although very little of it was intentional on his part. The best – and, sadly, last – example spans a great deal of the last decade. As most of those closest to him know, during the past few years dad developed what, quite frankly, my sister and I considered to be an unhealthy fascination with the game of Bridge. He usually spent quite a bit of his rare free time either reading a new book on Bridge or reading the Bridge column in the Star. He never actually played a game, mind you – just studied it. At some point over the past summer, while watching him play yet another game against his three invisible friends, Jaclyn suggested that he try finding a game on the Internet. His response could have been taken straight out of a Kevin Smith script: “you can play cards over the Internet?” Not exactly what you’d expect from a managing director who did his work in “systems.”
After much fumbling – how anyone got any work done in Marsh with dad continually asking them questions always amazed me, because it was a skill I never mastered – I managed to get him set up with an account on Yahoo, and he set to work. We barely saw him for the next 24 hours, so engrossed was he with playing Bridge online. I didn’t really talk to him until the next day, when he came into my room with a strange combination of happiness and sadness on his face. When I asked him what had caused him to stop playing bridge, he informed me that it wasn’t his idea, but that no one would play with him any more! It seems that all the years of studying the game had paid off, as he was simply better than anyone on Yahoo and was now scaring them off. The expression on his face when he said that is something that I find myself remembering more and more now, because while he may have been upset, the knowledge that all those years of study had worked out brought so much joy to his face. That’s how I think I’ll remember him, and that’s the story I’ll tell my children and grandchildren when they ask what my father was like.
There’s so many other things I could say about dad – his love of sports, both those of his homeland and those he picked up on when he moved to Canada. His continual pushing of me to do better, as he knew and believed in his heart that I could be. His sense of justice, of always making sure that people less fortunate than he was were taken care of. He may have lived in Canada, but he never forgot nor let us neglect our roots. His active role in our community, always trying to help someone out when they fell on hard times. His bravery after losing his own father in 1997, and the way he took care of his mother in the difficult months afterwards – all behaviors I hope I can emulate in some form.
Husband, father, brother, son, friend, colleague. All are words that can be justifiably be used to describe Bernard Mascarenhas; I cannot begin to determine which one should be held above the others. All I know for sure is this: I will miss him every second of my life.
Eulogy given by Mr. John Chippendale, President & CEO Marsh Canada Ltd. at the Memorial Service for Bernard on October 11, 2001 at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, Canada
Every so often, we cross paths with individuals who are very special in genuine ways:
I, and my Marsh colleagues, will sincerely miss Bernard as a true friend, with an incredible brain . . . but will GAIN an unforgettable memory of a role model, whom we will forever aspire to emulate. We can now begin to realize Bernard’s legacy . . . and I can assure you he is appreciative and keenly watching over us.
As we continue to try to make sense of, and come to grips with, this horrific tragedy, we should remind ourselves that Bernard has much to be proud of . . . And I would like to read a short quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, which I believe epitomizes this:
“To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to give of one’s self;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
I think it is appropriate at this service and Mass to also remember our other Marsh colleagues and their families who were victims of the World Trade Center and airline attacks.
Bernard Mascarenhas was a zealous bridge player, an executive who had risen steadily up the corporate ladder, and a man who liked to take it easy on weekends with his wife and two kids. But it was what he was not known for that is worth remembering as well.
Deeply committed to education, Mr. Mascarenhas, 54, used to make anonymous donations to a number of different charities, in particular to scholarship funds. Among his causes, he would send anonymous scholarship donations to his native Pakistan, to assist Roman Catholics, a religious minority in that country.
Mr. Mascarenhas’s influence was felt in the corporate world too. He was the chief information officer at Marsh Canada, a subsidiary of Marsh & Mclennan, in Toronto, and was in New York for a meeting on Sept. 11.
Mr. Mascarenhas’s work on computer systems at the company was known as particularly innovative and wound up being used not only in Canada but in Marsh offices around the world. "He made sure everything he worked on was a first-class product," said Thomas J. Grimes, managing director at Marsh Canada.
Today I remember Bernard as every year. We will raise a glass of wine and I will make a small speech tonight to honour his memory and the influence that he made on my life. I am grateful that I knew him and sorry he left us so soon.
Wishing Raynette, Jaclyn and Sven all the best.