Narvey, Melville S. #327 *

Honoured by Dr. Larry & Carol Hoffman

I would like to honour my father-in-law Melville Narvey with this leaf. From the moment I fell in love with my wife, Carol, nearly 40 years ago, her father Mel has been a role model extraordinaire for me. The sheer joy with which Mel (known to his nieces & nephews in Winnipeg as Manny after his Jewish name ‘Mendel’) lives his life, the integrity, compassion, and honesty with which he ran his men’s clothing store, and his incredible unconditional love for his family, friends and all people are just some of the amazing qualities of this wonderful man.

He treats every person he meets with the utmost respect and receives respect in return. He is an eternal optimist; for him the glass is always half full, and he can see the positive side to everything! He has also shown incredible resiliency following the passing of his first wife Esther in 1967, his daughter Sandi in 2006 and his second wife Sooky in 2010.

He had the ‘smarts’ and personality to run and manage successfully for 40 years (with his younger brother, Harold), ‘Narveys’, an institution in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. They sold clothing and men’s wear from coveralls to tuxedos for farmers & businessmen alike. He has served as president for philanthropic organizations such as Rotary (he almost never missed a meeting). He also rose to the first principal position of the Royal Arch Masons. Today he still manages his own investments and generously supports many charities in his community!

He is a man of the ‘arts’ as well. He could play any song on the piano and slide whistle by ‘ear’. He played violin, recorder & harmonica, and sang in a Barbershop Quartet with 4 part harmony. He loves music of all kinds, especially jazz. He performed in variety and musical shows in local towns 2 – 3 times a year. He wrote poetry as well as speeches, and was asked to be Master of Ceremonies a multitude of times. He has an artist’s eye for beauty as well as a perfectly tailored and perfectly fitted suit. He loved to dance and was incredibly smooth, suave and debonair on the floor. He is always a gentleman with courtly manners which he learned in the 40’s and never went out of style for him. He had a green thumb for growing vegetables and he still has a gourmet’s appreciation for tasty food.

Even though the years have taken their toll physically (93 yrs. young in March 2012), his ability to express his love from his heart with beautifully chosen words has gotten even better. He always knows what to say and how to say it to make those around him smile and feel good. He really enjoys flattering and flirting with women (beautiful women in particular). Waitresses, sales clerks, nurses and personal support workers happily receive his special attention.

I watched him demonstrate his love and appreciation for my mother in law, Sooky, using sweet words of affection and praise, as well as a gentle heartfelt touch & kiss with effortless ease. He was playful and teasing, but just enough to make her blush and smile.

Mel tells a great joke and is a magnificent story teller. The stories seem to go on for hours. Somehow he always gets back to the main theme by the end. He tells these tales with so much enthusiasm, excitement and passion, incorporating accents, songs and so many stories within stories that we happily listen even if we’ve heard them before.

When it comes to marriage, he always says that he is the luckiest man in the world because he won the love of two wonderful women (Esther for 26 years and then Sooky for 41 years). He was head over heels in love with both and expressed this by keeping romance and love ever present in his married life. He cherishes his wonderful blended family, adores his 5 children, loves his 7 fantastic grandchildren and considers his 7 great grandchildren a true blessing.

He gets his greatest joy from seeing his family having fun together and loving each other. May we share his love and continue to give him joy for many more years.