May 17, 1920 – October 5, 2020
It is with great sadness that our family announces the peaceful passing of our beloved father, grandfather, and great grandfather on Monday, October 5, 2020 at the age of 100 at Ehatare Nursing home, in Toronto. Edgar was deeply loved by his wife (deceased 2002) Renate (née Eistrat); children Reet (Marten Sehr) and Juhan (Lea deceased 2018); his grandchildren, Paul, wife Katherine; Andres, wife Liisa; Katrina, partner Kirby; Eric, wife Sara; and Alexia. He will be greatly missed by his great-grandchildren Andrea, Leila, Julia, Aleksander, Sebastian, Oskar, Eleanor and Isaac. He was a loving companion and travel partner to Maret Truuvert for the last decade of his life.
Edgar was born in the small fishing village of Neeme, Estonia. He was the first from his village to attain higher education and studied to become a teacher. The Second World War intervened and along with many other young Estonian men, Edgar fled to Finland at the onset of the second Soviet occupation to serve in the Finnish army brigade known as “Finnish boys”. He was wounded and went on to Sweden, where he met and married Renate, who had fled Estonia near the end of the war. They immigrated to Canada in 1951 and settled in Toronto, where they raised 2 children, Reet and Juhan. In the early years, Edgar worked as a chemist at Goodyear Tire Co., later at Multiframe and Northrand Foods, a family business. He built a cottage in Oro in a community of family and friends, and enjoyed fishing with his grandchildren on Lake Simcoe.
Edgar was a leading figure in the Toronto Estonian community as the principal of the Toronto Estonian Schools for 43 years. He served on many community boards including the Estonian Central Council in Canada and St. Peter’s Estonian Lutheran Church. He has received numerous orders of merit, including the Order of the White Star, Class V from the President of Estonia. Edgar had an oversized influence on many people’s lives, in particular in raising generations of Estonian-Canadians through the Toronto Estonian Schoosl. For hundreds of young people, he was “Mr. Marten – Koolipapa”. He was instrumental in making sure Estonian culture and language lived on in Canada. In his later years, he kept a pace that most can only dream of. He travelled extensively with his companion Maret and enjoyed life with his large family. He often visited a free and independent Estonia, something he had fought for all of his life.
The family wishes to thank Ehatare Nursing Home for the care and support they provided over the past few difficult months. There will be a private funeral and a post-Covid celebration of his extraordinary life. If desired, a donation can be made to the Toronto Estonian Schools through the Estonian Foundation of Canada, Email firstname.lastname@example.org OR the International Estonian Centre Email email@example.com. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.