Dhirajlal (Dee) Purbhoo


We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dhirajlal (Dee) Purbhoo, on August 9, 2022, at the age of 74, after a seven year battle with cancer.  Dee is survived by his wife Mary, his children Kevin and Adrienne, and his especially beloved grandchildren Erin and Ella.


Dee was born in India in 1947, but grew up in Pretoria, South Africa, under apartheid. In 1966, he emigrated to Canada in search of better opportunities, the fourth of his brothers to do so.  He attended McMaster University, and spent most of his adult life teaching business at Eastern High School of Commerce, where he influenced thousands of students. Former student Lynn Furtado (Roth) later became a very close friend of the family.  Dee thought of her as his other daughter, and she has remained an important part of the family for 30 years.


In the 1980s, personal computers were beginning to appear in the classroom.  In 1986, Dee published his first textbook (L. Borel & D. Purbhoo, "Bedford Accounting"), which taught accounting using new computer software.  It was an innovation at the time, and as the software changed there were further books. The project, later taken over by Mary, became one of the most successful textbook series in Canada.


Dee would continue to work as a part-time supply teacher for many years after his retirement.


To many, Dee will be remembered as a talented artist.  Over his lifetime he meticulously created dozens of beautiful and elaborate paintings.  He never sold a single one, though there were offers; instead he gave them away to family and friends as wedding gifts, or just because he wanted to.  He took great joy in sharing his cooking, which was made with the same care and attention to detail as his artwork.  His samoosas and bhajias were always a special treat, and quite a hit at parties.


Dee was immensely grateful to all the doctors and nurses who treated and cared for him through his illness.  The family would especially like to thank Dr. Sarah Ingber and the Oncology department at North York General Hospital, as well as the Palliative Care Team at Mount Sinai. 


A service will be held at the Humphrey Funeral Home on Monday, August 15, at 12:30pm.  In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations to the Boundless School (www.theboundlessschool.com), GiveWell (www.givewell.org), or other charities that help at-risk youth and save lives.


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