“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
–George Bernard Shaw
On the occasion of the passing of our beloved John Papadakis at the much-too-young age of only 58, we might pause to reflect on these words from Shaw. This quote is sometimes described as “counter-intuitive,” because in a world in which being reasonable or malleable is desired if not outright demanded, John Papadakis refused to conform.
John, a paralegal licenced by the Law Society of Ontario was keenly intelligent, with a sharp mind and a quick and ready wit. In fact, it was his ability to find humour in even the most unlikely situations that made him an indispensable member of many organizations. He was especially dedicated to the Chiropractic College of Ontario where he sat on Executive Council, Council and various committees.
John was elected to the Council of the Borough of East York in the late 1980’s and made his mark as one of the youngest elected Councillors in Metro Toronto. He completed his BA in Political Sciences at York University, was certified by the Ontario government as a Provincial Basic Emergency Management Instructor and was founder of the charity CEPA, the Community Emergency Preparedness Association. However, no matter how many groups or organizations laid claim to John’s big heart and good will, his friends and family always came first – including his beloved mother Helen and his brother Frank (Frixo).
Whether you speak to John’s friends and supporters in the world of business, law, government, media, or community, you will hear stories of service and generosity.
John was smart and hard-working and did not hesitate to share his gifts with others; indeed, his predilection for volunteering his time, energy and resources to friends, co-workers and constituents in need was legendary.
He adored animals and often offered his time to pet sit and care for others’ dogs when they needed help in a pinch. In fact, perhaps his very last act of kindness was in walking Dookie only hours before his passing.
John Papadakis was one of a kind. To those he loved, John was a kind, loyal, generous, dedicated friend in good times and in bad, ready to spend his last dollar to help when help was needed.
To those he believed were dishonest or ill-intentioned, John was a serious thorn in the side – “like an endless trip to the dentist,” as one politician might have said.
In a world where being popular and reasonable is the order of the day, John was not afraid to call out people, politicians or governments that were not doing the right thing for East York, for Canada, or all of humanity.
No one can replace him, and there will never be another like him.
God bless you, and rest in peace, John Papadakis. We will miss you forever.