TRIBUTE: In memory of: Sydney Norman Abdool – 1927-2021 – By: Geoff Burrowes

– By: Geoff Burrowes

My brother in law Norman died on March 1. 2021, and in his passing we lost a great Guyanese Canadian.

I was blessed to marry into my boss’ family, the Sydney Abdools.

Norman was the eldest, then Marjorie Fredericks, Freddy, Beryl Fredericks and  many years after that, Barbara Magalee and my wife, Norma the baby of the family. When I got to know Norman he was tall and slim and elegant, a handsome man with a dry sense of humour which salted his view of life, often.   

He was married to Beryl Anamunthodoo, a lady who would have been a Guiana Scholar today but not then, in the then more misogynistic era in which she grew up. She was a tiny lady in stature but a woman of exceptional talent. They had three daughters, Wendy, petite and bright, Sabrina, with Norman and Beryl’s joy of life and sense of fun and Karen, with twinkling eyes and a love of life. They were all extremely intelligent and Norman and Beryl had instilled in them a strong love of family.

Norman was an accountant with Texaco in Georgetown. His great love was cricket! He played Case Cup cricket in Guyana, which was the highest level of cricket in a cricket mad nation! I’m told he was such a good spin bowler that he was being considered for the West Indies team. The selectors at the time chose Lance Gibbs, who turned out to be one of the greatest spin bowlers in the history of the game and a good friend of Norman’s for life!

He did not let that affect his love for the game and continued to play for many years. He was well respected in the cricket community and many prominent cricketers remained his friends to this day.

Norman was modest and self-effacing. All that I learnt about him was from other people. He and his family emigrated to Canada in the 1971s and settled in Montreal. In spite of his only knowing English he was successful in a French speaking province. He became a fan of Les Canadiens and the Expos and although he spent his latter years in Toronto could never adapt to being a Leaf or Jays fan!

He remained a cricket lover for the rest of his life, had all the cricket channels on his television and followed the fortunes of the Guyana and the West Indies teams every day!

The most exceptional part of Norman’s character was however as a family man. When his Dad Sydney Norman Abdool died he took his place as the head of the Abdool household, was never pushy or authoritarian but was always available with good advice or a helping hand! He remained a good friend to all that knew him, a wonderful father, grandfather, brother and brother-in-law.

His children Wendy, now Wendy Atkins, his son-in-law Derek, his grand daughter Amanda and his great grandson Titan Sydney, daughter Sabrina Persaud his son-in-law Narine Persaud, and grandsons Richard and his wife Alicia, Steven Persaud and his wife Cindy and their daughter Seychelle, and Narine and Sabrina’s son, Jeffrey Persaud and his fiancee Keira, Norman’s daughter Karen Horton, her husband David and their son Alex and his wife Viktoria, and their daughter Charlotte and David and Karen’s daughter Kayla are all very close and love being with one another and partying uproariously together.

The love of family Norman and Beryl instilled in them extends to the rest of us in the family, for which we are grateful and also their love of their Guyanese roots, music and customs. Their intelligence and work ethic has resulted in all of them being successful in their chosen fields of endeavour and Norman and Beryl can justifiably be proud of the family they have raised and Canada can be proud of the Abdool family from Guyana who, thanks to Norman and Beryl, now add to this great country and Guyana can be proud of the effect that this great Guyanese Canadian family will have on Canada’s future!

May Sydney Norman Abdool, great Guyanese, great Canadian and great family (to use his cousin Sir Shridath Ramphal’s word) doyen, rest in a well deserved peace.

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  • brandli62  On 03/06/2021 at 9:12 am

    Sorry to hear about your loss, Geoff. May your brother-in-law rest in peace!

  • Zandra Murray Tibbitts.  On 03/06/2021 at 9:31 am

    My condolences to the family… May he RIP

  • detow  On 03/07/2021 at 5:46 pm

    Sounds like he was a good guy, may he rest in peace.

  • Kman  On 03/08/2021 at 5:14 pm

    Beryl’s sister Vernie,and brother in law, Bida and their families, are very good friends/ family to me. If l am not mistaken, Beryl either passed on or is in a home.

  • wally n  On 03/08/2021 at 5:56 pm

    have to ask don’t have to reply..Do you know Cheryl Burrowes?

    • geoffburrowes  On 04/01/2021 at 12:35 pm

      I’d be delighted to reply. Cheryl is my sister-in-law, my brother Peter’s wife, and a very accomplished Guyanese Canadian!

  • wally n  On 04/01/2021 at 1:08 pm

    Wow…can’t elaborate..but your brother is a great guy, Cheryl is another story, brilliant,talented, she was brought up in I believe, a wealthy family, I grew up counting rice grains, we did Television together, and she once called me “A cheap ass coolieman” Apart from that we got on well together, I remember her fondly, I get updates from a friend of ours. Thanks for the time.

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