Obituary for Dalibor Keliar
Dalibor Keliar, born April 22nd,1934 – December 9th 2018. A resident of Markham, Ont., Dalibor passed away at his family home, which he built in 1988. This home was symbolic to Dalibor, representing his love for family, including his wife Emily, two sons Mark and Lubor; and for the town he helped steward into a city, Markham.
Dalibor was born in Dolny Kubin, Slovakia. It was there where the land shaped his lifelong love for athletics. In addition to being a national basketball player in Slovakia, Dalibor was a superb skier and tennis player, sports he pursued well into his 70s. But these sports, and his passion for his home, were really about spending time with family and friends. Dalibor, or Dalo to his friends, loved life. And life was loving in return, with a beautiful wife, a steady gathering of friends and family, and the occasional bottle of vintage wine, by his side.
Dalibor’s career started in east Slovakia as a Civil Engineer, building bridges and waterways in his 20s, before moving to Bratislava. During that time he also experienced his most influential event, meeting and marrying his wife of 52 years, Emily. Together they escaped Czechoslovakia in the aftermath of Prague Spring in 1968, starting a brave – but free – life in Toronto. They quickly got on their feet, Dalibor literally walking to the offices of the Town of Markham for a job interview. That commitment to succeed led to a 30-year career with the now City of Markham, from Draftsman, to Town Engineer, and culminating as Commissioner of Works. Ahead of his time as an environmentalist, Dalibor championed the introduction of recycling to Ontario. He helped build Markham, growing it from a rural town of 15,000 to the sophisticated community it is today.
At home, Dalibor was deeply loved. He is survived by his wife Emily, two sons Mark and Lubor, their wives Joanna and Rhea, and grandchildren Elska, Archer and Ozie. He maintained many close relationships, including the family of his brother Milan, friends the Jokays, Hofmanns, Havliceks, and a steady crew of fellow skiers and tennis players. His home was always filled with classical music, he played the piano for decades, and was an avid reader. A true bon vivant, he also enjoyed collecting wine, and his well-appointed cellar became a favourite pitstop for friends, and in time his sons’ friends.
Dalo was beloved for his spirit and independent streak to the very end. Friends and family are invited to attend a celebratory reception on Thursday, December 13th, 2018, at 5pm at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home, 8911 Woodbine Avenue, Markham, ON L3R 5G1. The family requests in lieu of flowers to make a donation in honour of Dalibor to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Dalibor Keliar April 22 1934 –
December 9 2018.