Charles Robert Krempeaux (June 7th, 1924 - March 11th, 2006) is my father.
I miss him everyday since he left us. He was a great father.
He usually went by the name Charlie. (A cognate of the name Charles.) Since he considered Charles to be his father's name.
His father's name is Charles Stanislaus Krempeaux. And his mother's name is Helen Elizabeth Kerr.
He has 2 siblings. An older brother named Paul Douglas Krempeaux. And a younger sister named Audrey Jane Krempeaux.
He married (my mother) Malekeh Agha Safavi, while he was working in Iran (as a telecomm engineer), and has 2 children...
- Charles Iliya Krempeaux (that's me)
- Hassan Robert Krempeaux (my younger brother)
(I was given his first name. And my brother was given his middle name.)
He was left handed. (Which coincides with all the stories of Kerr's being left handed.) But as a child was forced to write with his right hand (by school teachers). (As many many children were during his era.)
He had brown hair when he was younger, which eventually became grey as he got older.
He also had blue eyes. And Type O blood. (Can't remember if it's O- or O+... but I think it's O-. Whatever it is, it's the same as my brother's.)
My Dad (Charles Robert Krempeaux) told me he intended to become a doctor when he was a kid. But when World War II started, and people started enlisting, he did too. He signed up for the Canadian Navy while he was still underage actually. (I.e, before he was old enough to be admitted into the Canadian Navy.) Later on, he taught himself telecomm engineering while he was in the army, and had a very long, interesting, and exciting career as a telecommunications engineer.
I think there was more to his military career than I knew about. Things that maybe aren't the type of things you tell your son. But also other things.
I know about some of the activities in his military career was top secret. I know a little about his work on the DEW Line... stuff that still seems to be classified. (And to honor my Dad's word, I've choosen not to write here.)
But a conversation my brother had with someone at his funeral suggested that there was much more to it... much more to his military career. But unfortunately, that person died way too early, a little after my Dad died. It saddens me that I may never really find out about that part of his life.
His Military Career
My father told me once that guys in our family have always been "warrior types". It seems to be a family tradition, to train and practice various Martial Arts. (I started doing formal training in the Martial Arts when I was 7.)
Like his father, he served in and formally trained in the military. He start his miliary career in the Canadian Navy. And later also served in the Canadian Army, and the USA Army. (My Dad is a Canadian though... despite having served in the USA Army.)
He told me at least once that... when he joined the navy, to fight in World War II, that he (and others) thought he was actually going to be helping people. That they were going to fight to save and protect their family, friends, and loved ones. But he found that that's not what war is about. That's not even close to what it is about. (The message I got from him was that fighting wars like these, whether you realized it or not, were not about protecting your family, friends, and loved ones, but were actually about fighting and killing so that other's can gain politically and economically. And as noble as your naive intentions when going into wars like these, the murdering and plundering is not noble. Or in other words, fighting to defend your family, friends, and loved ones is noble; but figting for other's plunder isn't.)
From what I remember him telling me... when he got back from military service in War Wold II, he went to UBC intending to study to become a doctor... but had a difficult time adjusting to being a student after going through War Wold II. Many young veterans from War Wold II had this same problem... after seeing people killed and killing themselves, it was difficult to allow themselves to be treated like a kid... and obey the orders of the professors.
He ended up serving in the Canadian and USA Army. And later becoming a telecommunications engineer (telecom engineer). (His telecom knowledge was self-taught, and was picked up while he was in the Army.)
His Engineering Career
The best I can remember, much of his career as a telecomm engineer, was with Rockwell International. When the telecomm part of Rockwell International was bought by Alcatel, he went over to work for them. I remember him working for other companies too. (I think MCI was one of them.)
From what I've been able to tell, my father was a well known telecomm engineer in some circles. When I first got onto the Internet, when I was studying at SFU, and got my first e-mail address (and started posting messages in USENET newsgroups), I started getting contacted by people all over the world.... asking me something like, if I was the Charles Krempeaux who was in such and such place in such and such year.
Growing up, I was the only person in the family that listened and paid attention to his technical engineering stories. (He had other non-technical stories that the others in the family listened to. But I seemed to be the audience for his technical ones.)
I think in some ways it gave me a bit of a leg up when I started studying Physics in school. It even gave me insight for some topics in Mathematics and Computer Science as well.
As a telecomm engineer, he was essentially also a Physicist. And was well versed in various branches of Physics and Mathematics. All the stories I heard that included talk about Fresnel zones, Complex Numbers, Refraction, Electromagnetism, etc etc... since I was about 2 years old. Between him and my Mother, who is also has an aptitude for Mathematics and Science herself, and a knack for teaching, it's no wonder I'm an engineer too, similar to my father.
His work as a telecom engineer and his service in the navy and army provided him with a way to see the world. In fact, he's been to every existing country in the world except for 2... Egypt and Antarctica.
I feel fortunate to have had access to that wealth of knowledge he gained through all those experience.
My father had a hand in creating many many of the telecommunications around the world. He went to counties with minimal or no telecommunication systems, and had an often significant part in creating them.
He was also the person many of the large telecommunication companies would send in when projects were completely screwed up -- hopelessly over behind schedule and over budget -- and he fix it and make it work!
As a youth he initially lived in The Pas, Manitoba, Canada. He later moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada, and grew up in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver. (Given that his mother's maiden name is Kerr... and the stories I've heard of all the Scottish people living in that area... I've wondered if "Kerrisdale" was originally "Kerr's Dale". "Dale", I believe, being Norse for "valley" I think.)
He was in a band when he was young, I think called the Kitsilano Boys Band, where he was the Drummer.
From his brother I learned that he was an exceptional fighter. He had a reputation for never starting fights, but always finishing them. And usually just with one punch (which would knock out the other person).
I find some comfort in hearing this... because when I was a child I had the same reputation. I never knew that my father and I were this similar in this way. Like father, like son I suppose.
His eulogy was given by my brother (and of course, his son) Hassan Robert Krempeaux. One of his nephew's, who he in many ways was a 2nd father to, Mark Robert Tindol, also spoke at his funeral.
There were probably 2 things that others who knew him told me about him over and over again about him, after he died. These were things I already knew. They were, that he was incredibly intelligent and one of the kindest people they have ever known.
I miss the conversations we had. Since he died, I haven't had anyone else who I can have the intellectual conversations with that I had with him... anyone else that has both his breadth and depth of knowledge... anyone else who has been able to match me no matter what topic I decided to talk about. (I've considered him a Polymath.)
My Dad had a good life. But he did not have a natural death. His death was due to the incompetance of one or more people at Surrey Memorial Hospital. While at the hospital, he was overdosed on immunosupressants, which caused a chain of events that lead to his death. It saddens me more than I can find words to express, that he died because of this; that he died at the young age of 81. That he died before he could see his grandchildren.
1 Year Memoriam
About 1 year after my Dad died, the following was placed by us in the a local newspaper to honor his memory.
KREMPEAUX, CHARLES ROBERT June 7, 1924 - March 11, 2006 One year has passed
since you heeded God's call and left us. Our tears still fall and our
memories still ache. Your life was one of story. You fought in three wars,
you healed the sick and you travelled the world. Yet you would say that your
greatest adventure was your family. You will never be forgotten. Beloved
husband, father and friend
1 Year Memoriam Published in the Vancouver Sun on March 12th, 2007.
Growing up there were alot of stories my Dad told me from his life. Stories from his childhood. Stories from his time in the Navy and the Army. Stories from his career. Stories from various places he'd been to all over the world.
An Engineering Story
My Dad got a (good) reputation, as a telecomm engineer, during one of his telecomm engineering trips/jobs.
While working at one of his jobs, there was some kind of rush job that they had to get done. So him and another person drove over at some site (where the job had to be done). The other person expected it to take a long time, since they had do all the Physics and Math calculations when they got there. But my Dad did all the Physics and Math calculations, including logarithm calculations in his head. (So that they only had to do the manual work when they got there.)
He's the only person I've ever known who could calculate Logarithms in his head. (Although, when he explained to me how he does it, I realized it wasn't that difficult, as long as you were able to think in that way.)
His ability to do these calculations in his head gave him a (good) reputation as a telecomm engineer.
The Inuit (also sometimes called the Eskimo) are a people who have lived in the Arctic regions of North America.
When my Father was working on DEW Line, he was stationed on the Baffin Island. (The Baffin Island is the largest member of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and was an incredibly cold place.)
While my Father was there, a couple villages of inuit got sick, and would have surely all perished. My father nursed them all back to health.
What he noticed, while trying to heal them, was that whomever he nursed back to health kept on getting sick again. What he realized was that they were reinfecting themselves from their blankets. That their blankets were infected, and kepts on making them sick.
To the sick Inuits' objections, my Dad burnt all their blankets, and was finally able to nurse all of them back to health (without any of them getting reinfected).
Charles Robert Krempeaux also appears on the family trees for the following family names....