Friends and family payed their final respects to the life of Rev. Albert Baldeo at his funeral service held this morning at Trinity Baptist Church.
Officiated by long-time friend Rev. Richard Chung, friends and family members remembered the life of Baldeo, reflecting on his love for life, friendship of others, his sense of humour and his faith in Jesus Christ.
His three daughters spoke of his unbending faith, his love as a father and a loving husband to their mother, Beryl Baldeo. His eight grandchildren sang their own rendition of Amazing Grace.
Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon spoke of Baldeo’s respect and support for the RCMP in the community, which he reciprocated to the family by presenting them with the first challenge coin issued by the local detachment, an honour that normally is extended to Mounties for their dedication, patronage and support as RCMP officers.
“We’ve lost a dear friend but somehow I expect that Albert is now up in heaven involved in the Musical Ride in his new journey,” McKinnon said.
Bill Redmond, a member of the Kelowna Rotary Club which Baldeo was also a long-time member, spoke of Baldeo’s respect for leadership, and what a difficult and lonely challenge that can sometimes be.
“He was a leader of leaders,” reflected Redmond. “He understood the need to give other leaders support, as he appreciated how lonely a job that can sometimes be. It just felt good to be in his presence,” said Redmond, reflecting on Baldeo’s endless sense of fun, his odd gifts and funny poems which were his trademark. “He was a precious soul to all of us.”
His long-time friend Sahadeo Basdeo, a university professor from Baldeo’s native Trinidad, talked of his friend’s endless curiousity, his love and ability to both give and take a joke and his sense of endless accommodation for all others
Rev. Tim Schroeder spoke of Baldeo’s role in helping bring the community together in the aftermath of the 2003 Kelowna firestorm, which saw no loss of life but resulted in hundreds of homes being destroyed.
“He was at all the firehalls, in all corners of the community helping to take care of all of us during that time,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder also noted how Baldeo was able to give a prayer at the community service in Prospera Place after the fire that brought together those in attendance, both athieists and believers alike.
“I don’t know anyone else who could have pulled that off,” said Schroeder, speaking to Baldeo’s presence when speaking from the pulpit.
Perhaps not surprising, Baldeo himself had the last word as he gave his own eulogy in a videotaped poem he recited just days prior to his death, upbeat and spirited as he spoke of his life journey on Earth having ended and being ready for the next chapter in his life, to greet Jesus Christ in heaven.