Kyaw Maung Win
April 26, 1939 – July 26, 2023
Kyaw Win (also known as ‘Joe’, Ko Ko Win, Lay Lay Win) was born in Myanmar when it was still known as Burma, a colony of Britain at the time, in the city of Taunggyi.
He was the fourth son of Dr. Maw Tin, a dentist, and Daw Ma Ma Gyi. Their family would eventually grow to nine children, eight of them boys.
Kyaw Win fondly recalled his childhood and his rambunctious siblings, many of whom slept in the same room. Kyaw Win cheerfully recounted how his father would sometimes call the children by birth order e.g., “#4!’ rather than by name, and how he would douse the boys with water to maintain order when they became too unruly. He also recalled his mother’s excellent cooking – a lifelong skill Kyaw Win acquired from her when he offered to help his very busy mother in the kitchen.
An excellent student, Kway Win was sent to Queens University in far-away Canada by the Burmese government on a Columbo Plan scholarship, at the age of 17, to study mining engineering. One of the stipulations of his scholarship was to work for the government for five years. So, upon graduation, he returned to Burma and moved to a remote area of the country to a mine that was in a region where civil unrest was occurring. In addition to the hazards of working in a mine – in which he had several close calls – he had to navigate the danger of capture by local insurgents.
After completing his contract, he returned to Taunggyi. Kyaw Win was a gifted athlete and an avid tennis player at that time. His youngest brother was playing tennis with Dr. Sam Phoo and her friends from the hospital when Kyaw Win joined the group – and found his match there! After a year of courtship, Kyaw Win married Sam Phoo and moved to her hometown of Kang Tung, near the border with Thailand. After a few years they decided to emigrate to Canada, as Kyaw Win had fond memories and good friends from his student days there.
Kyaw Win went first to find work and his wife joined him later. They lived and worked for some years in the small town of Manitouwadge, in Northern Ontario: he as a mining engineer, she as a resident physician. They adapted to their new home, making friends, working in the forbidding climate – later moving to Toronto to pursue better work opportunities.
Sadly, Sam Phoo died of cancer in 1993, when she was just 55. Kyaw Win, seeking solace in a bereavement support group, met Judy Beauvais, also newly widowed. It was the start of a new adventure that would last some thirty years.
He and Judy dated, dined, golfed and travelled together – to Myanmar, and other places, including Florida to visit his beloved niece, Aye Sandar and her family. They spent time with family and friends, and with the grandchildren – enjoying outings to the Toronto islands, to the Santa Claus parade, apple or pumpkin picking, and, later on, to the driving range to teach them how to swing a golf club properly. Kyaw Win loved children, making written notes of the amusing things the grandchildren did or said growing up.
Retirement allowed Kyaw Win to pursue his main sporting passion: golf, a game he was extremely good at. He developed a close group of golf friends, who played and joked together for many years. And Kyaw Win solved the Canadian winter problem by taking up curling.
Kyaw Win was a kind, thoughtful, and patient man who had a wide-ranging interest in the world. In his illnesses later in life, he displayed the sharp mind that had earned him his engineering scholarship, recalling the names of each doctor and details of his treatment with impressive clarity. He maintained a deep sense of calm, nourished by his Buddhist roots and ongoing practice.
Kyaw Win leaves his spouse, Judy Beauvais, step-daughter Kim Barnes, and adopted grandchildren Nicole van Beusekom, Theodore van Beusekom, Tomas van Beusekom, Jasmine Barnes and Maia Barnes; as well as siblings: Dr. Than Lwin, U Hpone Myint, Captain Tin Aung Tun, and U Tha Aung; nephews and nieces: Aye Sanda Lwin, Aye Thanda Lwin, Than Htay Lwin, Wunna Lwin, Myo Htet Lwin, Win Zaw Hpone, Wuityee Hpone, Nyi Nyi Hpone, Mon Mon Yi, Moe Kyaw Naing, Thanda Min, Aye Sandar Min, Thawda Min, Zay Yar Min, Thinzar Min, Thurein Tun, Su Myat Tun, Hein Tun Soe, Ye Htut Min, Kyaw Paing Htut, Oakka Htut and Khin Dali Aung.
Kyaw Win’s funeral/one month memorial (Soon-Kway) will take place on August 31st at 10:30 am.
Location: Mahadhammika Myanmar Buddhist Temple, 12 High Meadow Place, North York (near Hwy 400 and Finch)
Last rites and burial will take place at 1:30pm at Highland Memory Gardens, 33 Memory Gardens Lane, Willowdale.
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