In loving memory of Milton Pears who sadly passed away on 19th April 2020 aged 85 years.
Milton Pears was born 7 July 1934 to George an Muriel Pears in Villapuram, India. The third of 5 children.
He finished his education at Campion School, where he boarded for 5 years. He would often talk about his time at school and there is no doubt the Jesuits influenced his very strong catholic Faith. He would talk about the strict discipline, how he learnt to eat what he was given and the importance of a balanced diet. It was important that every meal included a vegetable preferably a green one. He enjoyed his sports particularly hockey and I believe he did quite well, representing the school. Although to be honest I am not sure what position he played. It is funny, I never thought to ask him this. I think Campion instilled in him a sense of community and how to play his role within in it. Dad had come from the railway community and followed in footsteps on the footplate. He completed his apprenticeship and became a driver.
Sadl yhe suffered a couple of fits and was medically unfit to continue to drive trains. He found a new role ensuring the smooth running of the AC express trains. He recently told me he felt embarrassed in this role because he took over from someone else who was pushed out to give him the job.
He met my Mum and they married in 1959. They made the decision to leave India and make a new home in England. They both felt that there were more opportunities for work and for a different life. Not so different as many young people would think. Their journey from India was quite something. They travelled by boat and had a few stop offs. The places they visited were amazing including sailing through the Suez canal, they saw many parts of Europe. Dad found that a sailors life was not for him and was often very sea sick. The final leg of the journey was a bit a disaster, they had to catch a train (gosh I wish dad was here to remind me of the details!) They had not been aware that it was 24 hour non stop and unlike the trains they had been used to in India there was no food service. They arrived in France very hungry and no currency. This experience lived with Dad and he was never ever in a position of being in a country without enough money!
The arrived in London and were greeted by Mum’s eldest brother who had found them somewhere to live and jobs in factories.
They were joined by other family and settled in Wimbledon, South London.
Dad did not find working in a factory satisfying and so embarked on a course of study and gained a HNC in business studies. By this time both myself and my brother had arrived. Me in 1961 and Jeff in 1963. I do remember living in the flat in Pelham Road and Dad coming home tired from his night school. But he did the right thing. Having achieved his HNC despite some not very helpful teachers he took on a role in the accounts department of the an electronics company called Phillips. He seemed to do well and with the introduction of computers his logic allowed him to develop spreadsheet and small programming capabilities. From his Campion days he brought with him the understanding that work was important and it was important to do it well. The many messages of condolences that I have received from his work colleagues have filled my heart with pride. The time he took to show new colleagues the ropes and friendships he forged in the work place were deep felt. Those of you who worked with him will be happy to know that 2 days before he left us he was still working on a spreadsheet! Complete with macros. Working for Phillips was a huge part of his life. The people he worked with and the job itself. He had so much pride in the people he worked with and their achievements. But he had a humble side that he never thought that his actions were a big thing. I know that this is not the case as colleagues have been able to tell me the first they met my Dad, and numerous occasions where Dad had been a bit of fixer.
In later years he had been meeting with Hilary, Paul & Helen now and again for lunch. After meeting with you he would tell me how much he had enjoyed the chatter and something I still find amazing is that he still was in awe of you all and would seek your advice for gardening and taxes! Thank you for bringing that joy to my dad.
Dad was not just about work, at his core was his family.
Having arrived in England in 1960, settled into work and finding a home I arrived in October 1961. Back in those days Mum’s would be taken into hospital and husband sent away and told to come back later. My Dad followed the instructions. When he came back to the hospital he came to find me, the nurse mis heard him and told him that there “were no Bears” on the ward! Luckily he did find Mum and myself. Jeff arrived in March 1963 and our family was complete. As well as our little family unit his brothers, sister, parents and the inlaws (mum’s family) were important to him. For a while the house contained his parents and youngest brother. When they moved away it was not unusual to come downstairs and find my Uncle Humphrey ( Mum’s youngest brother) and friends sleeping off the nights work or pleasure. Dad took it in stride the comings and goings of the young ones.
He and my mum made a home where everyone was welcome.
He was handy around the house, decorating, maintaining and gardening under mum’s direction. He tried his hardest to teach Jeff and myself our times tables. Not such an easy task! He tried to teach us as he had be taught the importance of good nutrition, also not so good as we both enjoyed a much sweeter tooth than Dad had been born with. Dad had high expectations of both Jeff and myself, he wanted us achieve better than he had. But Dad we could never better you.
As we grew up and left home. Mum retired, Dad retired and they started their travels again. First on the list was going back to India. 20 years after they left, they found it much changed. I think they were disappointed that neither Jeff nor myself showed any interest in joining them but not as disappointed as I feel now to have missed that opportunity.
Mum’s health started a downward spiral even before she retired but Dad carried on and made sure that she got the best care.
They celebrated 50 years being married with a party at our house in Epsom with family and friends in attendance in 2009. Mum at this stage was recovering from heart surgery and Lymphona.
With Jeff and I away from home, Mum and Dad reacquainted themselves with old friends from India.
Just after Mum died, I took Dad into a local telecoms shop.
I wanted him to have mobile that worked. The young man in the shop found Dad the right mobile and in signing the contract heard Dad say something about India. The young man started to tell Dad that his grandfather had been born and brought up in India and told him a few scant details. The young man looked at Dad and the disbelief on his face as dad said “ I went to school with your grandad!”
Dad joined the Kirby household and became part of our family unit. Although he retained the house in Morden he found his bed in our house “more to his liking.” He brought so much support and energy to our home. Using his skills at maintaining and gardening. Our friends became his friends an every event include an invitation to Milton. When our friends needed help with small building projects they would call to see if Dad was free to lend a hand.
We had a particualry busy evening on Thursday and Dad very quickly worked out what he could do to help. He learnt to cook. He made one of the best cottage pies ever. Mum must be so cross, that her lifetime switching on the kettle was the only skill he possessed in the kitchen department. Having mastered the cottage pie he tried his hand at stir fries, fajitas and curries. Just goes to prove, it is never too late to learn.
Before Mum left us, she had kept telling dad to see the doctor about his cough. After she left, one of the first things I did was to take him to have it checked out. Over the years there wer numerous check and numerous thoughtful suggestions; such as keep of the spicey food!
February this year we did some gardening with dad and took down some trees. WE could see dad struggle and for the first ever time he just disappeared and we found him looking through the newspaper in his chair. The following day he compained of chest pains and Liam took him A & E. The coronavirus was in the news and there was debate as to whether the UK should lockdown. Dad was thoroughly checked over and had an xray and CT scan and kept in over night. The shock of the scan result showing a rather large tumour in the left lung and hiding behind the heart. It must have been there undetected for years. Our family gathered as the result of the biopsy did indeed confirm lung cancer at stage 4. The hospital was gearing up for patients with the virus and so discharged Dad into my care in our home in Epsom. We had 3 cosy weeks with him and with the support of the Princess Alice Hospice team. They arranged care assistants and some aids to help him continue to walk around the home. We had a stair lift installed so that he could sleep comfortably in his bed upstairs.
The cough got worse, Dad lost all appetite and could not face food; he lost so much weight and on 19 April at just before 1 am he left us. He is at peace now with Mum his most loved brother Wally and ofcourse his parents.
This is some of my story of Dad – I would love to hear yours.- Louise