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‘Giant of a man’ laid to rest

Friday, May 16, 2014

A giant of a man who always put others before himself. This was how Gayle Khan described her uncle Hans Stecher yesterday. Stecher, 90, who was the president of the Jewish Society, died last Saturday. Delivering the eulogy during the reformed Jewish funeral at the Lions Cultural Centre, Fitzblackman Drive, Woodbrook, Khan read excerpts from the eulogy—which Stecher wrote himself. Revealing he had asked her to deliver the eulogy when he died, Khan recalled her earlier suggestion to him that if he wrote it, she would read it.


Khan said while Stecher was uncomfortable bestowing accolades on himself, he got to work clearly outlining his family’s escape from Europe and their humble beginnings in T&T. Saying Stecher enjoyed life and viewed it as a “great adventure,” Khan spoke of his many accomplishments and contributions to improving the local business landscape. Stecher was the founder of the chain of luxury stores, Stechers. Khan said Stecher was well-known for sharing his life experiences with his family and anyone who listened. Smiling as she said he managed to impress and fascinate everyone with his travels and childhood tales, Khan said his love and commitment to his late wife Sheila was legendary.

Khan has promised that Stecher’s memoirs, which were 75 per cent complete, will be published. Honorary Consul for Israel Barbara Malins-Smith recalled her interaction with Stecher, who she said was a man of wisdom and great intellect and a teacher who loved life. Malins-Smith said he embraced and adopted the Trinidadian culture and way of life, despite the hardships he and his family faced upon their arrival on local shores. A letter from the ambassador of Israel to T&T, Amiram Magid, read: “Throughout out all these years, Hans stood out for his humane approach to everyone, his broader worldview and his fine understanding of human nature.” He was buried at the Bet Olam Jewish section of Mucurapo cemetery.


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