Hugh Quetton (1926-2014): My Obi-Wan

Obi-Wan-Kenobi’s death is one of the most mythically powerful scenes in the original Star Wars: Luke‘s witness of his release to the Force at the hand of Vader as he, Lea and Han blast their way off the Death Star, leaves Obi-Wan’s threat to Vader hanging in our memory: “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”. It is not Obi-Wan’s death we’ve witnessed, but Luke’s true beginning as a Jedi. Luke, grasping the magnitude of Ben’s departure and the loss of the old man’s leadership, has no choice but to seize his destiny. As the story unfolds and Luke’s trials as a Jedi mount, Obi-Wan reveals his ephemeral self to Luke. Making good on his threat to Vader, he draws Luke deeper into the Force, making him an invincible foe of the Empire. As a hand of the Force, working through Luke to galvanize and multiply the young man’s power, Obi-Wan truly establishes his legacy.

My own father Hugh passed away last week. Like Obi-Wan, he too, was a quiet champion for good. A soldier in the service of society and those he loved; a selfless man of duty, integrity and honour. Like Obi-Wan’s Jedi’s, he was a man out of time, member of a disappearing band of old-school warriors, a trained fighter in the arts of peace and civility.

While he was alive, I admired these qualities. I had come to understand how fortunate I was to be led by him and trained in these old ways. But like Luke, it wasn’t until his death last week that he left me no choice but to fight for them.  In passing from the physical, with his example and legacy to guide us, he has, truly, become more powerful than I can possibly imagine.

It’s not what Hugh would want on his own headstone, but my friend and Mentor Dr. Ian McNaughton has rightly taught me that grieving is a process for the living. So here’s my memorial to Hugh.


Hugh Edward Maurice Paul Quetton


More powerful than you can possibly imagine


OBITUARY: Devoted husband of 52 years of Frances (Lee-Jones); son of Godfrey and Kitty Quetton. Beloved father of Tim (Suzy Trainor), Kate (David Whyte) and Matthew (Leslie Comrie) and grandfather of Spencer, Laura, Emma, Meg, Theo and Celeste. Hugh was born in England in 1926. When WWII broke out, he was sent to New Hampshire, where he attended Holderness School before entering Yale University. In 1943, Hugh returned to England to train with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. On release as Lieutenant after service in India and Assam, he returned to Yale, graduating with majors in English and History (Class of 1945W). Hugh soon settled in Montreal, and in 1953 built what was said to be Canada's first fiberglass-bodied sports car. He became a commissioner of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal and Vice-President of the Canadian Club of Montreal, and had a successful career in public relations with Texaco and BP Canada. Hugh and his family moved to Toronto in 1980; he retired to Victoria in 1994, where he was an active member of the Burma Star Association, Newcomers Club and the Union Club. At Hugh's request, there will be a private interment at Royal Oak Burial Park.