Obituary for J.Peter Rahaman
John Peter Rahaman passed away peacefully on October 15, 2017 surrounded by his loving family in Mission Viejo, CA. Born on July 2, 1949 in London, England, son of Habib Rahaman and Mary Anne (aka Maureen) Gillhooly. Survived by his younger brother Eamon and wife Sakina in England and their two children Chontelle and Tony. Beloved husband of Monique Rahaman for 29 years. Loving father of Alexander and Camilla. Doting grandfather of Freddie, Bruno, Charlotte and Magnus. Cherished Father-In-Law of Amelia Rahaman and Garrett MacDonald. Caring uncle of Fanny Quehe and Cara De Benedictis.
Peter lived in Norway for a couple of years with his first wife OLaug Kjeldal. While living there he learned Norwegian which helped him secure his first job in the travel industry. Peter moved from London in 1982, and lived in New Rochelle and White Plains for many years with a two year stint in Chicago, IL. He also spent three months in New Delhi, India in 2001 while on assignment to relocate an office of the British Tourist Authority.
As a member of Skall and as past President, Peter made many lifelong friends and travelled extensively. In his youth Peter had worked for Walt Disney, Travelers International (land tour operator for TWA). He also met wonderful friends and colleagues while working at the British Tourist Authority in NY for many years and Rail Europe from which he recently retired. He was a lover of world travel, soccer, fine food, books, history, film and all things James Bond. We miss him dearly as well as his gift of gab and his great sense of humor.
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My dad was born 68 years ago in London.
John Peter Rahaman was raised in England, he was half Indian, half Irish... half muslim, half catholic. It is a very rare mix now, let alone in 1949 – I think now, in 2017, the world would be a better place with more cultural mixes like Dad
He met my mum, another immigrant from Norway and built a life with me and then my sister Camilla. He tried a few years working in a factory in rural Norway, loving my Mum’sfamily ...but really it was too rural and they moved back toLondon. Mum and Dad were very young when they met and itdidn’t work out. He was heartbroken, a young man alone and vulnerable. It was time to build a new life
As a young boy I was so sad he left for America in 1981. Buthis bold move eventually opened up a new world to hischildren.. who now live or have lived here.
England isn’t a land built by immigration and I am glad thathe found one that was. He was suddenly surrounded by peoplewith similar mixed heritages, finding a place where peopletake you for who you are, and dont judge you by your accentor the school you went to.
He never enjoyed that part of England and I am glad he founda new life. Although I know Dad was proud I had made it to a good English school and University, I’m sure secretly stickingtwo fingers up to the Establishment he had left behind.
Here.. he met wonderful friends from the travel industry, and of course his second wife Monique. Together they built a wonderful life in New Rochelle, becoming a part of thefantastic DeBenedictus clan...He was their Trouble O7, and they welcomed him, as well as me and my sister, with openarms. He couldn’t have asked for a better way to feel home in his adopted country, not alone any more..
I don’t know his working life as well as some of you... and amvery grateful to his great friends Nigel and Andy for theirspeeches and stories, and from talking to some of you last night.
The words people have written about him in email and on Facebook are really touching to all of us. They tell a story of a much loved, but also very well respected man. Witty, largerthan life, always good company.. an icon
Importantly to me they talk of a great mentor. Someone whohelped people new to NYC or to the travel industry, sharinginsight and contacts openly and unconditionally.
He loved to make introductions ! For Dad the pleasure was in giving and feeling the warmth of appreciation. Deep down hewanted to be loved and that was the only reward he cared for
He had only just retired last year. He had enjoyed his travelcareer so much, he wasn’t sure what he would do to fill hisdays. He just wanted to be out there with people, talking, joking .....But knowing Dad, he would have found a way..
I want to thank Monique for caring for Dad through this toughlast year. Camilla and I visited as often as we could, but youwere there literally every step of the way.
Thank you for organising last night and today as well. It must have been so hard to focus on the many details when you are just heartbroken... We are all here for Dad ...but please letsraise a glass to toast Monique
Everyone here knows Dad had a fantastic sense of humour. Good times and bad, he was thinking of a way to make you laugh
I came to his hospital in Manhattan after his amputation.... Now this is a major procedure. He sat in his chair, chatting asif nothing had happened.... I actually thought he looked welland tõld him so. “Yes thanks... well I have lost 12 pounds”.... I stared blankly until I realised he was cracking a joke, and a good one !
Dad loved getting to know everyone he met: if you had a name badge, his brain was whirring. Nurses had no chance. Isthat an Irish name? Oh, which part of Ireland. He was off. making that person feel special and interesting. In his last days nurses from a different ward he had arrived in werecrossing the hospital to come and see how he was.
After the operation, when he was undergoing chemo and I called to see how he was. Dad would start talking, not abouthimself, but the physio nurse, their background, how he hadjoined the dots. I would grow impatient......But Dad how are you?
On reflection I realise why he would be talking about thisnurse I had never met. To Dad, every interaction mattered. Every person was interesting, someone to know better, toshare a joke with. And what a wonderful testament to hischaracter that is. We could all take a leaf from his genuinelove of people.
When Dad passed he was surrounded by the ones he loved in sunny Orange Country California. They had travelled fromthe far corners of the earth to get there to see him, talk to him..just be with him. We all loved him.
He had time to say his good byes, express his wishes, makearrangements. Monique even has instructions to return a library book! ..Through these brutally tough last days, heshowed incredible courage and humility, he kept calm, nevercomplained, was lucid and he was just Dad.
Weak of voice, struggling to breathe, but still thinking abouteveryone else. How did you sleep? How was your flight? ...Even his last words were thinking about others. I had lost a sweater and the hospital was freezing – he roused himself a last time and we realised he was saying that he had someclothes. And in the cupboard I found a sweater – one tocherish and keep me warm always.
It is so sad to stand here talking about my father, a man, wholoved so much of life: a nice pint in an old wooden pub, a good meal in any standard of restaurant, travelling the world, shopping for an italian süit, putting on a favourite CD, kickinga football or watching the big game, engaging in a debate on world politics, reading a good history book and of coursewatching a great movie, preferably with a Bond in it.
And of course.... he loved the people in his life so much. Hispeers, colleagues, his friends, his family, his grandchildren – where are you Freddie Bruno, Charlotte and Magnus?
Always know.. he loved you all so much.
I got a fortune cookie yesterday, more of a proverb cookie. Itsaid any man can make a buck, but only a few can make a difference... I think Dad made a difference. He touched and positively affected so many lives. He lives lõng as a greatinfluence in all our hearts.
Dad wanted all this today and yesterday, it was part of his last wishes. He would have been so happy to see you all herecelebrating his life. Let us remember a wonderful, generous, handsome and stylish, charming and witty, legend of a man.
John, Peter, Dad, Pops – he is watching us all from above, satin his Lazy Boy with his beloved Chelsea on in thebackground, beer and nuts in händ.
We love you so so much, we miss you, and you will be in ourhearts.. forever.