Ted Hewlett (1936-2015): A personal tribute

My father, Ted Hewlett, past president and one of the founding members of BC Parents and Teachers for Life, passed away last Thursday after a seven-month-long battle with cancer. A man of principle and faith, Dad cared deeply for his family, his profession, and the health of the society in which he lived, and was concerned by what he saw as our society’s abandonment of the Judaeo-Christian values on which it had been founded and by what he felt was the deterioration and, at times, the deliberate undermining of our freedom of belief, of conscience, and of speech. This led him to apply his gift for writing and his love of debate to the defense of a view of the world that saw life as a gift from God and that saw the education of the children who were themselves that gift of life as a right and a responsibility given by God, along with the gift of children, to the children’s parents.

My father was always a bit of an “early adopter” when it came to technology, long before the term “early adopter” even existed. From reel-to-reel tape recorders to slide projectors, from Super 8 movie cameras to VHS video-cameras, from electric typewriters to personal computers, Dad was never an expert but was always excited by the possibilities that new technologies opened up for us. So, when I introduced Dad to the wonderful world of self-publishing on the internet, it seemed a natural fit, and an appropriate way to thank him for introducing me to technology and computers. This website, bcptl.org, was established sometime around the year 2000 – a time-frame memorable to me because I used Microsoft’s then-new FrontPage 2000 web-publishing software to set it up. Dad stuck with FrontPage 2000 for years after Microsoft abandoned the program, until I finally convinced him in 2011 to upgrade to a WordPress-based website.

Dad’s dedication to the mission of the organization he helped set up can be seen in the simple statistic that, since the WordPress version of this site was set up, he averaged about five posts per week (one per work-day!). Obviously, given the controversial nature of the subject matter he posted or re-posted, not everyone on the internet agreed with everything he posted – and Dad was fine with that. He was always interested in discussion, and, while often disappointed in the level of discussion that the internet seemed to engender, he never lost faith in the internet’s potential as a medium for intellectual exchange and positive influence. It was not uncommon for him to eagerly relate to me exchanges he had had in bcptl.org’s comments section whenever a particularly heated or thought-provoking discussion ensued on the site.

Not that Dad and I were always in agreement ourselves (though we disagreed more on means than on ends), but, again, Dad was OK with disagreement as long as it was in the pursuit of the Truth. He would often remark that if two people were in complete agreement about everything, one of the two wasn’t thinking. He was an interlocuter from a nobler age, when one used rhetoric to persuade others of the Truth to the best of one’s ability – and assumed that one’s opponent was doing the same.

If you, gentle reader, as you peruse my father’s posts on this site and on others, believe the best of him and assume that he was pursuing what he believed was best for you, you will not be far wrong – nor will you be far from what he would have been doing for you.

Memory eternal.

Fr. Justin (Edward) Hewlett.

Note: A memorial service will be held for my father on Saturday, August 1st at 10:30pm at Cloverdale Baptist Church. All are welcome.