The last time I saw Leo, we were catching up at an IHOP in Port Coquitlam with a friend during the summer after our second year of university. I remember catching him up on the last year, and hearing his stories about the amazing time he was having at UVic (University of Victoria). He happily talked about his friends, the band he was playing in, and how much the path he was on excited him. He was planning on moving off campus with some friends, and I could not have been happier for him. Of all the people I knew, Leo was the one who truly deserved the amazing experiences he was having at university, and to be in a place in his life that was full of passion, friends, and new experiences.
In high school, where we became closer friends through band, and during classes, Leo always had a unique personality. He didn’t fit any stereotype in high school, but he wouldn’t change himself to fit the mold. He always had a grin, was eager to see you, and calling him “determined” was an understatement. He would have signature elements of his persona that may have been jokes at first, became endearing memories of his presence. The wall of hair propped up in front of his forehead was iconic, and his catchphrases were unforgettable. But with such a unique personality, came some social awkwardness. That would not stop Leo, however, from being ever friendly, and willing to support or help you. I don’t think I ever remember him being selfish, or condescending. But I also knew he needed to be in an environment of like-minded, passionate individuals to really allow his potential to shine, and I was happy he found that at UVic.
Potential. That is what makes me feel the most sorrow about losing a person and friend like Leo Chan. Out of the people that navigated the waters of high school I felt like he was the one that had the greatest potential. When he told you about his dreams and aspirations, you believed it was possible for him to get there, and I couldn’t say that about many people. I also knew that decades down the road, if we were to catch up at a high school reunion, I would look forward to hearing about his life the most. No matter what life situation I would be in at the time, whether good or bad, hearing about Leo’s eventual success, would have made me beam with pride. In that moment I would know that Leo earned everything he received, and wouldn’t have taken the easy road to get there. He would have stuck to his values, and kept himself grounded along the way. Though now that moment will be in solemn remembrance of what could have been, his character and quality as a human being still shone brightly up until the night he left us. To this day, I am still proud to call him my friend.
– Josh Yang