J Fryer

Nelson Fryer

Friday, September 11th, 1953 - Friday, March 20th, 2020
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Fryer, James Nelson
Passed away suddenly at his home in Toronto, on March 20, 2020 in his 67th year. He is sadly missed by his brother Barry (Beth), his nephew Cameron (Sonja), and niece Fiona. Nelson’s career spanned a number of civic organizations, including the City of York, the Ministry of Health, and St. Michael’s Hospital, where he was the Director of Employee & Labour Relations for 15 years. He was a respected and deeply valued colleague who was widely recognized for his kindness, practical wisdom, empathy, and support for all who sought his counsel. He was a mentor and a steadfast friend. His family and many friends will miss his presence in their lives.

A Celebration of Nelson’s Life will take place at a future date.

Online condolences at Donations may be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association or the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.
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Private Condolence

Robert Onizuka

Posted at 11:36pm
My deepest condolences to all of Nelson's loved ones.
I had known Nelson for a long time, but It has been through our weekly breakfasts and lunches along with Cha Chyang over these past several years that our friendship really grew. Nelson enjoyed telling stories from his long career in human resources or from the days of his youth as a musician, and I always looked forward to hearing about them. His sharp mind, wit and insights kept us entertained for hours. Nelson, you were a great friend and will be missed immensely.
Robert Onizuka

Chyang Wen

Posted at 07:14pm
Here’s to my dear friend Nelson Fryer
Gone too quickly, in a funeral pyre
Over 40 years we have know each other
To me, he was like a brother
Though born of a different mother
Yet, we saw eye-to-eye with one another

For long he toiled, giving his all for St Mike’s
Some dislikes but many more likes
The “harem” he was renowned to surround
The same ones he helped groom from the ground
To develop their skills and desires
To be professionals as they aspired

Mostly, I remember him for his friendship
Some days it seemed like we were joined at the hip
In golfing games, we took on many hooligans
Never lost due to Spring, Summer and Fall Mulligans
His humour for old jokes were the best
Many were heard. All in jest

Of late, we were a band of three
Rob, Nelson and of course me
For expensive breakfasts we did set forth
Scrambled eggs, hash browns and sausages of some sort
Then dally we did for many an hour
Till time to Harvey’s for lunch to devour
(An apple pie, some days he would buy
For me, for the apple of his eye!)

I will miss you my dear friend
For who else is there to comprehend
Who else can see with me, eye-to-eye
Much too early to say good-bye.


Sharon Sparks

Posted at 06:27pm
I am a retired nursing manager from St. Mikes and worked quite closely with Nelson. It was very upsetting to hear that he passed away. Nelson was outstanding at his job with employee relations and on many occasions kept me out of trouble. His sense of humour was great and his dedication to his profession was amazing. There was never a time he would not help if you needed it. I will miss our impromptu conversations. My sincere condolences to the family.

Larry Miyata

Posted at 08:29pm
Our condolences to you, Beth, Fiona, Cameron and Sonja on the sudden passing of your brother. Our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.
Larry and Val

Bruce Gardner

Posted at 11:28am
When you’ve known a friend for decades, it’s easy to take for granted who they are and to think that they will always be there. Until one day they aren’t and you suddenly remember the qualities that made them a friend at the start and kept them a friend ever since.

Nelson was: Smart; witty; funny; always good company (over a burger at lunch or on a week-long ski trip); even tempered; open-minded and tolerant (except toward vegetables and other “exotic” foods); self-sufficient; stubborn; full of good anecdotes; creative (recently resuming his youthful interest in creating music); considerate; often wise in advice to others; reliable and trustworthy; honest (except in his extensive use of mulligans in a round of golf); athletic (softball, ice hockey, ball hockey, tennis, golf, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, biking, even broomball); knowledgeable on a wide range of topics; opinionated on a wide range of topics (but always open to debate); proud of his niece and nephew; willing to overlook faults in his friends; supportive and encouraging; pleased with the success of his younger HR colleagues; (very) unschooled in the culinary arts; unwilling to drive anything but a Volkswagen (apart from a brief, doomed dalliance with a Land Rover); possessed of an encyclopedic recollection of 1960’s TV shows; blessed with a good head of hair (which fact was often pointed out to his more follically-challenged friends); early-to-rise every day; hard-working and proud of taking very few sick days in 40 years; respected; resistant to modernity in sports equipment (his skates, ice-hockey stick and sweater dated from the 1970’s); disdainful of automatic transmissions; modest in his lifestyle choices; happy to meet friends for breakfast, lunch or supper; undeterred by life-long health challenges (eyesight, diabetes) or recent ones (badly broken leg); and always a source of positive energy to others.

The most satisfying part of Nelson’s life was his work in HR, especially his time at St. Michael’s Hospital. He loved the challenges, the opportunity to make things better and, most of all, the people with whom he worked. Many of the HR staff became his friends, whether they stayed at St. Mike’s or moved onto other employers. He took his role seriously and led by example but had fun at the same time. Nelson had the strength of character to root out the bad apples, to stand up to the occasional hospital bully and to provide support to the deserving.

Nelson was a faithful son, brother and uncle; a dedicated HR professional; a mentor to many of his staff; and a loyal friend.

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