Derek Kumar Budhoo was born July 11 1982 of Guyanese parents and died last Wednesday, July 21, at the age of 40. Derek was Charlie Budhoo’s only son, who declined his father’s offer to continue his college education and instead opted to intern at his father’s grocery store, the well-known Charlie’s West Indian Foods grocery stores in Mississauga.
Derek graduated with a degree in Business Administration but, in his father’s words, Derek thought otherwise: “I don’t want to go back to college anymore, I want to do business.” He got his way, and settled into a career as a grocer, bringing to bear all the knowledge he gained in school.
Apart from being a wonderful son and brother to his two sisters, Derek, at the behest of his father, took to “real” business with the same passion and intelligence he brought to his studies. In his words, “he wanted to bring the business to a different level.”
Anthony Joseph, publisher of Caribbean Camera, describes his relationship with Derek as a very positive one. Joseph said, “Derek would come up with new ideas about advertising. He was quick to improve on ideas, especially insisting that the customer should be the focus of anything he [Anthony] did as the owner of Papa Joe’s Bakery. It was the finest piece of advice I received. And that idea has guided me all the years in business. He was more than a business relation, he was a friend.”
When his father turned 65, Derek, together with his sisters, Sharda and Anita, took the helm of Charlie’s and proceeded to firm up the footing of the store his father built.
In March 2020, Derek was diagnosed with lung cancer, and despite the family’s best efforts in seeking the best treatment they could find, both in Canada and the US, this was a hard battle to win.
Derek was a bright, sensitive and caring young man, who gave generously of his time and resources. He could be depended on to make time for those who he cared for despite shouldering the responsibility as head of the Budhoo team.
According to his father Charlie, it was no surprise that Derek in his last days he was still thinking of the welfare of the store. According to his dad he was thinking of growing the business. At his bedside he said to his sisters that if the business is to keep growing “you have to work smarter to keep the business growing… and you’ll have to make it better as well. You must be honest with yourself, with money and everything else.”
The family proudly stated that “he was loved by many and will be greatly missed.
He was a beautiful, kind, hard-working young man. He was an incredible son, brother and uncle.”
Derek was cremated last Monday at the Lotus funeral home in Etobicoke. He is remembered by his father Charlie, mother Sue, sisters Sharda and Anita, brother-in law Lawrence, nieces and nephews Steven, Ashley, Brandon, Jacob and Sophia, family and friends.