Dr. Nan-Sang Ho died on Saturday, August 22, 2015, in Victoria, BC. He was 79. He was born in Changsha, China, on December 2, 1935, during a period of wars and revolution and these events led to his father’s death while Nan-Sang was young. Later, he lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong. He survived tuberculosis and became an accomplished gymnast, specializing in the parallel bars. He earned a black belt in judo and developed an interest in the sport of fencing, which would become a major passion in his life.

He came to Canada in the mid-1960s and earned a PhD in physics from the University of Toronto.  At a fencing tournament in London, ON, he met Veronika Hoppenworth, who was travelling the world after leaving her home in Germany. They married in Toronto in 1968 and started a family. In 1980/81, they moved to Victoria, where Nan-Sang taught physics at Royal Roads Military College.

Upon his arrival in Victoria, he and Veronika established and maintained many fencing programs, including those at the University of Victoria, the YM/YWCA, and various recreational centres. For more than 30 years, he taught fencing on a volunteer basis to thousands of people in the community and for the past 15, he even provided daily lessons at his home in Oak Bay. He helped many students achieve strong competitive careers and coached one to the 2012 Olympics. He also remained a competitive fencer well into his sixties, participating in tournaments across Canada and internationally.

He was a larger-than-life and unforgettable personality and a beloved son and father. He dedicated many years to caring for his ailing mother, who came to live in Victoria until she passed away in 1998. Nan-Sang also studied constantly, voraciously throughout his life, subjects ranging from Chinese philosophy and medicine to neuroscience and quantum physics -anything that caught his interest and stimulated his considerable intellect.

He is survived by his wife, Veronika, and sons, Christopher and Oliver.

A memorial reception will be held on Wednesday, September 2, from noon to 2 p.m. at McCall Bros. Family Centre, Johnson and Vancouver Streets. Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Bros. Funeral Home


  • Eric White

    Thank you, Coach.

    You looked out for us and kept edging our interest in your sport forward. I enjoyed how you related elementary principles, but kept an emphasis on learning through an opponent. It took me some time to really appreciate your approach, but after my first tournament, I realized how sound and how deep it was. So, thank you for your time, your help, your expertise, and your wisdom.

    You were right, Coach.

    My condolences,


  • Monica Peterson

    I can’t even begin to find the right words to describe how much of an influence Mr.Ho had on my life and, of course, my fencing. We spent many hours together and his dedication and belief in me was always unwavering. My deepest condolences to Veronika, Chris an Oliver.

  • Patricia (Trish) Krol

    Veronika; wishing you, Chris and Oliver strength at this time. Nan made a significant contribution to the community and will be missed.

    Patricia (Trish) Krol

  • Joseph Kovacs

    I am very saddened to hear of Mr. Ho’s passing. My sympathies go out to Veronika and family. I enjoyed watching Mr. Ho give his fencing lessons. Those lessons were for many years a central part of my family’s life. He touched our life through fencing and I will miss him. His kindness to Amanda is not forgotten. He will always stand out in my memories as a very fine gentleman. Joseph Kovacs

  • Bob & Kim Lamb

    We are very sorry to hear about Nan’s passing. He was a bigger than life character and for many years was a large part of our lives. We will always cherish the time we spent with him. He will be missed! Our hearts go out to all of you. Big hugs ~ Bob & Kim

  • Jan and Roy Wiebe

    Jacob phoned to tell us of Dr. Ho’s passing. Our thoughts are with you , Chris and Oliver during this very difficult and sad time. Jan and Roy Wiebe

  • Asha Maharaj

    Our thoughts are with our dear colleague Oliver and his family during this time. The husband and father that you have lost seems to have made an impact on many lives across many countries and decades. I hope that this richness of his life that exceeds his lifetime will bring some comfort to you at this time.

    Asha Maharaj

  • Thelma Fayle

    Dear Veronika and family,

    Sincere condolences on your loss.

    As one of the thousands of fencing students in Victoria who appreciated learning from Dr. Ho with a course at the Y in the 80’s and another in the 90’s; I would like to say how much I admired him (and you) for all you have both given to our city through the decades. Your generous spirits created a fencing community that was so much fun for so many!

    I will remember Dr. Ho fondly. He always struck me as a teacher with a kind heart.

    With respect,
    Thelma Fayle

  • The Ospan Family

    Dear Veronika, Christopher and Oliver, please accept our deepest condolences for the loss of our beloved coach Dr. Ho. He was a real teacher and a Man to look up to. In the short time that Deniza was trained by him, he became her role model and inspiration. We will remember him always and miss him very much. His legacy will continue on through the fencing community in Victoria and the future victories by his students will be dedicated to the memory of their great Teacher.

  • Donna Saworski

    It was with great sadness that I heard about the passing of this amazing man. He touched so many lives and was a huge contributor to the sport of fencing. He had great insight and I benefitted from the tips he gave me about my fencing. He will be greatly missed. I hope his family can take some comfort in the knowledge of how respected and loved he was. Sending big hugs to Veronika, Oliver and Christopher.

  • Nadia ibrashi

    To the family of Dr. Nan-Sang-Ho
    Dear Oliver and Kyla:
    I’m sorry for your loss. Dr. Nan-Sang-Ho’s life is the story of a life well lived with its amazing accomplishments. His legacy lives on through his family, friends and students. May he rest in peace.
    Nadia Ibrashi

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