Health And Family

In eulogy for daughter, Henry Sy Jr. describes Jan Catherine's spirited life

Jan Catherine Sy
Jan Catherine Sy, an equestrienne and official of SM Development Corp., passed away at age 29 on March 18, 2021.
SMDC via Facebook

Equestrienne Jan Catherine Sy, daughter of SM Prime chairman Henry "Big Boy" Sy. Jr. and granddaughter of late tycoon Henry Sy, passed away on Thursday night, March 18, 2021.

She suffered from a serious infection that caused sepsis, a condition that damages the tissues and potentially lowers blood pressure to a life-threatening level. She was 29.

Besides being a competitive horse-rider, Jan served as assistant vice president at SM Development Corp. the real estate arm of her family's vast holdings linked to the SM brand.

The following is a eulogy written by her father.


I wish to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support, prayers and striving beside me and my family, the doctors and medical teams, in the effort to save the life of my eldest daughter, Jan Catherine Sy. Many of you responded to the timely need for transfusions over and over. For this we are deeply touched and grateful.

Jan being on lockdown with us during the past year in this pandemic was truly a gift.

She took care of us her parents as most young people do especially of our health and well-being, our IT needs and driving for us whenever needed, making sure we exercised as she skated beside us on our daily walks.

She bought us bikes and helmets, encouraged us to swim, herself being such a disciplined health buff and athlete. She nagged us to eat healthily and sleep early. She was joyful, kind and patient with us her parents and the most wonderful to be around especially in the past few months even as she prepared for her wedding to Jack.

I cannot begin to explain the extraordinary turn of events that struck my family.

All I can say is, it has broken me.

The proud man that I was was focused on three things of this earth.

  1. Money, which always was my main concern.
  2. Relationships—perhaps my intense attachment to my family was also another form of idolatry.
  3. Prestige. I took pride and satisfaction in accomplishments and being the best at what I do.

Jan, since she was a little girl, was the one who would keep asking me to come with her to church.

She grew up to be my [executive assistenat] at work and at home, and more so the past year, made life so pleasant under the circumstances we all now face because of the pandemic.

By God's grace and compassion, He allowed us to speak to Jan moments before she was intubated and she said she was ready to meet Jesus, giving a double thumbs up and then pointing to the sky saying "with Jesus."

Jan loved God and she loved everyone around her. She had so many plans to build places and spaces where those less fortunate can experience and enjoy things she herself being privileged, enjoyed growing up with.

She often told me how it pained her to see the sufferings of the poor and how she wanted to be able to do her part in alleviating such. She wanted to build hospitals, schools and other facilities for them to help restore the dignity of human life God intended.

At this moment, I cannot see and understand why the Lord took her home at this point in her young life, but God's message to me these past few days is clear—to trust Him with all my heart [and] not to lean on my own understanding, but in everything and all my ways, to acknowledge Him.

Yes, Jan was never mine to begin with. She was loaned to us for 29 years and what a beautiful gift she was from God.

Her earnest desire was for all to be saved for eternity. To come to personally and experientially KNOW and TRUST in her Saviour Jesus Christ, just as she did, when she accepted His free gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) through the forgiveness of all her sins... through the Cross, believing in the finished work of Christ Jesus. (John 19:30)

Just like myself, during this pandemic, through the GoViral movement, she began leading a number of small groups in Bible study among her co-workers and friends and even in our own family devotions, encouraging others to do the same and get to KNOW the Jesus of the Bible.

We are comforted by the knowledge that she is rejoicing now and safe in His presence in heaven. She had this confidence and assurance from the very start. God took her at the peak of her spiritual life, a life of fullness and abundance and no regrets.

Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me shall live, even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26)

My daughter Jan lives and will never die. We can never lose her because she has eternal life in Jesus and no one can snatch her out of His hand. (John 10:27-30) Her physical body may have died but her soul and spirit now live safely in her new home in heaven where there are no more tears.

In this I and my family rejoice, take comfort and strength, and look forward with expectation to celebrating Jesus together with her someday in His perfect and appointed time.

Meanwhile, being here on earth, the pain of separation, as sudden and frightening as it was, is real and unbearable. If not for the grace of knowing God's promises, and the love and prayers and support of the body of Christ, we would be completely lost.

Please do continue to pray for me and my family as we go through this difficult time in our lives. Thank you once again and we give all glory and praise to our good God and Heavenly Father. May He remind us truly to number our days and grant us a heart of wisdom. Cherish His blessings of family and loved ones.

He gives, He takes, my heart will choose to say, LORD BLESSED BE YOUR NAME! (Job 1:21)





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