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Sean Lett: 1972-2023

November 24, 1972 - October 28, 2023

Sean Lett, longtime Supervisor of Technical Services for the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts and actor in the 1995 film Billy Madison, has passed away. A memorial service is set for this weekend.

Sean Joseph Lett, affectionately known to most as "Bean", was born on November 24, 1972 in Milton, Ontario, and was adopted shortly thereafter by Terry and Joanne Lett.  

He grew up in Oakville with his parents, three siblings (Kelli, Bekki, and Drew), and various family pets. Sean was a rambunctious, freckle-faced kid who was always up to and into something; it usually involved his bike, being outside, and being with his friends.

As a child, Sean spent many summer days at the family cottage on Six Mile Lake where his love for the outdoors and cottage life grew. Swimming in the lake, boat rides, waterskiing, and campfires made Sean happiest. 

Sean made many friends during his school years, and cherished those friendships for the years that followed. His "all are welcome" attitude, sense of humour, comedic delivery, and love for "stupid movies" as he called them, created many unforgettable memories for those lucky enough to have known him.

It was not uncommon, in recent years, for "the boys" to get together and relive the memories of these years, often laughing to the point of tears wondering how they even survived. Chalet weekends, garage parties, music festivals, ski vacations, impromptu road trips were the norm for Sean and he embraced this life to the fullest.  

After leaving school, Sean was lucky enough to find his way to the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts (OCPA) as a co-op student. Here he discovered his true calling as a theatre technician.

Under the guidance of two very special men, Keith Freiter and Joe Henning, Sean developed his skills and reputation in the backstage theatre world.

In his early days working at the OCPA, he was given a movie audition ad for what would become the 1995 film Billy Madison with Adam Sandler, then filming in Oshawa. Even without any acting experience, Lett got the part playing the Grade 12 O'Doyle in the movie. The film went on to be a huge box office success.

Also with Keith and Joe’s not-so-subtle involvement, Sean met his wife, Michelle, while both were working at the theatre. The two were married in 2004 and welcomed their only child, Erin, in 2006. The family lives in Burlington with their many furry friends but remains very connected to Oakville.

Sean’s commitment, hard work, patience, and attention to detail led him to a very successful, and enjoyable, career at the OCPA that spanned over 30 years. He was blessed to work with some people he was able to also call friends.

Sean was actively involved with the live theatre industry through the Ontario Presents Technical Director’s Group and Rec & Culture Joint Health and Safety Committee, but he especially enjoyed supporting the local theatre and dance companies.

With a heavy heart, illness forced him to leave the role of Supervisor Technical Services in 2022. 

When he wasn’t at work, Sean loved to be at the cottage - any cottage. Before buying a house, Sean bought a cottage on Pine Lake in the Haliburton Highlands. There he continued to share his love for the outdoors with friends, but more importantly, with his daughter, Erin.

Those 3 hour road trips to and from the cottage with Sean and Erin were accompanied by hours of classic rock music and an inevitable stop for dino nuggets and butter tarts. This was the start of their special father-daughter bond.

More than just the red hair, the two of them shared an inextricable link through music. Sean often remarked "How do you know this song?" and Erin would reply, "You used to play it in the truck." 

It was not uncommon at the dinner table for Sean and Erin to turn the conversation to music history, resulting in very loud eye-rolls from Michelle. She might not know her multiplication facts, but thanks to Sean Erin knows every Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin song.  Sean was a very proud father and loved nothing more than watching Erin dance en pointe from the wings.

After many years on Pine Lake, Sean and the family finally returned home to Six Mile Lake with a small cottage on Cunnings Island. Evening boat rides and free roaming dogs (and one cat) always brought smiles to his face. He was truly happiest there and even reconnected with friends from his childhood. Boat-in movies, jigsaw puzzle swaps, a concert on the dock; Sean quickly established himself as a true 6-miler.

In September 2018, Sean was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to his brain. Complications from surgery nearly took him then. Thankfully he survived and made an incredible recovery that few expected of him…but those who knew Sean knew how stubborn he could be and were not surprised he returned to work and cottaging in just a few short months.

Sean’s condition remained stable for five years. The gift of time allowed Sean to see more of his family and friends, golf, ski with Erin, travel, and cottage on Six Mile Lake and Tony Lake; but more importantly it allowed all of us to spend more time with him. There will be a large, O’Doyle sized hole in many hearts.

Sean leaves behind his beloved wife, Michelle Riviere, and their daughter, Erin Riviere Lett, as well as his father, Terry (Anne Quick), sisters Kelli (Anthony Cirone) and Bekki (Calvin Czarnecki), sister-in-law Lori (Andy Doersam), and his nieces and nephews (Emma, Claire, Graydon, Alec, Sophie, Maddy, and Nolan). Sean is predeceased by his mother, Joanne and brother, Drew.  

To recognize his many years of work serving the town of Oakville, the town says that, "Flags at all Town of Oakville facilities will be flown at half-mast until sunrise on Monday, November 6, 2023, in memory of Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts employee, Sean Lett, Supervisor Technical Services."

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Sean’s memory to the Burlington or Oakville & Milton Humane Society.

The family would like to, "thank all the first responders who tended to Sean's physical needs and my (Michelle's) emotional ones; they provided comfort and hope."

A celebration of life will take place on Sunday, November 5, 2023 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm at Monaghan’s Pub, 1289 Marlborough Court, Oakville. The family asks those attending to "please wear your favourite plaid shirt to remember Bean."