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Real estate tycoon and Olympian Thio Gim Hock dies, aged 82

Real estate tycoon and Olympian Thio Gim Hock dies, aged 82

Olympian and real estate tycoon Thio Gim Hock died last Friday. He was 82.

The former chief executive of real estate developer OUE died from a blood disorder and kidney failure, according to his family.

Mr Thio helmed OUE from 2007 until his retirement at the end of last year, according to Singapore Exchange filings.

His wife, Dr Thio Su Mien, 81, a former law dean at the National University of Singapore (NUS), told The Straits Times: “He was involved in the transformation of old Singapore to the modern city (of) today, first in the then Port of Singapore Authority reclamation works and later (by) changing the waterfront where Change Alley used to stand. (He participated) in (building) the historical land sites of our nation.”

The family held a private burial for Mr Thio last Friday and they intend to hold a memorial service when the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

Aside from his accomplishments in the corporate arena, Mr Thio was a keen swimmer and water polo player. He represented Singapore in water polo at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and won the gold medal at the 1967 South-east Asian Peninsular Games.

His son Thio Shen Yi said that when he was growing up, his father took more interest in his sporting achievements than his academic results.

The 53-year-old lawyer said: “He was a sports psychologist before that became fashionable. But my biggest takeaways were from how he lived his life – valuing fairness, and always winning with grace and losing with honour.”

The late Mr Thio’s daughter, Professor Thio Li-ann, 52, recalled with fondness the times her father took her swimming as a child.

A PEOPLE PERSON

He cared passionately about other people, about what happens to all of us after we shuffle off our mortal coils… He was a man of faith and integrity. That to me, is an incredible legacy to have.

PROFESSOR THIO LI-ANN, on her father, Mr Thio Gim Hock.

Said the NUS law professor: “He swam like a dolphin, so graceful, so powerful and strong, just cutting through the waters in the swimming pool.

“I remember resting against him, my strong dad carrying me on his back as he swam, the sun bright, the water warm and welcoming; I remember feeling absolutely safe and secure, giggling.

“It’s not something I feel much, in the harshness of today’s world. But I remember this and I will drink from this and draw strength from it, until we meet again and I am free to giggle and rejoice with him once more.”

Mr Thio was also a staunch Christian. Speaking of his father’s faith, his son said: “He truly walked the talk until his dying breath. It’s a legacy I’m going to try my best to live up to.”

Prof Thio said: “He cared passionately about other people, about what happens to all of us after we shuffle off our mortal coils… He was a man of faith and integrity. That, to me, is an incredible legacy to have.”

This content was originally published here.

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