Chandresh / Chandy


– 3 March 2024


Chandresh / Chandy / Scott / Hoekenga / Uganda / Howard

by Punya

Our beloved friend, father and grandfather Chandresh sudden left his body on 3 March 2024. Chandresh was known by most in the WA (Western Australian) Osho community as Chandy and by his grandchildren as Grandy Chandy. His family knew him as Scott and others as Howard.

I met Chandy at the Ranch in 1985. We were both in the tent crew carrying platforms to the marked spots up the hills. He was the team leader and was colour-blind. He placed me opposite him so I could find the spots and he could enjoy my cleavage as we managed the heavy platforms.

This started our relationship and for many years we enjoyed working together; especially gardening become a strength.

We were active in the Osho community in WA until, in 1990, we fostered the first of two babies with complex care needs. Chandy was a wonderful father when the boys were young. He worked hard making beautiful waterfalls and ponds. A very creative, hard-working man.

Here are some of the eulogy reading from family and a friend:

Old-Timing Man

by his youngest son, Ben

It was 1993 when I met Chandresh, or Old-Timing Man. I can’t say it was memorable because I was an infant. He, however, said it was a life-changing experience.

You may wonder why I called him Old-Timing Man, that’s because he would refer to me as Mung Bean Spout. We watched a loooot of kung fu movies.

My dad Chandy was not a sensible, responsible parent: he was a fun parent. When I was a child, he was the master of playtime. He willingly subjected himself to hours of wrestling and pillow-fights before bed.

One of his favorite bits of wisdom and advice that I often received was: “I’m a great role model for what NOT to do!”

This was usually said right before or after he did something wild. The things that he taught me not to do were as numerous as the stars; drive under the influence, ride a bicycle under the influence, ignore the riptide warnings at the beach, make advances on your son’s romantic partners, buy a trailer of mulch instead of groceries, don’t bother checking to make sure the room you’re entering has been built, or create an opposing argument because “someone’s gotta do it”.

Ever since I can remember, he always had that wild energy. From his ecstatic “far out man!” to the colorful attire, he was always the most eccentric person in the room. As could be expected I inherited much of this from him. When I was teenager, when my friends would meet him, their usual response was “THAT’S your dad? It all makes so much sense now!”

I learnt a lot from my Dad. I learnt how to be a playful parent, to engage with my kids not just as an authority figure or a mentor, but as a source of entertainment and wisdom. We will miss his cryptic Christmas name labels, off-key renditions of Jimmy Hendrix and Bob Dylan, the precariously-balanced DIY shelves and unfinished projects.

Farewell, Old-Timing Man, your kindness and your strangeness will be remembered by those you loved.


by one of his old friends, Bill

In a world of zig, Scott Hoekenga was fiercely, unalterably a zag. And you didn’t have to know him to know that. In high school he sported an Afro as high and wide as that of Angela Davis, but as yellow as a stick of butter under a floodlight.

He took off a year between high school and college to see, not London Paris Rome, but the dusty hashish dens of Afghanistan and the lofty trails of Nepal. As for religion, Scott Hoekenga (or Scott Uganda, as a friend occasionally joked) wasn’t going to be the pew-and-hymns type. He picked an Eastern guru – the kind attracted to flashy cars and nubile babes – as his guide to the meaning of life.

One of my sweetest memories of Uganda is when we took our first acid trip together. It was November of 1971. My folks were traveling and a grandmother was nominally keeping an eye on the house. I remember Scott and I just wandering around after dark through the leafy paradise of our neighborhood, said leaves being brown and covering the ground now, while the trees were angry stick figures throwing their arms against the starry sky.

We were sitting at the bottom of our yard and we must have been noisy, as my grandmother opened a window at one point and shouted for us to come in. But we just stayed out there, laughing and free and hallucinating. After midnight we finally did come in, and the next morning we drove downtown so I could buy my first (and only) pair of hippie boots. Because of the acid, before we got into the car he said, “I feel closer to you.” I can’t remember but I hope I replied to him the same.

After college he connected with that dubious guru and a woman from Australia, who led him into marriage and a life Down Under. He changed his first name to Chandresh. (What was it with the names? Hoekenga. Uganda. Chandresh!) I lost touch at that point and except for a return to Cincinnati for his dad’s funeral in the 1980s, I didn’t see him again or hear from him.

When cancer came some 10 years ago, I found him (via younger brother Alfred) on Facebook and we chatted a few times. I asked him (because journalists are trained to ask tactless questions) how he got bone marrow cancer, but he chose not to reply, saying only that he was in a hurry to be off to celebrate his guru’s birthday.

So I probably don’t know jack about Scott, because it was only a decade or so of hanging out together and that was long, long ago. But I do know he was very strong-minded, not a fence-straddler. He was inquisitive. He was brave. He was goofy. He was smart.

And I hope, Scott, all these qualities were with you as you navigated your final days and tripped from here to the beyond. This world will miss you.

A philosopher in temperament and longing

by his older brother Mark

I regret not knowing my brother better. As the oldest, I was out of the family house first (1964), and because of the age difference (Scott was only 10 when I left home), we only saw each other on the one or two times a year that I made it back to the family home. Even then, our interests rarely melded but we did both love to travel.

After high school Scott took off to Europe and beyond, winding up in Nepal, I think. I remember hearing from my father that Scott lost his passport in Germany while visiting with new friends because he left it in his backpack in a park, thinking that no one would take other peoples’ things. I found it unbelievable that anyone could be that trusting, but that was one of his traits in those days… seeing only the good in others.

Later on that trip Scott was in a motorcycle accident that was apparently quite serious. I don’t recall the details, but the resulting injuries extended his stay in Asia for quite a while. Perhaps that was when and how he found his enlightenment.

We lost our brother David in 1972 and shortly after that, Scott was also out of the house and pursuing his own vision of a life well lived. After the death of David, the family entered into a cattle ranching operation and Scott came out to work on the ranch. Here we finally connected. He was a hard worker and a quick learner. His stay was too short, but very fruitful from my point of view; I finally knew him as an adult, and though we had different philosophies on life, I respected his independence and work ethic.

I next saw Scott around 1980 after we had gotten out of the cattle business. I think this was just before he joined the group in Oregon and met Punya. Scott and Punya moved back to Australia after their marriage and unfortunately, he rarely made it back to the US. He and Punya brought Jesse up to Las Vegas in the 90’s and it was our first chance to meet.

Twice was for funerals of our parents, not especially happy reunions, but we did get to spend time to reconnect. For both of us there was an intense shared sense of loss, but I think Scott’s view of life made him better able to accept the inevitable. We cried together at our mother’s funeral, but also experienced some treasured moments of closeness. It was sad, but also thankful for the four remaining siblings to be together; a rare occasion.

We got to meet Ben in Florida and reconnect with Punya and Jesse. I remember sitting around in our garage (no smoking allowed in the house) and talking about everything and nothing.

Like every one of us, Scott had flaws. Both he and I shared an over fondness for alcohol at times, leading to some of our most serious transgressions and source of regret. Still, Scott did try to take care of others and make the world a better place. He worked hard at it much of his life. I think he was suited to be a philosopher in temperament and longing. I’ll remember him for that.

Scott’s departure will leave a big sense of regret: like losing my other brother, like losing my father, and then my mother, of what can never be in this lifetime… another chance to be together. Rest in peace and may your next chapter be joyful.

Kind-hearted big brother

by his younger brother Al

Howard Scott Hoekenga, aka Chandresh or Chandy was a kind-hearted, fun and loving big brother. He was 6 years older than me, so when I was little I looked to him for guidance and as my teacher. Older brothers Mark and David were already out on their own during most of my formative years.

Scott taught me how to ride a bike and how to throw and catch a baseball, football and basketball. We played pickle and Jarts in the backyard. We explored the woods and creek behind our home. He taught me how to find and catch snakes and crawdads. How to build tree houses and forts from our dad’s supply of plywood and 2x4s. He included his kid brother in neighborhood games of basketball, hide and seek, flashlight tag, and army.

Along with brothers Mark and David, he taught me to be tough. He taught me how to box and wrestle. He protected me when needed. He made me laugh and sometimes made me cry. He taught me good things, and like big brothers do, taught me some bad behavior as well. I had my first cigarette with Scott.

He taught me about the birds and the bees, because in the 1960s, my dad would never, ever talk about such things.

All to soon, Scott left home to start his own, independent life. He went to Europe with three friends after high school. David Davies, Bill Elder and Howard Schwartz. The trip was to be a month or two before going to college. They planned to hitchhike through Europe. But Scott soon moved on to Greece, Afghanistan and eventually Nepal. His friends went home, but Scott stayed on in Nepal. I think he made it home around Christmas that year.

Scott attended Grinnell College in Iowa the following year. At University, Scott became a seeker, or maybe it was his time in Asia, or maybe Scott was always seeking enlightenment. He studied Zen Buddhism and at some point found the Bhagwan Rajneesh. He left school to follow the Bhagwan to Antelope, Oregon. There he met and fell in love with Punya. They went to Hawaii, married, then moved to Australia in the mid-eighties.

I remember telling Scott, when he took the name Chandresh, that I would continue to call him Scott. He wasn’t angry and told me that was fine.

Well Chandy, I should have called you what you wanted. I hope you knew that I loved you, as you were. I miss you. Rest in peace brother.

Chandy’s body and mind

more by his beloved Punya

After a business break down his demons emerged and Chandy slid into clinical depression. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In 2000 he was seriously assaulted, which resulted in critical head injuries. He was on life support for 10 days and it took him about two years to be able to live independently again.

After his mental illness started I became his primary carer. His behavior over the years damaged a number of relationships, including family, and this was to last until 2019, when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

When he received the diagnosis for myeloma he was homeless in NSW and needed social support to receive a stem cell transplant. I agreed to support him again as his primary carer. He had the stem cell transplant in July 2019 and, although the procedure was successful, Chandy suffered from significant fatigue and deep depression for two years, mostly spending his time staying in bed. He needed a lot of care in this period.

In January 2020 we started the application for public housing for him. When homeless he had lost all his documents, including his passport and visa status that were needed for the application, plus when Covid spread around the world in March 2020, the American Embassy closed… With my support and that from his social worker, we finally got him into public housing in late 2020.

Chandy regained his life and energy and had three years of reasonable health. Unfortunately the stem cell transplant was no longer working and to manage the myeloma he started what became five chemo trials. Now being immuno-compromised, during this period Chandy had a number of emergency admissions to medically manage infections from viruses and, among others, a nasty flesh-eating bacterium.

After years of smoking, Chandy had also developed seriously compromised lungs; the doctor told him he had Swiss-cheese lungs. Until he had the right meds to manage this it impacted on his ability to get out and about. Chandy finally started to control his alcohol and smoking addictions and was able to repair also some of the damaged relationships in his past.

On his last appointment with his specialist which was on the Wednesday before he passed, he was told he was almost back to remission. That was such good news for him!

On the Friday before he passed, his sister had sent early photos of him and his family. I watched him looking at them with tears in his eyes and the biggest of smiles.

In the last three years of his life, Chandy was very often tearily grateful. He was grateful for the simplest of things, of being able to breathe, eating good food, visiting art exhibitions, being with his grandchildren, walking the dogs by the ocean and having the friendships that he had repaired.

And in the last six months of his life, Chandy was communicating with his sister Barb in Ohio. He told her: “I am still a sannyasin. My Guru is still Bhagwan. He changed his name to Osho. He is no longer on this earthly plane but still in my heart. My sannyasin name is Chandresh. Australian sannyasins call me Chandy.”

Chandy began to attend Osho celebrations when he was well enough and requested Osho books and magazines.

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