KOWALCHUK, Gene August 21, 1931 – April 10, 2017 It is with deep sorrow and much love that we mourn the peaceful passing of Gene Kowalchuk, of St. Albert, with his loving family at his side, on April 10, at the age of 85 years. He will be dearly missed by his devoted wife of 62 years, Vi, who was his caregiver for many years, son: Barry (Sue); daughters: Cheryl (Rob) Balay, Darlene (Ken) Day, Marjorie (Garry) Peterson; and his grandchildren: Marcie (Dean) Whalen, Greg (Danielle) Balay, Jeff Day, Cara Day, Brandon (Kristy) Peterson, and Leah Peterson and boyfriend Simon; great-grandchildren Isabelle and Adalee Whalen. He also leaves behind sisters: Margaret Shwaga, Mary Gislason and brother, Frank. He will be fondly remembered by numerous other relatives and dear friends. He was predeceased by his parents, William and Magdalina; siblings: Nancy Bowzaylo, Bill, Mike, John, and Nick. Gene was born and raised in the Athabasca area. His early school years were spent at Greyville School and he completed his education and graduated from Athabasca High School. Following his university education to obtain a B.Ed. and later Grad Diploma at the University of Alberta, he returned to act as an administrator and teacher for 35 years at several schools in the county. Over the years, he was involved in sports, playing fastball and curling, as well as coaching curling up to a National level. An avid gardener, he aspired to have the biggest and best vegetables and flowers, especially in his retirement years. Although he played a few instruments, he was an accomplished guitar player first with George Sauer & his Northern Ramblers, who followed their dream to B.C. to make a record and then later as a band member with the Country Gentlemen. He served as President of both the Curling and Golf Clubs and was an active member of the church and community. While teaching he enjoyed getting back to his roots to be a hobby farmer as well as establishing a Ski-doo dealership. Following retirement, Gene enjoyed many activities, from gas meter reading to contracting for the Federal Government to operate and maintain the Meanook Geomagnetic Observatory, putting his skills as an Industrial Arts teacher to use to refurbish furniture and using his love of photography to work on a local history book, "Northern Reflections". Family get-togethers were particularly important to Gene. Whether it was an ordinary weekend, a holiday, birthday or special celebration, it meant the family came together, with Gene barbecuing steaks or Vi preparing a Ukrainian meal. Gene was always pleased to see his children continue this tradition. The family was very fortunate to have many vacations in B.C. and parts of the U.S. and after raising their family, Gene and Vi travelled to different parts of the world. Anyone who met Gene knew he was a good, honest man with a sense of humor who loved his family more than anything else. He had a big impact on many people, including students, teachers, neighbors, community members and friends. To this day, people always have a kind word or heartfelt story to share about Gene. A Celebration of Life will be held at All Saints' Anglican Church 4904 – 51 Street, Athabasca, AB on April 19, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donation envelopes will be available at the service or they may be done online in Gene's name to: •Hemodialysis, University Hospital Foundation ( www.GiveToUHF.ca ) •Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, Dialysis Satellite Unit •The Kidney Foundation ( https://kidney.akaraisin.com/memory/GeneKowalchuk ) The family would like to express sincere thanks and gratitude to the Hemodialysis nurses and doctors for the wonderful care that was provided for Gene. He was so fond of the staff, who went above and beyond to make the task of getting treatment three times a week for over 10 years more bearable. We will be forever grateful for their kindness, compassion, and understanding. Special thanks to Dr. Pisani whose genuine sympathy was felt by us all. To send condolences, please visit www.connelly-mckinley.com .
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