July 23, 1928 - December 15, 2018
On Saturday, December 15th we said goodbye to a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Victor Pashuk, or Vic to those who knew him was born in Hyrica, Poland on July 23rd, 1928. In 1932, at the age of 3, he journeyed with his mother Anna, sister Helen, and brother Walt on the Ausonia arriving at the famous Pier 21 in Halifax. It was there the family name was changed from Paszuk to Pashuk.
They then travelled across the country to meet his father Stephen who emigrated earlier to set up a homestead in the Peace River, Alberta area. Vic and his siblings learned to speak English from their closest neighbours, a Metis family, who kept a moose as a pet - something absolutely fascinating to a young child from far away.
While he was still young, he lost his father and the family relocated to Magrath, Alberta where he spent his growing up years, helping his mother grow and harvest sugar beets to make ends meet. As an adult, he would still shudder as he drove by a field of sugar beets remembering the long, hard hours of work.
Vic's career had a few interesting turns. He started University in teaching, then switched to Engineering. He briefly taught in a one-room school house, he worked as a surveyor, and became an RCMP officer with his first posting in Kamloops, British Columbia. It was here he met a pretty young brunette, Betty Joyce Carl (whom he called Jo).
In those days, RCMP officers needed to have 5 years of service before marriage, and he chose Jo over his Mountie career. They would be together over 65 years.
After a short-lived run in owning a drive-in (he never lost his love of soft ice cream), he joined the Edmonton Police force. He talked about the heavy buffalo coats they wore in those days to fend off the northern Alberta winters.
Vic and Jo then moved to Ontario where he joined the Ontario Provincial Police. He served in Kenora, a one-man detachment in Sioux Narrows, Dryden, Red Lake, Ignace, Bracebridge, Markdale, and Sauble Beach during his time there, retiring in 1987 with a rank of Sergeant.
Over the years they accumulated 3 children (plus partners), 3 grandchildren (plus partners), and 2 great-grandchildren - all of whom they loved deeply. Vic loved having his family come visit.
Vic loved building and creating things. He singlehandedly built 2 cottages, boats and sailboards, house extensions, several decks, and dozens of ingenious doodads, brackets, and jigs that made things more effective. He could never throw away anything without disassembling it for the ‘useful' things. Before Sunday shopping came into effect, neighbours would often drop by to find a specific bolt, washer, or part for their lawnmower.
One of the sayings we had around the house was ‘My Father can fix anything!' A broom handle fixed a broken rocking chair, a nail he just ‘happened' to have in his pocket was used to fix an old van when it broke down while teaching Lauren to drive on the logging roads of Northern Ontario.
He was also known for his creative repurposing of wood. At times, the furniture he built would disappear from the living room into the workshop to come out reborn as something new. His workshop was a work of art in itself. So well organized, with a special stand or jig made to make all his tools even more useable.
He loved being outdoors and was happy being with others, or by himself fishing, hunting, golfing, or puttering around his yard in Bracebridge, Ontario. As kids, we competed for the cherished prize of a quarter for the first fish. As adults, we realized that he found a clever way to keep us focused.
In his retirement years, Vic and Jo spent the winters in Sarasota, Florida and summers in Bracebridge. Vic took up carving birds, starting with ducks and branching out to more complicated herons and ospreys. These carvings are lovingly displayed in the homes of family members and folks who would drop in for a visit.
Among Vic's culinary loves were pickled herring, popcorn, and apple fritter donuts. He learned to make borscht while at home on his own and had about twenty different recipes that he perfected. You could never go wrong bringing him fruit and lemon meringue pie.
Among his other passions were reading the Toronto Star front to back every day, the Blue Jays, cowboy music (especially El Paso by Marty Robbins) he also liked the bagpipes
He was a man of few words but had a well-defined sense of humour. He truly enjoyed the pandemonium of family gatherings, usually quietly from the sidelines. His love was expressed by doing things for people, creating things, and making things better through the work of his hands.
His last year brought on some health challenges, and a broken hip took away his remaining mobility. In his last days the whole family gathered in his room, and by Skype to share our stories and memories of him and tell him how much we loved him. Fittingly, a gentle squeeze from his hand was his way of saying a quiet goodbye.
Finally, the family wants to thank the phenomenal staff at Wentworth Heights for their compassionate and heartfelt care for Vic and their support for us.
Vic's wishes were to keep things simple, and we will be celebrating his life quietly as a family in the upcoming months. We would encourage you to remember Vic by planting a tree in his memory.