Obituary of Michael Washuta
WASHUTA, Michael - Passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at Hospice Niagara in his 91st year, held in the arms of his beloved June. Michael was born in Bruno, Saskatchewan on August 26, 1928. He was the son of Rinko and Anna Washuta and was one of eight children. Michael was the last surviving member of his family. He was predeceased by his son Wayne; his brothers Raymond, Peter, Steve, John; and his sisters Annie Hnatiw, Mary Potashnyk, Alice Bilinksi and sister-in-law Margaret Washuta. He is survived by his special June (he was her dearly loved Teddy Bear for 48 years); his Godsons Greg Washuta and Mark Bilinski; and many nieces and nephews whom he treasured and who in turn referred to him as the "Godfather" of the family. He enjoyed nothing more than spending special occasions with all of his extended family of which there are many. You could say he was a party boy. His other great love was golfing. He was an honourary member of the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club where he played golf for almost fifty years in between his many trips to golf courses outside the country. Mike was a kind and generous soul which was evident by the many charities he supported over the years. His working career began at 16 years of age in the mines in Sudbury followed by General Motors in St. Catharines. He went on to start his own successful businesses with his brother Ray at Fonthill Sand and Gravel and Ray's Trucking. Mike also founded Parkville Square Inc. which he ran successfully for many years. He was a hard worker but enjoyed life to the fullest spending many happy years with June on Anna MarieIsland in Florida fishing and golfing. A very special thank you to the wonderful PSWs who looked after Mike at home, Dr. Luce of Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital, Dr. Giesbrecht and Dr. Cuthbert of the Walker Cancer Centre, and the many caring nurses and therapists who took such good care of Mike at the Shaver Hospital and Hospice Niagara. Family and friends will be received at GEORGE DARTE FUNERAL HOME, 585 Carlton Street, St. Catharines. Visitation hours at 2 PM to 4 PM and 7 PM to 9 PM on Friday, July 26, 2019 with Panachyda at 7:30 PM in the funeral home. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated at St. John the Theologian Ukrainian Catholic Church, 91 Lakeshore Road on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 10 AM with interment to follow at Victoria Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to Walker Cancer Centre, Hotel DieuShaver Hospital, Wellspring Niagara or Hospice Niagara would be appreciated by his family.
Eulogy – Uncle Mike
Uncle Mike grew up in a family of four brothers and three sisters on the farm in Bruno, Saskatchewan. His parents came from Ukraine and worked hard to provide for the family. Uncle Mike grew up during the depths of the depression. His family lived off the land. There were no combines or tractors but instead horses, oxen and manpower. Uncle Mike left home at 16 years of age to work in the mines in Sudbury. His father said that he would be back on the farm in one year. Uncle Mike worked hard and when he did return, it was not to stay but only to visit his parents. After a short stay in Sudbury, Uncle Mike came to St. Catharines where he worked briefly at General Motors. His co workers and his foreman were surprised that he quit within one year. Uncle Mike determined that working at General Motors was not for him, he went on to run Fonthill Sand and Gravel and Ray’s trucking with his brother Ray. He also went on to establish Parkville Square Inc. He retired at the age of 45 and enjoyed the rest of his life with family, playing golf, fishing and spending most of the year in Florida. June or Junie as he used to call her was the love of his life. After meeting June, they lived in Lewiston and then St. Catharines. There were many trips to Florida, sometimes under inclement weather conditions. Aunt June enjoyed spending some summers in Fenelon Falls and Uncle Mike would call her on a daily basis to check on her and then would also spend some time with her there. Aunt June and Uncle Mike spent 48 loving years together. Uncle Mike was the glue that held the family together through many special events such as the Washuta Memorial Mass which was held each year in memory of his son Wayne and other family members. There were Ukrainian Christmas celebrations and many birthday parties. I also learned a few things after helping to clean out his office recently. From the many treasured items he had there, the central theme was spending time with family and looking after family. He was always available to help out family members with his pearls of wisdom and support. Uncle Mike told me that my father asked him to look after me when he would no longer be around. Uncle Mike kept his word and helped me out whenever he could. I was glad to return the favour to him by helping him out over the last few years. Not only did Uncle Mike support his family but he also supported those in the community. He was a philanthropist who supported many charities especially the ones that were close to his heart and close to home such as the Rankin Cancer Run and Hospice Niagara. He was a supporter of the Lewiston Kiwanis Club and enjoyed attending many a Clam Bake. His favourite was the raw clams. Uncle Mike loved golfing and started out golfing at St. David’s Golf Course. He did not know much about golfing and golfed his first round in dress shoes. He persevered and won many games, championships and participated in many tournaments. One of his last games of golf was at St. David’s with me and he managed to beat me even in his eighties. One thing that Uncle Mike stressed was a strong work ethic. Through his stories about running the Fonthill Sand and Gravel and various businesses I don’t know how he got much sleep. A typical day involved getting up at 7:30 Am, going to the office and working until 6:30 PM and then playing golf until darkness set in. I learned through my father, by his actions, the concept of persistence but I learned through Uncle Mike by both his actions and his words about persistence. Some people thought he was stubborn but I would call it Ukrainian determination. If Uncle Mike wanted to accomplish something, he was bound and determined to do it. One example was his determination in passing his driver’s test at age 88 with me serving as his driving instructor. He passed with flying colours. He also went on to pass his driving test at age 90. He told me if something is not accomplished the first time then you had to work harder or put a little more effort into it to accomplish your goal. His persistence followed him in his two fights with cancer and he beat cancer in both cases. Uncle Mike loved to watch sports and especially the big games like the Grey Cup and the Super Bowl. With watching the games, came friendly wagers with many family members and friends. If you received a phone call at half time from him, you knew the game was not going his way. He would try to get you to change your wager based on the result of the second half. Uncle Mike did not believe in cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, Email or computers. His way of communicating with people was by talking to them in person or on the phone. If you did get a message telling you to call him back, you had to call him back promptly or you would be in trouble. Even though he could afford a computer, he wrote his thoughts on paper and still kept track of his investments on 8.5 inch by 14 inch sheets of paper. On behalf of the family, Uncle Mike, we will always remember you and what you taught us. We love you and we will miss you.
Veech-niya Palmyacht Uncle Mike!
Who we are:
Our mission is to serve each family to the absolute best of our ability, along with their friends and to give to the good of our community in which we live and serve.
585 Carlton Street
St. Catharines, ON
Fax: (905) 937-6605