May 24, 1929 – January 22, 2021
On Friday, January 22, 2021 the sun was streaming out of a clear blue sky into Dad’s room at Hardyview Lodge, but his own light was barely there. He passed away that morning. His children Linda Kabatoff, Steve Chursinoff and Elaine Kazakoff were by his side. His grandchildren were also able to visit. He was 91 years old.
We heard from staff at Hardyview Lodge where he had been a resident since October 2019 that he was always polite, always thankful, and quick to smile. No surprise: he always made easy connections with people whether they were his family, his friends or people he just met. His grandchildren often observed that their grandfather was unique in his love for solitude and nature while still loving the company of people of all ages. This dichotomy in his personality came to him with ease.
He enjoyed laughing even though he lost two women central to his life way too early. His mother died when Dad was a child. His wife Rose died at 58 after they were married for 42 years. Somewhere he dug up the resolve to believe “the cup was always half full”.
When Rose was no longer there to cook celebratory dinners and help host extended family dinners, Dad stepped in. To gather family at his home he purchased borscht and pyrahi from a local cook. There were also family gatherings at this Kettle River property for barbecues and floats down the river. Dad held the centre of his family together.
He was born on May 24, 1929 in Canora Saskatchewan to Wasyl and Laura (nee Phillipoff ) Chursinoff, the youngest brother to Pete, Mary and Elizabeth. His teenage sisters took over the roll of caring for the household and their 10 year old brother when their mother died early. The family earned a living from their farm passed down from grandparents who immigrated from Russia in the early 1900s and who settled on the prairies as homesteaders.
Like many young people living on farms in the 30s and 40s Dad left school early. He talked about taking a horse drawn carriage in summer and a horse drawn sleigh in winter to school several kilometers away. Dad’s family wasn’t poor but it wasn’t rich. Good fortune meant oranges and apples during a prairie Christmas. He remembered kids in his neighborhood who did not go to school because they did not have shoes.
Because he left school so early this encouraged his quest for life long learning. He took lumber grading courses, upgraded his math skills, learned welding and metal fabrication. He travelled extensively through the US for his work related education. He continued his nightly reading of nonfiction into his 80s. Wildlife and wilderness topics were his favorites.
In about 1940 Dad’s family moved to British Columbia and settled in Grand Forks. Here he met his future wife Rose Stushnoff, went on to work in the forest industry, and raised his family. Dad worked at several sawmills and finally settled in to help build the particle board plant, Canpar in the 1960s. At Canpar he was a founding member, a millwright and sat on the board of directors.
Monday to Friday Dad left for work at 6 am and returned at 6 pm. On Saturday he worked at home, mowing the lawn, fixing his truck, hauling wood or tilling the large garden that Mom had planted in spring. Sundays were always family time. In good weather he took our family for a drive and picnic to the North Fork of the Granby River. Dad and Steve would fish, Mom would have a couple hours of rare relaxation, Elaine and Linda would feed the campfire. In winter Dad and Steve would go to Jewel Lake to ice fish.
After retiring as a plant superintendent from Canpar Industries in the early 90s he enjoyed his thriving home based business Mike’s Fabricating. He supplied metal fabrication products to varied customers, industrial plants and family run farms alike. He was happiest when asked to take part in a project. He was creative with metal and wood, often giving away a carved wooden vase holding a flower. Once again his generosity and ease in making friends were always on display.
As Mike’s Fabricating wound down Dad’s energetic “retirement” began. Never one to sit around Dad learned to downhill ski in his 60s; climbed Mount Glory nearing 80; and traveled to Cuba, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Belgium and Alaska. He continued to travel to the East Kootenays every fall to hunt with his family and friends and continued his lifelong involvement in wildlife conservation. Perhaps most loved were the family gatherings for campfire dinners at his beloved river property.
Dad’s memory lives on in his children and their spouses, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends. Dad was cremated and when the weather allows we will hike up the same mountain where Rose’s ashes were returned to nature. It will be another sunny day.
The family would like to thank the staff at Hardyview Lodge, Dr. Dalla Lana and the Grand Forks Funeral Home for their care.
A heartfelt thank you to Linda and Jim from Steve, Elaine and families for your special enduring care and support to Dad. It will be forever remembered and appreciated.
Sincerely Elaine, Steve, Linda & families.
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