With profound sadness we announce the peaceful passing of Paul Arthur Smith, 89, on November 2, 2019, at home surrounded by loving family.
Our Dad was a lover of literature, a master of history, an aficionado of music, and the king of trivia—well read, well spoken, well travelled. He was kind, generous, hospitable, and genuinely interested in everyone he met. Though he connected with many people in his life, he treasured his wife and children above all.
Paul’s long, extraordinary life began in the West End of Winnipeg on August 26, 1930, when he was born to Ruth and Ronald Smith. He attended St. Edwards School and faithfully served at daily Mass at St. Edwards Church throughout his childhood. He furthered his education under the Jesuits at St. Paul's College and St. Paul’s High School, and read voraciously on many subjects from an early age.
The romance that changed his life started when Paul met Marianne at one of his first jobs, flipping burgers at Salisbury House. They married in 1951, and raised their large family on Dufferin Avenue, in Winnipeg’s North End. Having nine children was probably more than he anticipated, but Paul was a devoted father to all. Whether showing up after a full day at work to cheer his kids on at baseball, hockey or basketball games, or encouraging them to pursue training and higher education, he was fully engaged and supportive. He really enjoyed spending time with his children, from infancy to adulthood, catching up on their days and activities, hanging out at home or heading out for fun. He introduced them to classical music and classic movies, literature and ideas. He taught them to play poker, took them to the racetrack, trounced them at trivia, and did so much more with them. In the midst of all this, his children’s friends were always coming and going, yet Paul was always pleased to see them too. Welcoming and engaging, he was the coolest dad in the world.
Paul’s extensive career at the Manitoba Telephone System began in 1950, through a connection with his favorite aunt, and he found a real talent for it. After spending his first 13 years as an installer, he was promoted to the Engineering Department, an uncommon achievement for field personnel. He thrived in his new position, engineering highly respected projects. In the late 1970s, he was seconded to Saudi Arabia for a six month stint in Long Range Planning, while Marianne held down the fort at home. Though lonely for his family, he nevertheless found it a fascinating professional experience, as well as sparking his enduring passion for travel.
Even while supporting his family with full time employment, and also dedicating thousands of volunteer hours to Army Reserves (Artillery), the Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Paul’s innate love of learning inspired him to take up higher education. In his 40s, Paul enrolled at the University of Manitoba and in his spare (!) time completed a Bachelor’s Degree in history, another of his life-long passions. But Paul had even grander educational aspirations. With the support of his wife, and a leave of absence from MTS, Paul entered Law School at the University of Manitoba (Robson Hall Faculty of Law) as a full time regular student in the fall of 1981, at the age of 51. Paul took to the student life like he was born to it, even car pooling to the U of M with two of his children. After much hard work, and a few beer bashes, Paul was proudly called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1985. He returned to MTS, where the Legal Department loaned him out to the Government of Manitoba for help with Telecommunication Policy, until he retired in 1989. But within months Paul was lured out of retirement by the Government of Manitoba to work as a Telecommunications Policy Consultant. He then moved to Edmonton to work for the Government of Alberta as a Senior Policy Advisor, and then for Telus as a Policy Analyst. In 1998, he retired for good, moving back to Winnipeg. In 2006, Paul and Marianne moved to Lockport, where for many years he served as a respected member of the River Creek Estates condo board, and making many friends there.
Paul had always enjoyed traveling, even bravely backpacking across Europe a few times with various children when he was in his 60s. But in retirement, he hit his stride in the cruise world. With the help of a daughter who worked on a cruise ship, Paul and Marianne embarked on an adventure of a lifetime - over and over again! They enjoyed 18 cruises over the course of 16 years, to destinations as varied as Alaska and the Panama Canal. They explored Mexico, Central and South America, snorkeled in the Caribbean, toured Mayan ruins, dined like royalty, and relaxed across the oceans.
Paul went around the globe and back, but his true center was with his wife and family. He was happiest when he was with them. And there was no better place to be than the lakefront summer cottage at Winnipeg Beach, the family gathering place for over 50 years. The cottage saw non-stop action—board games, card games, bonfires, swimming, fighting, croquet, badminton, and every game under the sun. Paul and Marianne provided a magical, one-of-a-kind retreat for their large family in the summertime. While still working, Paul would spend weekends at the cottage, and after retirement spent the entire summer there, even as it was increasingly overwhelmed with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends and relatives. But Paul was a great believer in hospitality. At his cottage, not only did everyone feel welcome, everyone WAS welcome. It later became the yearly gathering place for offspring who had scattered across Canada and the US. The cottage will never be the same without Paul. And our lives will never be the same without Dad. He lived an epic life, and he was truly the best.
He leaves to mourn his wife of 68 years, Marianne, and his nine children, Sandra Los (Peter), Anthony, Miranda, and Hannah; Paula Proulx (Clem), Marcel, Daniel, Lise-Anne and Joel; Christopher Smith (Darlene), Larissa; Ron Smith (Jacki), Jennifer and Heather; Andrea Towers; Jonathan Smith (Sandra), Greg, Scott, Daniel, and Jilliana; Lisa Smith (Gordon); Katrina Smith (Eric), Raffi and Nathaniel; Jay Smith (Ania), Sophia; and his sister Gail Coyston (Vic). He is also survived by 13 great grandchildren: Nathan, Alexander, Gavin, Ian, Benjamin, Phoenix, Quentin, Esme, Sasha, Jack, Jaxson, Isaac, and Gaberiel, in-laws Willy and Margaret Balagus, Dave Emeny, and Anne Balagus, and many nieces and nephews. Paul was predeceased by his parents, Ron and Ruth Smith, and his sisters, Geraldine Paskewitz, Ann Monica Smith, and Evelyn Emeny.
The family thanks the staff of Selkirk Home Care and Palliative Care for their kindness and compassion, especially Ruth, Kristina, Karla and Simonne.
Prayers will be said on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, 737 Bannerman Avenue, Winnipeg. A Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, with Rev. Fr. Isidore Dziadyk officiating. Pallbearers will be Christopher Smith, Ron Smith, Jonathan Smith, Jay Smith, Peter Los, Clem Proulx, Gordon Richardson, and Eric Chinoy.
For those who wish, donations in Paul’s memory would be greatly appreciated by Immaculate Heart of Mary School, via the Lubov SSMI Foundation (online, by mail or by contacting the Foundation by phone).
Korban Funeral Chapel
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