Russell Lee Unilowsky, born October 26, 1959, died suddenly and unexpectedly in a motor vehicle collision on November 7, 2019, at the young age of 60. Russell is survived by his beloved wife, Oksana Unilowsky (nee Tyrawski) and their loved and adored son, Christian Russell Unilowsky, who was born 10 days after his father’s passing; his children and grandchildren: Brandy Friesen (Tanner Tarasoff) (Logan, Noah, Madden and Jada); Kristopher Unilowsky (Tanya Unilowsky) (Tamira, Amber Louise and Samantha); Sheila Gibb (Damien Forbes) (Ella and Ada); Brian Gibb (Melissa Gibb) (Eleanor and Finlay); and many other family and friends. Russell was predeceased by his mother, Florence Decker, and father, Victor Unilowsky.
Russell was born in Saskatoon and raised in Prince Albert, SK. Russell grew up in difficult circumstances and was grateful for the time he spent at the home of his best friend, Gary Leach. Russell had a lot of drive and was determined to do something with his life. He travelled out of Prince Albert initially for sport, particularly badminton, and ultimately settled in Saskatoon, where he played shortstop for many years in the Senior Men’s League and first got involved with Canadian Tire. After distinguishing himself in management at Canadian Tire, Russell applied to become a dealer, and moved across Canada in pursuit of that plan. Russell spent time with Canadian Tire in Fort St. John, BC, and then became a dealer first in Port aux Basques, NL, and then in Sydney and Bridgewater, NS, before settling permanently in Winnipeg. In Winnipeg, Russell met his brother-from-another-mother, Daryl Beckingham, and Daryl’s wife, Karen, dear friends and neighbours. Russell also met his Russell Lee Band mates, Tom Koroluk, Vito De Stefano, Curtis Church and Brett Koroluk, and was fortunate to have years of fantastic collaboration with these talented musicians who also became friends. Most significantly, Russell met his beautiful and loving wife and soulmate Oksana, to whom Russell was completely devoted. Russell lived life with passion. Whether writing music or singing with the Russell Lee Band, racing in masters track and field meets, or winning the World Series of masters baseball, Russell always gave his A game. Russell was proud to be a Canadian Tire dealer. He bonded with his staff and inspired all to do their best. His stores regularly received top caliber marks from corporate assessors and the staff had fun and felt valued while achieving this excellence. Russell was particularly grateful for his talented managers Jodi and Keith, who were his right-hand people and who were about to start at a new Canadian Tire store in Winnipeg with Russell at the helm in the days following his death. Russell particularly enjoyed his Canadian Tire and music worlds mixing a couple of years ago, when he had the opportunity to perform the music for a video welcoming all Canadian Tire dealers to the National Convention in Winnipeg. Russell shared his music wherever he went, passing out CDs and playing gigs big and small — including in his kids’ backyards across Canada, upon request. Music career highlights included being a repeat performer at the annual Dauphin Countryfest, arranging a gig at a Winnipeg Goldeyes game last summer for his visiting children and grandchildren, and getting the guests dancing like crazy at his own wedding to Oksana last year. Russell valued spending time with family, particularly his wife Oksana, his children and grandchildren, and Oksana’s parents Rev. Protodeacon Stefan and Maria Tyrawski, brother Bohdan and large and wonderful extended family. Russell and Oksana have been robbed of more time together, but their love continues in the beautiful baby that was born just ten days after his father’s passing. Russell would have been completely smitten with his handsome baby boy and awed by Christian’s strong and capable mother, who is caring for her son with grace and love in the face of terrible loss. It is a tragedy that this so-wanted little one will not have an opportunity to meet his father, but Russell’s legacy and memory will live on through his music and the many lives he touched.
Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday December 14th at 9:30 am at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, 115 McGregor St., Winnipeg. MB.
Followed by Reception with Celebration of Life to be held at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church Hall at
737 Bannerman Ave. Winnipeg MB.
Private Interment will follow at All Saints Cemetery.
Officiants are Rt. Rev. Msgr. Mitrat Michael Buyachok , Rev. Protodeacon Stefan Tyrawski.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Canadian Tire Jumpstart or the Salvation Army.
To send flowers to Russell's family, please visit our floral section.