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Eugene Grenkiw

Eugene Grenkiw Obituary

Eugene (Evhen) Grenkiw

December 5th, 1933 - January 25, 2024

Eugene (Evhen) Grenkiw passed away suddenly after a brief illness on January 25, 2024, at the age of 90.

Known as Genek to his family and friends, he was born December 5th, 1933 in Stanislawiw (Ivano-Frankivsk), Ukraine to Ferdinand Grenkiw and Maria Fleishhaker.  Orphaned early in life, he was taken in by his uncle, Marian Grenkiw and his extended family and later Marian’s wife, Josephine (Osypa) nee Fediw.  Soon after, Marian and Josephine had a child, Alexandra.  Although there were ten years between them, Genek and Alexandra grew up together, much like brother and sister.

In 1944 Marian’s and Josephine’s extended families left Stanislaviw by the last train, making their way through Europe, finally settling in a UNRRA displaced persons’ camp (Funk Kaserne) near Munich, Germany.  The families remained there for several years, holding various jobs to sustain themselves and waiting to emigrate to the United States.  Genek enrolled in the school organized for the children by the residents of the camp.

Having two small children, Marian and Josephine wanted to leave the war-torn Europe as soon as possible.  By chance, Marian found a cousin (Paul Grenkow) from an earlier emigration who was a farmer in Manitoba and was willing to sponsor their immigration to Canada.  They sailed third class on a Greek ship from Lisbon arriving in Halifax on November 28, 1948, and then went on to Winnipeg by rail.  Genek remembered the immigration officials as being very kind.

Marian, Josephine and Alexandra stayed in the old farmhouse until spring, then moved into town. Marian’s sister, Bronislawa, later joined them.  Genek stayed behind on one of the cousins’ (Joe Grenkow) still active farms to help and at Joe’s insistence, to go to the local school.  After finishing school he moved into town to live with Marian’s family. At the age of 18, he was hired by Weststeel Co. (Western Steel and Tube Ltd.) and remained there as a skilled worker until his early retirement at 60.

As a youth, he was active in Plast. He enjoyed hunting and especially fishing, winning a number of angler trophies, and for years maintained and improved a cottage on the Red River.  In winter he bowled and in summer he played golf, as recently as two years ago.  He was interested and knowledgeable in history, especially of Eastern Europe and Ukraine.  He spent a lot of time surfing the internet for home cures and acquired a large quantity of vitamins and herbs to make his potions.

He never married and lived with Marian’s family until they all passed away.  He then sold the family home, which he had helped to buy, and bought his own house, happily working on indoor projects and in the garden, apparently growing many good tomatoes.  He shared his home with a succession of cats.  After a serious heart attack in 2018, he was persuaded to move to a seniors’ assisted living residence, Amber Meadow, where he continued to grow flowers on his balcony which he decorated each Canada Day with ever more elaborate displays of Canadiana.

Alexandra, who left Winnipeg a long time ago, will always remember him as a generous and loyal older brother and will miss their weekly phone calls. Her daughters Katherine and Christine remember him fondly because as children he spoiled them with trips to the best toy store in town and in later years for his infrequent visits to Halifax, especially for Katherine’s wedding in 2001. They only wish they had seen him more often, but their good memories will live on.  The best tribute comes from friends and acquaintances who spontaneously comment on his generosity, optimism and kind nature. 

According to his wishes, he has been cremated and his ashes repose at the Korban Funeral Chapel until summer when they can be scattered on the warm, green fields.

Anyone wishing to honour his memory should donate to a charity of their choice.

May he rest in peace.

Вічна йому память!

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