Antique Vintage 16

Robert "Bob" Klymasz

Robert Klymasz Obituary

Bob passed away peacefully at the age of 87 from Influenza A at the Victoria Hospital in Winnipeg. He was predeceased by his wife Shirley Klymasz (nee Zaporzan) in 2011 and his brother Russell Klymas in 1994.

Lovingly remembered by his daughters, Andrea and Lara, his son-in-law Bradley Swartz and favourite grandson Aaron Klymasz-Swartz. He will be missed by many colleagues and friends, nieces and nephews, and especially by his good friend and travel buddy, Saad Ahmad.

Bob was a Ukrainian-Canadian folklorist and a renowned expert on Ukrainian Canadian folklore. For most of his life, he was the Curator of the Slavic and East European Program at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian History Museum) in Ottawa.  For more information please see › wiki › Robert_KlymaszRobert Klymasz - Wikipedia and › en › articleRobert Klymasz | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Always an academic, his research focused on the ethnocultural life of Ukrainians in Canada specifically on the Canadian Prairies in the 1960s - 1970s of which he has written, published and lectured extensively.

Born in Toronto, he finished his BA at U of T in 1957 and traveled to Winnipeg to do his MA at the University of Manitoba under Jaroslav Rudnyckyj. It was in Winnipeg where he met Shirley Zaporzan and they married in August 1963. He was working on his PhD at Indiana University in Bloomington, when his daughter Andrea was born in Winnipeg.  Shirley and Andrea moved to Bloomington to be with Bob when he was finishing his doctorate. Bob and Shirley met their life long friends Philip and Ellen Tilney and Mike and Jane Jones in Bloomington. Later Bob, Shirley and Andrea moved to Blackburn Hamlet (a new suburban development at the time) in Ottawa and Bob drove 30 kms to and from the Museum of Man for work every day. His daughter Lara was born in Ottawa in 1968. Bob ended up leaving Ottawa in 1976 due to work place harassment by an awful boss and moved (with the family) to Winnipeg. He worked at the U of M and Oseredok. He also taught in Edmonton and at Harvard. In 1979 he moved to Newfoundland and taught folklore at Memorial University in St John's. Then back to Wpg and the next year to Los Angeles in 1981 to teach at UCLA. Eventually he ended up going back to Ottawa - now at the Canadian Museum of Civilization after that boss had died. This time he bought an older house on Bay Street in downtown in Ottawa. He worked at the museum until his retirement in 2000, and was named Curator Emeritus with the Canadian Museum of Civilization. 

Early in his life he had ear inflections that left him deaf in one ear and he had a benign brain tumour that left him with a severed trigeminal nerve and in 2000 he donated a kidney to his eldest daughter. After Shirley died from dementia in 2011, Bob and Lara ended up living together in an apartment on Grant Ave across from Grant Park and Bob's favourite bookstore - McNally Robinson. Bob met his friend Saad and they traveled to Turkey, London England, New York City, Ottawa, Toronto, Los Angeles and Mexico City over 5 times. In fact, Bob wanted to go to Egypt for the month of February but ended up going back to Mexico City instead. He always appreciated other cultures and peoples and was reading books about the treatment of Indigenous people of Canada and reconciliation just before he died.

Bob was a very intelligent but down to earth person who was giving and had a great sense of humour. He will be missed by many people.

We are very thankful to all the staff on the 5th floor of the Victoria Hospital in Winnipeg for caring for Bob for 2 weeks. Everyone was compassionate and thoughtful, and we really appreciate that.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church 1001 Grant Ave. Wpg. MB, R3M 1Y3 or to a charity of your choice. Korban funeral chapel in care of arrangements. Internment at All Saints Cemetery 4535 Main Street.


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Funeral Liturgy
March 22, 2024

10:00 AM
Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church
1001 Grant Ave.
Winnipeg, MB R3M 1Y3


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