WILLIAM (BILL) ANDREW FIRMAN
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Husband, Dad and Grandpa, William (Bill) Andrew Firman. At the age of 75, Bill passed peacefully with his loving wife, children, and grandchildren at his side on August 29th, 2019 at the St. Boniface Hospital following a brief illness.
Bill is survived by his loving wife of 53 years Marilyn (nee Honke); Sons Andrew and Darren (Carla); Grandchildren Adam, Ashton, Benjamin and Emilie; Sister Karen (Lou); Brother-In-Law Oscar (Virginia); Sister-In-Law Pat, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Bill was predeceased by his parents Paul and Lena (nee Dukenich) and his stepfather William Chomow.
Bill was born January 27th, 1944 in Portage La Prairie, MB. He was a bright child able to speak in full sentences in English and Ukrainian by age 2. Tragically Bill’s father passed away in the summer of 1946 while Bill was only 2and half years old. Bill lived with his mother supported by his extended family of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. In a few years Bill’s mother would marry William Chomow and the family would relocate to Winnipeg in the 1950. They purchased a house at 89 Granville Street that would remain their family home. As a child, Bill developed an interest in music. He took lessons and learned to play the Accordion and the Violin. Later he would also learn to play drums. In 1954, Bill became a big brother with the birth of his sister Karen.
Early on Bill developed an interest in sports and community involvement. In his teen years, Bill played baseball for the Norquay Cardinals. He would go on to play and coach at the Norquay Community Centre for many years.
Bill attended both St. Johns High School and Tec-Voc High School where he studied academics and business courses. Bill graduated from Tec-Voc in 1962.
In 1963, Bill joined the North Kildonan Police Force which would later amalgamate with the Winnipeg Police Service. Bill would remain with the Winnipeg Police Service for 35 years before his retirement in 1998. Bill served in Traffic, Patrol, Administration, and finally as a 911 Communications Supervisor.
Bill married the love of his life Emily (Marilyn) Honke July 30th, 1966 and they would go on to celebrate 53 years of marriage. The young couple newlyweds loved to travel, and they would take many trips driving to points of interest throughout Canada and the United States. In 1972, they purchased a home at 424 Dalton Street in Winnipeg’s North End. This would become their family home with the birth of their children Andrew in 1972 and Darren in 1973. This would remain their family home until the time of their passing.
Bill always had a keen interest in youth sports and serving is community. From 1973-77, Bill organized and ran a Police Force sponsored Youth Bowling League. This helped to build relationships between members of the Police Force and the community they served. From 1983-85, Bill served as a Zone Co-Chairperson with his wife Marilyn for the Manitoba Heart Association. In 1983, Bill joined the Board of Directors at the Sinclair Park Community Centre where he would remain active for over 25 years. Bill would serve in various roles including Coach, Manager, Boys Sports Director, Vice President and President. He truly enjoyed his time at Sinclair Park and made many lasting friendships there. He was able to have a positive impact in the lives of many of the neighbourhood kids. From 1984 -1993, Bill served on the Board of Directors for the North Winnipeg Minor Hockey Association. He would hold numerous positions including Convenor, League Registrar, and President. Bill played a key role in growing minor hockey programs for the kids in North Winnipeg. Bill served as Vice President on the St. Nicholas Parish Parent Council from 1982-84. From 1981-1993, Bill served on the Executive Board of the Midland-North Winnipeg-Seven Oaks Minor Baseball Association. He held numerous positions and was a driving force behind developing effective programs for kids to grow their skills in the game of baseball. He was also a certified Level 2 Umpire with Baseball Manitoba and spent many evenings calling games. From 1985-1989, Bill served as President or Vice President of the North West Youth Soccer Association and helped to grow the game at a time when it was not the popular sport it is today. Bill put his heart and soul into mentoring and providing opportunities for the kids in his community to grow through sport.
Bill enjoyed Country Music and Classic Movies. He was a big fan of John Wayne and old westerns. He loved Winnipeg’s professional sports teams and held season tickets for the Jets and Blue Bombers for many seasons. He enjoyed playing cards with friends and going out to the Casino or to VLT.
More than anything, Bill was a dedicated, loving father who was proud of his sons. Together with Marilyn, they would attend all of their boys’ practices and games in the various sports they played. They would attend all of shows that Andy’s band played no matter how far away the show may have been. Whatever their kids were doing, they knew that Bill and Marilyn would be there to support them. This support continued on to their grandchildren as well. Whether at hockey rinks or baseball diamonds, Bill and Marilyn always there cheering them on.
As a husband, dad, and grandpa you will be loved forever and forgotten never. You were our biggest fan and taught us that our potential was limitless. Know that you will remain always in our hearts. The lord has called you home, Rest in peace.
A prayer service will be held Monday February 17th, at St Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church (250 Jefferson Avenue). Service will begin at 11am and will be followed by a celebration of life in the church reception hall. A private family internment will take place at a later date.