Melvin (Mel) Marion Holowachuk
June 6, 1934- January 5, 2021
With heavy hearts, we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Mel Holowachuk, (86) of Selkirk, on January 5, 2021, with his wife by his side.
Mel is survived by his wife of 40 years, Dorothy Ann; his children Francine, Doug and Deanna; grandchildren Andy, Steve, Craig, Cindy, Derek, Quinn and Sarah; great-grandchildren Tyarra, Jaden and Jeanelle; his sisters Margaret (Ken) Germain and Violet Holowachuk; and his adopted family, Wayne and Danielle.
He was predeceased by his parents, Yohasia and Metro, brothers and sister, Ralph, Emil and Vera, and his beloved auntie Bertha.
“Over 60 years of workin’ on the Grader and the Cat, for the Hydro and CN, on mountains and the flat,” Mel could operate any piece of machinery that needed a driver. Going on a road trip with him meant getting to know all the construction work he had done, as he remembered every basement he dug. He started work for CN as a teenager and retired in 1993 from various roles with Manitoba Hydro, most notably, as a diesel generator operator assistant in northern communities. In his retirement years he worked with Jones Sand and Gravel.
Mel was a member of Christ Church Selkirk for many years, serving on vestry for several years.
He was a member of the Lion’s Club of Selkirk at its inception and again in the last ten years. He considered pin collecting a challenge!
He loved the cottage at Gull Lake, although he never actually went in the lake because he said he swam like an axe…headfirst to the bottom. He was known for his “Ukrainian Woodpile”. Covered and weighted by tarps, it once measured 20 feet by 15 feet by 9 feet tall, all hardwood and raised off the ground. As legend would have it, random pieces had holes bored in them with gunpowder. In case anyone should steal his wood, they would never do it again. Friday nights were spent playing bingo with the Stead Seniors, and he was a consistent winner. He was also known for being willing to offer a hand to anyone who had a project for him.
He loved to work and create. Most people know that he worked in construction and for Hydro, but he also did beautiful leather work, making handbags and such, and he learned woodcarving from his good friend Wayne. They did gorgeous work together and Mel carved an exceptional wood duck as his first major project.
He was always generous, from giving hockey nets to neighbourhood kids, to taking boxes of clothes to the children up north when he worked in northern Manitoba with Hydro. Sometimes this backfired like when he gave away his kids’ current winter clothes, or the tent along with the sale of the camper. To this day we are still unsure of where the box of Dorothy Ann’s 1960s formal gowns went, but we have a feeling some children on a northern reserve had a marvelous time playing dress up. The people he cared for loved him, too. The women up north would come running with wheelbarrows of fish upon sighting the Hydro plane arriving, hoping to see Mel get off the plane.
He loved children, declaring each one he met as a future Prime Minister. He especially delighted in the little ones.
He loved his Blue Bombers, and taught his children the game. For many years he had season tickets, going so far as to have t-shirts made with his seat number on them.
In the community, he spent many years volunteering with Youth for Christ, Friendship Fest and as a member of Parent Resource Institute for Drug Education. He was a favourite chaperone at events with PRIDE as he always had one pocket full of change for the kids to buy treats, and the other pocket full of earplugs to share with the other chaperones.
Mel will be deeply missed for his humour, his willingness to try anything once, and his giving spirit.
Funeral services will be postponed until summer or such date when it is safe to gather the family together to eat, drink, share stories, and celebrate his life in the way he would love.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Lion’s Club of Selkirk in Mel’s memory.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melvin (Mel) Holowachuk, please visit our floral store.