Peter Olenick

The Olenick Family mourns the passing of their father, Peter. Predeceased by his wife, Berna, he is survived by his brother, Henry (Richmond), his sisters Stella and Doris (Selkirk, MB), his three children, Gloria (Terry), Ken (Diana), and Berna (Ray), five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Peter was the youngest of fourteen children of Kost and Pauline Olynyk, Ukrainian farmers who came to Gonor, MB in the Red River Valley in 1903. The baby of the family, he grew up surrounded by family and family celebrations.

In 1945, he moved to Winnipeg where he met and married pretty blonde Berna Mann. Later, with two little children in tow, they moved to Central Patricia, a gold mine town in Northern Ontario, where Peter worked for Ontario Hydro. When gold became expensive to extract, the mining company decided to close and Peter knew he had to do something.

In 1952 he moved west to British Columbia where his brother, Henry, helped get him established. The family arrived in Burnaby in February, and in April the birth of a platinum-blonde baby girl completed their family. By August they had moved to Wellington on Vancouver Island, where Peter began his career with the Canadian Pacific Railway Telecommunications Division. Three years later, they relocated to Coombs, first renting and then buying the old Brooks farm in downtown Coombs. This was to be Peter’s home for the rest of his life. Being a farm boy at heart, Peter quickly got the family set up with a cow, chickens, pigs and a large garden. Summers were spent gardening, haying, and stockpiling winter firewood. Winters were spent reaping the rewards of the summer’s work.

The years flew by and retirement brought new opportunities. He joined the Legion and visited members making sure they had all they needed. He signed up with the SOS Volunteer Drivers Program to get “those old people” to their appointments. He socialized at the Fontiersman Pub and enjoyed his weekly dinner there. He was also an important member of the group at the Rod N Gun Pub who met over a bevy or two to cure the ails of the world. His friends meant a lot to him.

His busy social calendar required booking him months in advance. Christmas was difficult as there was only one of him and three children wanting his presence at their family tables.

Peter enjoyed life. He worked hard taking care of his family and ensuring a comfortable future, but never put that ahead of enjoying today. His children learned the value of friendship, of taking care of each other and of helping out wherever and whenever they could. He was a caring man and will be missed.

Family and friends will gather at a later date to remember Peter and celebrate his life. A donation can be made in his name to the Lung Association at British Columbia Lung Association 2675 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 2K2.