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A recording of the Funeral Mass for Donald Sterzuk is available for viewing under service details.
Donald Sterzuk, 81 years of age, passed away peacefully in Humboldt District Hospital on Saturday, October 7, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Don was born to Nick and Mary Sterzuk on June 15, 1942. The hardworking, Ukrainian-speaking family lived on a farm in the Mamornitz district, southwest of Buchanan, Saskatchewan. The fourth of five children, Don attended Mamornitz School, a one room school, until grade nine and then moved to Buchanan for high school where he boarded with a local family. Following high school, he attended Saskatoon Teacher’s College where he lived at the Mohyla Institute. In 1961, Don began his thirty-five-year teaching career at Crystal Lake, Saskatchewan. At the beginning of his career, Don kept busy with summer jobs in Regina including at Wappel Construction and at a number of hotels including the Early Hotel, the Met Hotel and King’s Hotel. In 1963, he moved from Crystal Lake to Viscount, Saskatchewan where he taught for one year. Don had a strong work ethic and, in addition to his summer jobs, he also continued to take university classes at the University of Saskatchewan. This commitment to learning would eventually lead to two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in 1968 and a Bachelor of Education in 1971.
In 1964, while in Saskatoon, Don met Patricia Tholl with whom he would spend the next 36 years. The young couple married in 1965 and moved to Tisdale, Saskatchewan where Don taught at the Ridgedale School and Pat worked as a lab technician at the Tisdale Hospital. In 1966, Jeffrey Allan, the first of their four children, was born while they lived in Tisdale. In 1968, the family of three moved to Cando, Saskatchewan where Don became the principal at the K-12 school. For a 26-year-old, this administrative position represented a significant accomplishment. In 1970, Rachel Gayle, the second of their children, was born in North Battleford. In 1971, the family moved to Eston, Saskatchewan where Don worked as a math teacher and vice-principal at the Eston High School. Don and Pat’s third child, Andrea Jayne, was born in 1973 followed by Michael Donald in 1976. In 1977, Don became the principal of the high school. During the ten years they lived in Eston, Don found time to personally build the family’s house and also painted houses some summers. In 1981, Don and Pat moved the family to Watson, Saskatchewan where Don worked as a math and physics teacher until his retirement in 1997.
Don enjoyed music, sports and games of all sorts. He sang and played guitar. His family loved his renditions of Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash and songs by other artists. Don loved sports. As a sports fan, he loved watching, cheering for, talking about, celebrating and complaining about his teams: the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Atlanta Braves. He was also an attentive fan of curling and PGA golf. Don was committed to exercise and his own fitness. He discovered physical fitness in the early 1970s and was a consistent runner (even in the winter) and exercised well into his 60s. He loved to golf, curl, shoot hoops, play catch, hockey, ping pong, and pretty much every other sport possible. He loved playing cards and board games and the clowning around and jokes that accompanied those activities. His favourite card games were Kaiser and Cribbage and his favourite board game was Trivial Pursuit.
Another of Don’s loves was the cabin at Fishing Lake. Home for Don was his childhood farm southwest of Buchanan and Watson, the town where he lived for most of his adult life. The cabin at Fishing Lake was almost right in the middle. He loved spending time there in the summer – playing cards, swimming, boating, golfing, eating burgers and chips and dip, and just generally enjoying his time at the lake. He loved being there.
Never one to sit still, after his 1997 retirement from teaching, Don worked in the summers as a crop adjuster for Rain and Hail Insurance. In 1999, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and fought hard to delay the advancement of the symptoms for many years through medication as well as deep brain stimulation surgery in 2017. In spite of this disease, Don always tried hard to enjoy his life and live it fully. In 2008, he met Elsie Nobbs with whom he spent the next fifteen years. The two enjoyed visiting their children and grandchildren, playing cards, gardening and dancing. They spent five winters traveling south together to Arizona in their motorhome. These were very happy times for them both. In 2017, Don moved into the Quill Plains Centennial Lodge. He enjoyed the lodge activities and his many friends. Elsie visited and cared for him every day until his passing.
Don is predeceased by his older brother George Sterzuk in 1986, his father Nicholas Sterzuk in 1996 and his mother Mary Sterzuk (nee Kushlyk) in 1997. He is survived by his spouse Elsie Nobbs of Watson; sister Doris (Fred) Auger and family of Winnipeg; brother John (Liz) Sterzuk and family of Winnipeg, Manitoba and brother Mervin (Asnakech Melake) and family of Thompson, Manitoba; son Jeff Sterzuk of Calgary and granddaughters Taylor and Lauryn Sterzuk; daughter Rachel Sterzuk (Jeff Bahrey) of Yorkton and grandchildren Rylan, Owen and Annika; daughter Andrea Sterzuk (Justin Kline) of Regina and son Michael Sterzuk of Saskatoon; stepson Ryan (Jennifer) Nobbs of Lancer and grandchildren Summer, Jessica and Billy; stepdaughter Nicole (Mark Sayers) of Kerrobert and grandchildren Kendal, Rylan and Rylee and stepdaughter Shannon (Doug McKenzie) of Kelowna and grandchildren Aimee and Kayla.
A Funeral Mass for Don was held on Saturday, October 21st, 2023 at 10:30 am at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Watson, SK, celebrated by Fr. Francis Akomeah, followed by a memorial luncheon. Interment followed at the Descent of the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Buchanan, SK, presided by Fr. Ivan Simpko. In lieu of flowers, we ask those who wish to make a donation to direct them to the Parkinson Canada (www.parkinson.ca) or Quill Plains Centennial Lodge in Watson (qphcfoundation.ca).
Parkinson Canada In Saskatchewan
#110 B-2103 Airport Drive, Saskatoon SK S7L 6W2
For more information on Parkinson's Disease please visit https://www.drugscience.org/parkinsons/
Quill Plains Health Care Foundation Inc.
PO Box 277, Watson SK S0K 4V0