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It is with such profound sadness and the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our Garry Anton Sluchinski on June 22, 2023 at the age of 71, from a Glioblastoma brain tumor. He was surrounded daily by all his family and dearest friends throughout his short illness.
He is lovingly and devotedly remembered by his wife Monika and his daughter Natalie Susanna Bosvik and son-in-law Drew Bosvik. And lovingly remembered by his brothers and sisters-in-law Gisela and Dean Hough, Ella Goerzen, Hildegarde and Larry Kulak, Maria and David Janzen, Ramona and John Carter, and Lisa and Shawn Romo. He also will be greatly missed by his nieces and nephews: Jim and Tammy Beechey, Susanne Beechey and Everitt Maroon, Kurtis Hough and Dawn Bush, Chris and Lana Kulak, Heidi and James Coleman, Anthony and Stephanie Kulak, Matthew Kulak, David Janzen Jr. and Lindsay Vanstone, Sarah and Steve Robinson, Jenna Carter and Garrett Sutherland, Kaley Carter and Ethan Adams, as well as 21 great nieces and nephews. He especially loved the little ones. He had a special bond with each and every one.
Garry is predeceased by his mother Mary Anna Sluchinski, his Father Tony Sluchinski, and his 2 brothers Roy and Werner Sluchinski (Marge) and his parents-in-law Susanne and Jacob Goerzen whom he loved dearly and would do anything for. He is also predeceased by Douglas Beechey, his brother-in-law. Garry was born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan on February 13, 1952 as the youngest of a family of 3 boys: Werner, Roy and Garry. He had many adventures with his brothers and school friends playing hockey in the streets. They would build their own stilts to roam around town and cause trouble, as well as do train jumping, which he and his brothers and friends did often. Garry went to Humboldt Elementary, Junior and Senior High, and decided to study accounting while he played hockey for the Humboldt Broncos Team. He played centre and forward in Humboldt from 1970 to 1972. And his sweet Mama Mary never missed a game. He was a bit of a local hockey hero in Humboldt in those years. Then in 1972-73 he was in Nelson BC playing for the Maple Leafs, then onto Trail BC in 73-74 for a team called The Smoke Eaters, and then onto the U of A Huskies in 1974 to 1976. He was lovingly known for his long hair which was out of style at the time, but he was his own man, so his team mates called him Wiggy for short. Hockey was Garry’s game and he was always the subject of many articles in the Humboldt papers, and his mom Mary had so many scrap books of all of Garry’s accomplishments in hockey. He had great scoring power and was a very strong team player. The Humboldt Broncos are sadly well known for the tragedy that befell the current team in the terrible bus crash, and it really rocked Garry and all his former teammates. We along with many others displayed our family hockey sticks for the better part of a year in solidarity for the Humboldt Broncos team.
Garry quickly realized that accounting was not for him and he switched to teaching. He got his Undergrad degree in Science and Physical Education, and then an after degree in teaching at University of Saskatchewan. He also did a year of Christian College at St. Peters in 1970. He taught Junior High Math and Social Studies for a while in Calgary, but then decided he wanted more of a business bent to his work and he began working for a Printing Company and then a Publishing Company, McGraw-Hill Ryerson for many years. In his capacity as a publishing representative, he gained a lot of insight into the school system and curriculum in Alberta and of course was visiting Alberta Education Learning Resources Centre in that position. He applied for a position there, and worked his way up to Associate Director of Customer Services, Purchasing and Warehousing. He was a much-loved Manager and people always wanted to work in the areas he oversaw, as he had a reputation for always wanting to create a win-win situation. This is where I met the love of my life, my partner in crime, my everything. I asked him out for coffee March 8, 1994. Our first date was an Oilers function in which we went skating and I could not skate, so I hung onto Garry the whole time. He proposed to me on August 25 of the same year, and he proceeded to do The Rocky Balboa Dance while singing at the top of the Legislature ground steps in celebration of our engagement. It was a momentous moment of pure joy I will never forget. Garry was quickly folded into our large family and was loved and cherished by each and every sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and our parents. We brought up our children together as well, creating deep bonds of love between all the cousin children. We traveled together around the world, and to our annual spot in Radium Hot Springs with extended family, and spent so much time together to cement the love between our children so as to create a strong bond for the next generation, and we know our children and nieces and nephews will do the same when they have children. We all shared a great faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, and this bonded us in a profound way.
Garry was an avid golfer and nothing made him happier than to make plans with his best buddies for an outing of golf. He would always be so excited the night before a planned golf game with Ken Arndt and Don Gorman or Gorboy as Garry called him, John Ennis or Billie Bibinski or Doug Berry or Al Dyck and Morris Chynoweth. He would get up at the crack of dawn to play. He loved these guys and would come home tired from carrying his clubs, but with a twinkle in his eyes from a day well spent with his friends. They were his people away from the family. He had a very special life long relationship with Ken Arndt whom he knew and loved like a brother from young on, and if they weren’t golfing, they were always in touch by text or phone wherever we or Ken traveled to check in on each other. I really loved the special language they had in texts, and when together that showed the love they had for one another. It was never unusual to get a call from Jamaica or Palm Springs from Ken to check up on what was going on with Garry, and vice versa from Garry in Mexico to Ken in Edmonton. Garry was such an avid music lover. He loved all kinds of music, but good old Rock and Roll was his favorite. He loved playing his electric guitar at home and was in several bands throughout his life from high school on into late adulthood.
Garry loved hockey and the Edmonton Oilers. He did on ice promotions for many years before we met, and apparently according to John Ennis, it was chaos on the ice, but Garry just kept his cool and in his ever so calm and competent way.
Garry and I married later in life and were so blessed to have our daughter Natalie Susanna Sluchinski on June 23 1998. I have fond memories of Garry speaking to Natalie in utero every chance he could get, in a low sweet voice telling her how much he loved her already. She is the apple of his eye; our Garry Girl, and he was such a kind, patient, loving and wonderful father to our dear sweet Nanny. He was so devoted to her from the moment she was born. Of course, he wanted to pass on his love of baseball and hockey, and Natalie played hockey and soccer in our basement with her dad and volleyball as well for hours when she was little. When spring came it was a game of catch, again for hours beside the house with her own tiny leather catcher’s mitt and she just loved it. As she grew and wanted to play basketball, we travelled all around with her and the team…he never missed a game and was her at home coach and cheering squad father.
A kinder, more faithful husband I could never ask for. He was truly the light of my life and my partner in everything. We worked side by side in the same office and had many travel adventures, but what we cherished most was an evening in, cooking together, listening to music and talking about our Natalie as she grew into a lovely young woman. In conclusion, my father wrote this poem and I dedicate it to my Garry to send him off to his eternal sleep, until our Heavenly Father calls us all again to Heaven.
When the Sun Sets
At last the day is done, and night is here,
And rest awaits a task of toil;
The sun sinks into the floods;
The croaking of the frogs is heard around.
While the night wind slowly enters in
And the shades overspread the scene
Of life and blossoms, night surely comes;
Brings gloaming, haze and then obscurity;
How beautiful to be so calm and still to rest!
May your last moment be as to this scene,
As beautiful as the setting sun,
Spread rays of light into the world
Then sink into the eonian rest, to rise again.
By Dr. J. W. Goerzen
In lieu of flowers, registered charity donations to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
(https://www.braintumour.ca/ways-to-give/) or the Roozen Family Hospice Centre
(https://pilgrimshospice.com) in memory of Garry Sluchinski would be greatly appreciated.
Garry's Funeral has been held in Edmonton.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home in Edmonton.