It is with profound sadness that the family of Helmer Kirychuk announce his passing at Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, SK on November 24, 2022, at the age of 90 years. Helmer is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Marlene; children Donna (Eric) Chalifoux, Bev (Brian) Patenaude, and Kent (Wonda) Kirychuk. He will be dearly missed by his grandchildren Sara Patenaude (Rylan Colwell), Gabrielle Patenaude (Anthony Jacobs), and Josh Chalifoux. He will be lovingly remembered by his sister Olga Lazaruk and brother Peter (Carole) Kirychuk, and many nephews and nieces. Helmer was predeceased by his parents, Emil and Pauline, his brothers Nick, Don, Bill and sister Mary.
Helmer was born August 16, 1932, in the village of Turychany which is in the western part of Ukraine. He emigrated to Canada in May 1939 with parents Emil and Pauline, three older brothers Nick, Don and Bill and sister Olga. The family started their new life in the farming community of Paddockwood, SK where Helmer began his first Canadian school year speaking only Ukrainian. After high school, Helmer continued his education at the University of Saskatchewan where he earned a Bachelor of Education degree. Helmer was a lifelong learner and so it was only natural that teaching would be his profession. His role as educator carried into everyday life activities such as teaching the kids in the family how to filet fish, leading nature walks, or helping family members get through chemistry and math courses.
Helmer started his teaching career in 1957 at Wild Rose Central and became principal in 1961. Those were his glory days where he taught alongside Norbert Nordmann and Lou Bell who would become lifelong friends. In fact, it was through Norbert that Helmer met Marlene Frey, the love of his life. They married in 1962 and started their family in Wild Rose with Donna and Bev. In 1966 they jumped at the opportunity to move to Mayo, Yukon where in 1967 Kent was born. They soon missed their families and returned to Saskatchewan for a few years, moving to St. Louis and Regina. The family moved to Roblin, MB in 1971 where Helmer, also known as Mr. Biology, taught until his retirement. He was an excellent and much-loved teacher who gave so much of his time to the students and community. In 1992 Helmer and Marlene moved to Saskatoon and began their years traveling around the U.S. and Mexico as snowbirds. Helmer was genuinely interested in other people and therefore made many friends along the way. This and his love of entertaining helped him become an incredible storyteller. Helmer loved spending time at the cabin, fishing, boating and exploring. He was most happy when the rest of the family were there with him enjoying many singsongs, playing guitar and sitting around the campfire. Family was everything to Helmer.
Many thanks to the residents and staff at Diamond House in Warman, who have become Helmer and Marlene's extended family over the past 2 years.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, December 4th, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at Saskatoon Funeral Home (338 - 4th Ave. North). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the CAF Canada’s Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund (https://www.cafcanada.ca/ukraine-relief-fund/) are gratefully encouraged. The Celebration will be livestreamed, the link can be accessed on this page and will be live just prior to the service.
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