It is with greatest sympathy we announce the passing of Alex Jacob Holovach, also affectionally known as Chester or Uncle Chester, at the Roblin Health Center on Friday March 31, 2023, following a lengthy battle with pulmonary, heart and other health complications. He was 98 years old +.
Alex was born on Dec 24, 1924, in the district of Shell Valley, MB, municipality of Boulton on the farm son of Jacob (Procopi) and Dora (Domnica) Holovach, a welcome “Christmas Gift”. His parents were originally from Romania. Alex spoke Romanian and English fluently and a bit of Russian and Ukrainian.
He was predeceased by his wife Pauline of 54 years in October, 2001, his parents Jacob in 1965 and Domnica in 1947, sister Helen of Shell Valley, MB, stepsisters Elsie of Elora, ON, stepsister Jean of Hamilton/Owen Sound, ON, Mary and Victoria as infants, stepbrother Marko of Bield, MB, stepbrother Sam of Shell Valley, MB.
He leaves to mourn his wife, Marie, daughters, Jane Tishinski (Wally), Calgary, AB, Leah Holovach, Winnipeg, MB, Karen Lichkowski (Willy), Winnipeg, MB, sons, Terry, Calgary, AB, Ken, Surrey, BC, Kelvin, Surrey, BC, Thomas, Winnipeg, MB. Grandchildren Tiffany, Allison (Jane), Chad, Jordon (Karen), Jesse, Lexy (Leah), Avery (Thomas), great-grand-children, Melia, Ciarra, Grady, Isla, Liam, Paige and Ben.
Also left to mourn is his extended family, Judy (Tom), Sandra (Howie). Grandchildren Jacelyn and Taylor, Lexie and Caleb, Riley and Jennifer. Laurie and Winnie. Great grandchildren Noah and Owen, Julian and Alexander, Cai and Tyson.
You can describe Alex as having several passions in life but most particular could be remembered for, was his following of the Orthodox faith, his dedication to running the Church Choir for several years, an organizer of people spearheading or assisting in several community initiatives like the building of the Shell Valley Hockey Rink, the Shell Valley Hall, the Loon Lake Ball diamonds and picnic grounds, managing and financing several Shell Valley ball teams and assisting with activities of the local minor hockey organizations and often helping other children driving them to hockey practises and games at his own expense. Last but not least, was his passion for sports and the great outdoors, reading about his Faith and even wine making. And, he loved farming.
His love for his family was expressed in his drive and motivation for them to do the best and excel in whatever you do in life but do it well whether it was in sports, your profession or your religion. He instilled a good work ethic and drive for excellence.
His passion for sports was impeccable often following the likes of his most favourite teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Saskatchewan Roughriders to his very last breath and even attending their games, the Leafs while he lived in Hamilton and the Riders while living in Roblin and Russell. .
At an early age he spent time doing many tough jobs like working in the sawmills and pulp and paper mills of Manitoba and Northern Ontario. Also, in his teens he lived in Hamilton, ON, working at the United Car Fastener and the Steel Company of Canada. This also gave him the opportunity to take accordion music lessons and attend games of his beloved Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens. During his farming career in the mid 50’s he also worked in Northern MB working on caterpillar supply trains over frozen rivers.
In 1946 he met a beautiful red-headed young girl, Pauline, in the district that surprised the looks of even his shiny new motorcycle that he had purchased in Hamilton. On August 28, 1947, Alex and Pauline exchanged vows and married in the St John’s Orthodox Church in Shell Valley, MB.
They both raised seven fine children four boys who excelled in hockey, two girls as successful nurses and wives and one an accomplished singer. Alex took great pride in their achievements.
Many accomplishments in his life include:
Directing the Church Choir for many years
Served on boards of the local Church
President of the Orthodox Brotherhood of Canada
With the assistance of Nick Holunga organized the local Community Club
Coached, managed and played on baseball and hockey teams in SV, Russell, Roblin and Hamilton, ON
Organized and was President of the Local Farmers Union
Organized and helped build the outdoor hockey rink and community hall in SV
Helped many including not only his own family but other kids taking them to hockey practises and games in Inglis and Roblin and other places often at his own expense and time
Helped with coaching and bus driver for the local minor hockey association in Roblin
Spearheaded the carving out the ball diamonds, picnic grounds and concessions at Loon Lake
Drove school bus for 9 years in the InterMountain School Division
He worked on industrial equipment like bulldozers building highways and roads often to subsidize the farm income but also to help purchase equipment for the various sporting teams at his own expense.
In 1979 was appointed Weed Supervisor for the municipalities of Shell River, Hillsburg and Park North. Through these efforts he was recognized as a respected and knowledgeable work colleague with other Supervisors and Agronomists across the Province.
In 1991 was his trip of his lifetime, with wife Pauline and son Terry, took a trip to Romania, Ukraine and Hungary meeting relatives for the first time ever in his life and kissing the ground of the fatherland. Also visited Germany and Austria often visiting war memorial sites and museums for which he always found interesting.
In 1994 became Leader and Sub Deacon in the Orthodox Church appointed by Archbishop Nathaniel from Detroit, Mi, the Head of the Orthodox Episcopate of America.
Sadly, his wife Pauline passed away in 2001, he was very lonely for years. He met his lovely wife Marie and they married in 2007 at St Elias Church in Lennard, MB. They have been married for 15 years. They both enjoyed their congenial years together despite his health issues and she was very supportive of him especially in his failing health years. She was there for him always right to the bitter end at his bedside when he passed away on Friday.
Farewell Dad for now and God Bless You!
St. Elijah Romanian Orthodox Cemetery Fund
c/o Barry Sawchuk, Inglis MB R0J 0X0