Obituaries

Richard Andrew Wojcik

April 24, 1969 - August 8, 2018

Richard Andrew Wojcik

Service Date: August 27, 2018

Church Grant Memorial Baptist Church

Prayers will be held on Sunday evening, August 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Memories in Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel, 1020 Main Street @ Manitoba Avenue, Winnipeg, MB. Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. in  Grant Memorial Baptist Church, 877 Wilkes Avenue with Rev. Fr. Barry Schoonbaert presider.

RICHARD ANDREW WOJCIK

April 24, 1969 – August 8, 2018

“To Everything There is a Season”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

It came very unexpectedly that our lives would be forever changed.  On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, our loving Dad, Brother and Brother-in-law, Son, Uncle, Great-Uncle, Nephew, Cousin, Colleague and Friend was taken from us way too soon, at the age of 49 years.

Remaining to lovingly cherish Richard’s memory are his two children, daughter, Rachel and son, Ryan; sister, Christine Mitchell (Grant); niece, Stephanie Pedersen (Kurt) and great-nephew, Hunter (Kurt’s children, Kylee, Kamren and Natasha); brothers, Arthur (Art) Wojcik (Carrie); nephew, Brayden and niece, Taylor, David Wojcik (Jamie); nephews, Kyle and Quinn and niece Jasmine, dad Edward Wojcik (Viola); former wife Louise Penny (Kevin); former partner Laurie Higgs (Matt and Jordyn); as well as numerous cousins, relatives and friends too numerous to mention, whom he had a very close bond and connection with.  He was predeceased by his mother Margaret Wojcik (July 21, 2015); grandparents Frank Wojcik (April 4, 1980) and Pauline Wojcik (September 18, 1999); Jacob Graft (November 30, 1964) and Helen Graft (nee Pawlak) (May 16, 1977), as well as 14 aunts, uncles and cousins on his mother’s side.

Richard was born and raised in Beausejour.  At the age of five, the family moved to Gillam and then Sundance, while his dad worked as a pipefitter on the generating stations. In 1979 the family moved back to Beausejour.

Being the motivated and gifted individual Richard was, it was not long after that he began his life-long work in the funeral service profession.  At the young age of 12 he began washing cars, cutting grass and answering phones for Russell Funeral Home.

After high school, he undertook a two-year Apprenticeship from the Western School of Mortuary Practice in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba. He then spent the next 11 years employed in various Funeral Chapels honing his skills. While in Beausejour, Richard was a Firefighter with the Beausejour Brokenhead Fire Department and also a member of the Beausejour Ambulance Service.

Throughout Richard’s 37 years of dedication to his profession, he had been employed at a number of this Province’s well-known funeral establishments, both international corporations and privately owned funeral homes.  This includes Russell’s Funeral Home and Sobering Funeral Chapel in Beausejour, as well as Chapel Lawn, Korban’s, Green Acres, Cropo’s and Leatherdale Gardiner Funeral Chapels in Winnipeg.

On October 13, 1998, Richard and Louise became the Owners of Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel at 2157 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB.  It was admirable that Richard, at the age of 29, had the foresight and courage to start his own business. There were many a day when he sat nervously at his desk wondering if he would get enough calls to pay the bills.  Five years later on August 16, 2003, his first privately owned Crematorium began operation in Headingley.  He then acquired a second Chapel on April 1, 2008, at 1020 Main Street.  Finally, on his birthday, April 24, 2015, the re-opening took place of Wojcik’s Crematorium in Headingley, after a fire had destroyed the first one.

First and foremost, Richard was a dedicated and loving dad to his children Rachel and Ryan, whom he cherished dearly.  They were always a first priority and he managed to balance being there for every important event in their lives as well as serving his “families” in funeral service.  “Our dad thought the world of us and couldn’t wait to see us when it was his week.  On Friday evenings we would order pizza and pick a movie to sit back and enjoy.  The three of us would catch up with all the stories from the past week and enjoy whatever movie we were in the mood to watch.  Since our dad LOVED to imitate anyone who had a different accent, such as the Scottish, in the movie “BRAVE”, he would be stuck repeating the same phrases repeatedly because he couldn’t get them out of his head!”  “When we were with our mom for the week throughout the school year, he would always want to drive either of us to school so he would be able to start his morning off “just right”.  Dad would always want to hold our hand while driving and he would say, “Hold my hand while we still can!”

“For my 16th birthday Dad made it extra special, as he normally would any occasion, and bought me tickets for my mom and I to attend a Billy Joel concert in Minneapolis.  It was a thrilling experience to be able to sit in the second row!  If that wasn’t enough, he surprised me by taking Ryan and I to Disney World and stayed at the Animal Kingdom!  This was just typical of what my Dad would accomplish! Dad was a good sport and “tried” to accommodate Ryan’s desires for outdoor sports.  This seemed to be pretty foreign to him, as he really didn’t like to get sweaty!  He LOVED to be clean and used his favourite cologne to finish off his routine so he would smell good all day long!”

Being the youngest of four siblings, and the baby in the family, Richard had a very close bond with his Mom.  He was proud to have learned how to play guitar by his mother at the age of seven.  Richard became self-taught in playing many more musical instruments without being able to read a note or understand music.  He played piano, organ and accordion and had “attempted” to learn the violin (that instrument didn’t go so well).  From a young age, he had an insatiable love of country music and wanted to be a part of the kitchen parties that were a common occurrence with his mom, aunts and uncles. Many family gatherings were enjoyed by the entertainment of Richard’s musical abilities.  As an adult, it was always a special time when he would go over to his mom’s and they would sing and harmonize and play guitar for hours “like they used to”.

Richard’s passion for country music had him listening to the classics by artists such as Charlie Pride, Don Williams, The Carter Family and more.  His all-time favourite however was George Jones.  We joked with him about one day renting the Concert Hall and holding a “George Jones Impersonator” concert as he knew every song by heart and could imitate him so well! We thought “if your siblings think you’re good, then people will definitely pay to hear you sing”! He always said, “When George Jones dies I’m going to his funeral”. When Jones finally did die, Richard “worked his magic” and did everything possible to attend the funeral.  He got his wish!  It meant so much to him to be among the artists he idolized and was warmly welcomed and greeted by The Oakridge Boys at the cemetery where “The Possum” (George’s nick name) was laid to rest.

Together, with his mom, he attended many concerts in Winnipeg such as Frank Mills, Don Williams, Kenny Rogers, Tommy Hunter, The Rankins, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Vince Gill and of course, Richard’s idol, Country Music’s Living Legend, George Jones, whom he was able to meet backstage on more than one occasion.

Richard had the most outgoing, genuine and loving personality.  His generous spirit touched many people he met along his all too short time on earth. He embraced you whether you were a stranger or friend.  Whenever he saw you he always had a smile and would give you the biggest hug possible, and shake your hand.  Richard always made sure you knew he loved you and would say it often.  It became a family tradition for him to be the first one to call and sing “Happy Birthday”, (the earlier the better, sometimes just after midnight, to beat anyone else!).  Being the competitive person Richard was, he would call on “HIS” birthday, before you could call him, and sing “Happy Birthday to Me!”  Even though we knew to expect this of him, it was always hilarious!

Richard would always have stories of events and people in his life and would often say, “I should write a book!”  His gift of re-creating events, complete with a solid imitation of their voice and mannerisms, were sure to make you laugh hysterically. He had a child-like spirit that couldn’t wait to scare the crap out of you, play a practical joke, or just have some fun around those people that came into his life.  Richard came to be known and admired, (though not always), as a very unique individual who insisted on doing things the “Richard Wojcik Way”.  His perfectionist personality is what led him to become a very successful business owner.

Prayers will be held on Sunday evening, August 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Memories in Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel, 1020 Main Street @ Manitoba Avenue, Winnipeg, MB. Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. in Grant Memorial Baptist Church, 877 Wilkes Avenue with Rev. Fr. Barry Schoonbaert and Rev. Carol Janke officiants. A private family Entombment will take place in Richard’s Mausoleum in St. Mary Roman Catholic Parish Cemetery, Beausejour, MB.

Our family would like to express sincere thanks and gratitude to the EMS staff, doctors and nurses at the Grace Hospital ICU for their excellent care and compassion to Richard and our family during this difficult time; Dr. R. Hamedani for your professional care and friendship over the years, Pastor Carol Janke and Father Owen Steeves for their prayers and support; Roger Girouard, long-time friend and colleague, for offering his professional services; Susan Hamilton MEI and Gail Bedosky MEI, for all of your assistance to our family; the numerous family and friends who were with us at the hospital to offer comfort, love and support; and everyone who called, texted or e-mailed their condolences.  As well, thank you to those colleagues in the Funeral Service Profession who have reached out to help in any way they can.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Richard’s memory to a charity of one’s choice.

Wojcik’s Funeral Chapels & Crematoriums, 2157 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg 204.897.4665 www.wojciksfuneralchapel.com

 

“If you love something, love it completely.

Cherish it, say it, but most importantly, show it.

 Life is finite and fragile and just because something is there one day,

 It might not be the next.  Never take that for granted.

Say what you need to say, then say a little more.  Say too much. 

Show too much.  Love too much. 

Everything is temporary, but love.

Love outlives us all.”

“Thank you, Richard for leaving us with this message of love and your legacy. 

You truly were one of a kind and we will miss you deeply.”