On Thursday, June 25, 2020, Mark Pshyk of Calgary, Alberta passed away peacefully at the age of 80 years. He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Janet; his daughter, Carrie (Ross); his brother, Bill (Dayna); and his nieces, Lauren and Regan. Mark was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Zenobia Pshyk. A special thank you to Dr. Scott, Dr. Habibi, Dr. Stinton, Dr. Bass, private caregiver Aurilea and the staff of the Rockyview General Hospital for their exceptional care of Mark over the last 12 years. In keeping with his wishes, cremation has taken place and no formal service will be held.
Dad was born in Innisfree as the first child of Harry Pshyk and Zenobia Pshyk. Dad’s father was a teacher and to Dad’s chagrin, was his teacher in a one-room school for a few years. Dad was surrounded by uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents in his early years in Innisfree.
Dad was predeceased by his good friend and partner in crime, Borden Kaminsky (1939 -2014). A highlight of one of my golfing trips with Dad was meeting Borden in 2008. We golfed and visited with family and friends in Vegreville, Innisfree, Morecambe, and Two Hills. It was enlightening to tour these places and visit with Borden and his wife Mavis. I learned all about Dad’s early years and the mischief that he and Borden got into. My takeaway was that he had a very adventurous childhood and may have been punished often!
Dad had 11 years as an only child and then along came Billy, his younger brother. The age difference meant my grandparents had a built-in babysitter. He may not have been the best babysitter as he once made a raft with Billy and let him test it out. I think he may have had to save his brother as the raft sank. The most memorable story was when Dad wanted to go to a dance, but had to babysit, so he took Billy with him to the neighboring town. He rented a hotel room and told Billy to watch the car out front. Unfortunately for Billy, Dad drank too much and someone else drove him home. Nana was obviously not happy with the answer to “Where is Billy?”.
Dad was a lover not a fighter. He was known as the Romeo of his high school graduating class and I am sure was responsible for his share of broken hearts. In 1963, while working in Northern BC, Dad met and married my mother, Sharon Woods, a registered nurse. I was born in 1966. My parents settled in Edmonton shortly after my birth. Then fate took its course and due to a strike of the Edmonton Pipefitters Union in the mid 70’s, he took a job in New Brunswick and that is where he met his true love, my stepmom (“Mom”). My Dad and mother were divorced in 1976. Dad married Janet Barbara Beman on November 19, 1977. The whole family was present for their wedding, including me as a junior bridesmaid. I remember how happy he looked on that day. I moved in with Dad and Mom in 1979. Mom, Dad, and I went to Las Vegas in 2013 where they renewed their vows in the presence of “Elvis”. They were married for 43 years before Dad’s passing.
Dad and Mom loved the sun. They worked hard all year to spend five or six weeks in the Okanagan, BC. In the early days it was with a tent trailer, and then they upgraded to a trailer. Although not considered a healthy practice today, they would lay out all day on the lake on their air mattresses. Needless to say, Dad always seemed to have a tanned complexion as he would get so dark in the summer that it seemed to last all winter. Dad and Mom lived in the Okanagan in the early nineties for a few years and then again from 2004 to 2012. Lake country really suited Dad.
Dad was a big softy which was especially evident when seeing him dote on the many family pets. Dad was predeceased by four cats, Puddies, Minky, JC, Penny; and two dogs, Chevy and Caddy. The last pet they had was a beautiful cat, Sassy Kat, who was a great companion to Dad in the last few years as his health was failing.
Dad loved his cars. While waiting for his cataract surgery last November I distracted Dad by asking him to recall all the vehicles he owned over the years. He named over 30 cars/trucks and five recreational vehicles. His first car was a ‘53 Plymouth convertible that was red with a white top. His last vehicle was a 2007 BMW X3 SI. Dad and Mom were members of the classic car club, The Roadkings. They enjoyed going to the various car shows in BC with their ‘82 Corvette, especially the car show in Nelson BC.
Dad was very active and particularly enjoyed curling and golf. In his teens, Dad was part of a team that won a provincial title. I remember going to the curling rink in Edmonton a lot and playing in the kids’ area as my parents curled or watched curling. Dad had lots of stories from bonspiels, especially the 24-hour ones in the NWT. He didn’t curl much after the ‘70s but did seem to enjoy coming out to watch me curl recreationally in Calgary. He was a member at the Leduc Golf and Country Club in the ‘70’s as was his father and brother. Shaganappi Valley was the course he played the most in the last number of years. He golfed his last round of nine holes with me in 2018 at Shaganappi, and at 78 years of age shot a very respectful 46. I am grateful that I have so many memories of golfing with Dad.
Dad had a great sense of humour and really liked to be a tease. Yes, Dad was the “Whose got your nose?” or “pull my finger” kind of Dad. He would colour his mustache with shoe polish and then kiss Mom (who would be oblivious for some time that she had black shoe polish all over her face). Mom and I remember Dad hiding from a little kid at the campground in Penticton, BC. Apparently, he had chatted with a 5 year old in the bathroom that morning. He had convinced the 5 year old that that he was Santa Claus on vacation. The poor kid stalked my Dad for days as he had some follow up questions. Dad definitely had the gift of the gab, supported by wit and charm.
Dad had style and in my eyes was always cool. I remember Nana telling me how upset she was that Dad would make her take brand new jeans, cut off the hem and then ask her to wash them over and over with bleach. From her perspective he was ruining a perfectly good pair of jeans that were no longer going to last long. He had a handlebar moustache in the late ‘70s and even a small ponytail at the age of 72. He liked his gold jewellery and was known for wearing chains, bracelets, rings, and nice watches.
Dad was a plumber, pipefitter and gasfitter and was known by his colleagues for being a hard worker, a problem solver and the guy that was always up for having a beer after work and sharing some laughs. Dad was very well liked in his professional circle and always seemed to be able to find work, even when times were tough. Dad’s early professional life took him to northern Alberta/BC and NWT, primarily working for Fuller & Knowles building hospitals, schools, and other large commercial projects. He eventually stopped working the tools and became an estimator and project manager. He did, however, keep his ties to the Edmonton Pipefitters Union and retired as a lifetime member. In his new role as estimator and project manager, Dad worked for several companies. He was very proud of his work on the RCMP Headquarters in Edmonton, the Lethbridge Animal Research Centre, and the fire station in Fort Saskatchewan. I didn’t get too many “take your daughter to work days”, but I had a few and I remember how proud of him I was. It was evident to me that his colleagues really respected and genuinely liked Dad.
Dad was a great participant in life and although my mom and I will miss him something awful, we are blessed with so many incredible memories and the comfort that he now rests in peace.
Hi Carrie, not hard to see where you got your beautiful smile from. A wonderful tribute to your dad. From our many chats I know he was a "rock" in your universe. I can also say that he was blessed to have you as his daughter. The time, effort and devotion you gave to him in his final years provided him with the knowledge and solace that he had raised a beautiful, caring daughter. Our thoughts are with you, Ross, your mom and the rest of the family. Rich and Ingrid
What a beautiful tribute to your Dad Carrie. Although I never met your Dad, it is clear that he was deeply loved, and will be missed dearly by you and your Mom. I would say that you have many of your Dad's wonderful qualities. I hope that your many happy memories will bring you comfort through your grief.
Dear Jan, Carrie & Ross, We are sending all of our love and thoughts to each of you on your loss of Mark. We got to know Mark & Jan in Leduc as they our neighbors. Our friendship grew and turned into the two of them becoming our family! After Mark and Jan moved to Oyama, we would go to visit them and always had such a fantastic time. Our dog Yukon just loved Mark and Jan and she couldn't wait to get out of the truck to see them when we went to Oyama. Mark would have work projects back in Alberta when he was working for Bird Construction and he would stay overnight at our place which was an endless night of laughs and talking. Mark was such a dear and genuine friend to us for many years and we will miss him terribly. We are so thankful for all the wonderful times and memories that we had with Mark. All we know is that Heaven has gained another Angel and Mark's spirit will be with Jan, Carrie, Ross and us forever. May the love of your family and friends help you through this extremely sad and difficult time. All of our love, sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with each of you today and always. Brian & Kathy
Dear Janet and Carrie, I am so honored too have met, lived beside, laughed with your Dad. Your Dad sure is one of a kind.. we will all miss him dearly. To Janet, my dear we know he is the love of your life .... Carrie getting to know you... I see your Dad in you.. Hugs and hugs to you both... Mark.. your off to your next round.. see you at the 19th hole. Xxxxxxxx Polly
Carrie what a wonderful tribute to your father. I only met your father a couple of times but I was impressed by him and you have inherited the qualities that make you the impressive person you are. You have had many fine memories of your Dad and I commend you for sharing them with us in such a caring way. I know that you will really miss your Dad but take solace that you will always be able to think of his life and remember the good times and the fun you had with him.
Dear Jan We are so sorry for your loss Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Al & Gloria
What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. All these wonderful memories will become treasures as time passes. May your Dad rest in peace!
Sending your Mom, you and Ross our deepest sympathies on the passing of your Dad. We feel blessed that we had the opportunity to spend so much of your wedding day with your parents. They made us feel like we were part of the family! Sending you love and hugs!
Carrie, I only briefly met your dad a couple of times, but now I feel as if I really knew him (and I agree, he was definitely cool). What wonderful memories you’ve shared with us my friend. I know your dad will be greatly missed, but at least you can take comfort in knowing that you were a truly loving daughter to him - he couldn’t have asked for better care! Big hug Carrie, Mary
Carrie, this was such a beautiful And well written tribute to your Dad, and it’s obvious you gave a great deal of thought to it. We learned things about Mark that we hadn’t known. Some of our best memories Of Mark is of course rafting The river in Penticton, Going on the houseboat trip in the Shuswap for a week, and us all baking like lizards in the sun. Mark got hats on the houseboat trip for all of us. He was the captain and Doris was first mate on that trip. He was also an extremely talented builder and renovator. By the time he was done, his houseS were showpieces. We count ourselves lucky to have known Mark.