Anton C. Proskiw

Anton Proskiw

(April 5, 1921 – November 14, 2013)

Tribute written and presented by son, Bryan Proskiw

Funeral Service, Rutland, British Columbia
November 25, 2013

I want to thank everyone for coming to this service. My father would be touched by the number of calls, texts, and postings on Facebook from people expressing their condolences. On behalf of my mother and our families we thank you.

Anton Proskiw was born on a small farm in Myrnam, Alberta on April 5, 1921 to Paul and Mary Proskiw. His parents had emigrated to Alberta from the Ukraine at the turn of the century with their parents who were seeking a better life and opportunity for their children. He grew up in this little Ukrainian community with his 7 brothers and sisters. Dad was about 5 years old when his parents became Seventh-day Adventists His belief in Christ and the Adventist message became an integral part of his entire life.

Dad remembered helping his Dad, Paul build the first Ukrainian Seventh-day Adventist church in Myrnam. This church still stands today and is now an Alberta Heritage Site. Dad remembered carrying boards for his father as the Adventist men built their new church.

Dad was born left handed but had to learn to write with his right hand since the teacher felt it was unnatural to be left handed. He found school difficult and always remembered how the teacher tied his left hand behind his back so he would learn to write with his right hand. He attended this little country school house and quit as soon as soon as he turned 16. He never did finish grade 8 and thought he would become a farmer.

Dad developed a love for working with wood from his father and I remember Dad being happiest when he was building something.

Dad married Eva Melnechuk on August 5, 1945 and they began their life together; he farmed and mother was a teacher in a local one roomed country school house.

I was born in 1948 and my sister Elayne was born in 1951. Our family moved often but whether we lived in Beauvallon, Edmonton, or Langley, Elayne and I remember our family life revolving around busy work weeks and restful, spiritual, Friday nights and Sabbaths. Friday nights we would gather around the piano, sing and learn new songs. These singing sessions often ended with Elayne starting to giggle or me starting to laugh because someone hit a wrong note or messed up the words.

Sabbath was special in our home. Mom and Dad were always thankful to have been given one day of the week to worship and rest.

I want to remember and mention some of the many people that Dad felt enriched his life. His little brother Joe who is here today. We have spent so many times singing and playing our guitars together.

Thank you to Randy and Karen Ferguson, Marie and Ralph Kneller, Fritz Wirtz, Albert Fedesanko, Don and Marilyn Melashanko, Vicki and Derek Hillary. Thank you for your visits. Margaret Hossack– Margaret looked after Dad and Mom’s personal needs when they lived at the Missionwood Retirement Home.

George Mason–Mom and Dad’s accountant and friend who has always been there to help with their financial planning.

My mother-in-law Verna Jacobson whose smile, wit, and chuckles were always appreciated.

Pastor Brian Hawes and his wife Karen, you don’t know how much your visits meant and of course he appreciated the food Karen brought.

Finally the staff at Missionwood where Mom and Dad lived for the last couple years and the staff at Lake Country Lodge & Manor.

I’m sorry I can’t mention you all but my daughter Lora has been given instructions to keep me on the clock.

Dad told me that his family accepted the Seventh-day Adventist message when he was about 5 yrs. old. He referred to this as becoming a “believer” even though the family had to endure many challenges practicing their new religion.

Dad always considered it a privilege to be part of his large Adventist family and developed a deep conviction for what was right and what was wrong. He wished he could have become a singing evangelist.

He always loved helping others and considered it a privilege to be asked to build something for someone. He helped build the Edmonton SDA Church, the Kelowna SDA Church including the lamps, and worked at the Okanagan Adventist Academy fixing things up or renovating. Working and being busy were what kept Dad happy.

Farming in northeastern Alberta was a difficult life. Trying to grow grain in a short growing season area with unpredictable weather was hard on Dad and his health suffered so we moved to Edmonton where Dad developed his carpentry skills and mom furthered her teaching career.

Dad eventually became a finishing carpenter, building contractor, rest home owner, and rental property owner and manager.

We moved many times but Mom and Dad always worked as a team trying to get ahead. They eventually settled here in Kelowna and this was the one place that Dad really liked.

Over the last two years, Dad’s physical abilities really began to take their toll but he really had no chronic pain and his heart condition was well controlled with medication and for this he was thankful. He used to tell me, “this growing old is a crazy thing”.

I’m sure you all know how much he enjoyed his cars.

I suspected this past April when he decided to give up his driver’s license just before his 92nd birthday that he was ready to stop living.

He continued to enjoy reading his Bible, singing hymns and gospel songs. He would play his guitar or harmonica while listening to his favorite hymns.

Dad’s life was simple yet memorable. He believed in forgiveness, helping and respecting others.”

He was dedicated to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was so proud of their accomplishments.

He loved my wife Judy as a daughter and Elayne’s husband, Warren, as a son; my children, Adam, Lora, and Brooke; and Elayne’s children, Justin and Lindsay. But over the last few years he really enjoyed spending time with his great grandchildren: Noah, Quinten, Addison, Brynn and newborn Avery.

He understood the importance of family and faith. Dad was a wonderful father who dedicated his life to his family and Christ.

His faith was unwavering and he went for a nap last Thursday morning after breakfast and was found in his bed with his head resting on his arm with no sign of struggle or suffering.

Dad now waits to hear his Saviour’s voice on the Resurrection Morning.

Proskiw family, 1953

Proskiw, Anton C. 1921 – 2013


Appeared in Edmonton Journal November 20, 2013

The family of Anton Proskiw is sad to announce his sudden passing on November 14, 2013. He died peacefully in his sleep at Lake Country Lodge and Manor where he lived with his beloved wife Eva. He was born in Myrnam, Alberta on April 5, 1921 and enjoyed a full and wonderful life as a farmer, finishing carpenter and building contractor. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was happiest in the last few years when he was surrounded by grandchildren or playing with his great grandchildren. He also loved listening to music or watching his Vancouver Canucks.

He will be greatly missed by his wife Eva of 68 years, son Dr. Bryan (Judy) Proskiw, daughter Elayne (Warren) Jacobson, five grandchildren; Adam Proskiw, Lora Proskiw Moran (Grayson), Brooke Proskiw Stromsmoe, Justin (Becky) Jacobson, and Lindsay Jacobson. His five great grandchildren; Noah Stromsmoe, Quinten Stromsmoe, Addison Moran, Brynn Moran and Avery Jacobson will especially miss their Gido. His faith was strong to the very end and he now waits to hear the voice of his Savior on the Resurrection Morning.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm at the Rutland Seventh-day Adventist Church, 130 Gerstmar Road. A private family interment will take place on Tuesday, November 26 at Lakeview Memorial Gardens Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Okanagan Adventist Academy, 1035 Hollywood Road S., Kelowna, British Columbia V1X 4N3. Arrangements entrusted to VALLEYVIEW FUNERAL HOME, Honoured Provider of Dignity Memorial 250-765-3147.

Tribute to my dad, Anton Proskiw

Written and presented by daughter, Elayne (Proskiw) Jacobson

Funeral Service, Rutland, British Columbia
November 25, 2013

I was about four years old when I was sitting on my dads lap telling him how much I loved him.
He of course, in his playful, teasing manner, said, “how much do you love me”
I said, “oh I love you so much I could kiss you 100 times.”

He said,“really–well you better show me.”
I got to about 80 and I was tired of bending forward kissing him. He said, “Guess you don’t love me as much as you say”
so I continued–I made it to 100–but I had a stiff neck the next day!

I would suspect that not many of you would realize that my dad was responsible for my “intelligence.”
Again, I was quite small (maybe 5)
and dad took Bryan and I on an outdoor trek to find some “smart pills”–

He told us that that once we FOUND them and ATE them we would become really smart.
Of course, I was willing, so out we went–searching in the bush, among the willows.

All of a sudden he stopped and said–”there they are”
and low and behold sure enough, there was a little brown mound of pellets–
he pointed to them and said, “all you have to do is eat one and you will become instantly “smart.”
I was happy to oblige so bent down to pick one up.
I looked at Bryan, and I think he said, “those aren’t smart pills–that’s rabbit poop!!!!

Dad got a big grin and said, “well, look how smart you are now.” That was dad–
he loved to laugh, play a joke or say something funny.

I remember riding on the tractor as a child with him and we would sing as loud as we could–trying to drown out the hum of the tractor…..

I was told that when dad was a young boy he wanted to be a minister and would “practice” preaching while playing out in the field with his siblings.

He didn’t become a minister, but he helped and participated in his church! He loved being the song leader or having special music.
He was a deacon and offered countless prayers. He loved to pray!
Mostly though–he shared his “SERMONS THROUGH SONG.”

Quite often while he was singing or leading out you would notice him “conducting” the congregation with his left hand–
he was a lefty–kind of like me–
we both write with our right hand, but do most other things with our left hand.

He truly loved to sing and he had that clear tenor voice that would carry louder than most people in a congregation.
It was only 3 weeks ago, I sat in moms room and played the organ while both mom and dad sang, by memory the old gospel song, “I Serve a Living God.”

I was blessed to have a dad who loved me with an unbelievable devotion.
I have always said, “My dad is the only man who lived who thought I was “perfect.”

Oh I had my faults and we had our run-ins, but never-ever was there a grudge held
and almost immediately we would both “make-up” and KNOW that the love, respect and honor was there to stay.

I ADORED my dad and did many, many things WITH him.
I would go to work with him on week-ends!!
I would do odd jobs like sweeping basements or putting on electrical plates in the houses he was finishing. I would help put arborite on the countertops he was installing. I just loved being with him.

In the early days my reward was a bottle of grape pop–later it didn’t matter–I just wanted to hang out with him.

He would do anything for his family.
When I was a teen-ager and wanted to learn to water ski he would go to work at 4 am and be home by 10 so he could take us up to Cultus Lake.–
If I needed to be moved across the country to attend Andrews University in Michigan– he would drive me there in the middle of winter.

If Warren and I wanted help with our kids or wanted them to come up and babysit Justin and Lindsay, they would be up in a day—and stay for a week!!!
He would say, “of course we can come up–when should we come!”

Dad was a master craftsman.
My grade twelve graduation present was a handcrafted cedar chest that was made to match a storebought bedroom suite. It matched perfectly!
Later he built me a china cabinet, all our cabinets in our cabin, a dresser
and even little decorated boxes to store the stemware I had bought for mom.

My favorite projects were designing things for dad to build.
I would draw it out or find a picture, and he would build it.
No plan was needed—he would just use his imagination and skill

He built Justin a custom made bunk bed set, complete with carpeted stairs that led to the top bunk. It had built in drawers and bookshelves.
It was so large and made so precisely to fit the spot in the house, that we had to take it in, piece by piece through the window— cause it wouldn’t fit through the bedroom door.

For Lyndsey, he build a little dollhouse and a playhouse, complete with shake roof, a patio with tiny railing around and it even had a wallpapered interior.
It is 25 years old and still standing–and has been moved four times!

Nothing dad built was done quickly or poorly. He was a perfectionist and it was built to last!

Gifts for dad were usually tools, clothes, ties, cologne–or a real good gospel CD. He loved to dress up and loved shoes–preferably ones with buckles.

My first high school teaching job was here at Okanagan Adventist Academy.
Quite often there would be a student who would say, “Miss Elayne, your dad is getting into your car….looks like he is leaving you something”
and sure enough–he would have left a quart of milk, a carton of cottage cheese, a little pot roast or whatever other treat he would find.
He wouldn’t come in, just leave it in my car and leave it for me to find afterschool.

He loved telling everyone that his daughter was the teacher at the school
or his son was a doctor in Kelowna or that his son-in-law was part of Jacobson Brothers Forest Products.

He would follow each grandchilds pursuits and ask about each and every one of them often slipping them spending money as an extra treat.
He was sooo proud of his family, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.

If anything needed fixing or someone needed help, he was always willing to lend a hand. He was a doer and loved to helping others!!!

Dad loved cars—and trucks—-oh my–his vehicles were perfectly maintained, perfectly washed and perfectly updated–REGULARLY AND OFTEN.
He knew many of the car dealers by name and was good at wheeling and dealing.

My dad loved hats—he had a hat for every occasion–from fishing hats to political hats.

From the time he was a very young man, courting my mom,
you would see him “dressed to the nines” with a fancy hat–turned “just right.”

And he truly loved that teacher Eva Proskiw—

Dad was private about showing his affections in public
and even when they were being married, he walked several miles before the ceremony to tell the pastor that he wasn’t going to kiss Eva in front of all those people.

He was private about SHOWING his affections, but you could SEE his love and devotion in his eyes and HEAR it in his voice.

I can’t quite fathom my life WITHOUT my dad, but also realize that GOD gave me a very PRECIOUS GIFT to enjoy for 62 years.

I couldn’t have asked for a better dad.
I knew WITHOUT A DOUBT that he loved me,
I will MISS HIM,
BUT he will LIVE in my HEART AND HEAD forever — and I WILL SEE him again–FACE TO FACE!

Anton and Eva (Melnechuk) Proskiw, 2009