Copyright © 2006
On the web since
November 13, 1927 to June 9, 2006
We Love You, Rocky!
Richard G. Kolisnyk
Peacefully, with family at his side, Rich passed away at St. Boniface General Hospital, survived by his wife Alice (nee Scales), children Donna Kurt, Douglas (Carmen), Robert (Susan), and Karen (Paul), grandchildren Keith, Matthew, Kelsea, Savannah, brother Ken (Bernadette), black lab Chance, and many family and friends. Rich was predeceased by his parents Paul and Sophie and brothers Mel and Ray.
Rich was born in Detroit, raised in Winnipeg, and attended Isaac Newton. He worked for Manitoba Government Telephones (MTS) and TransCanada Pipelines in Morden, and then for Air Canada as a mechanic for 36 years in Winnipeg and Edmonton, until his retirement in 1988. "Rocky" loved his football (senior league quarterback), hockey (Morden, Scotland, Winnipeg, Edmonton, old-timers), golf (six hole-in-ones), and enjoyed canoeing with Alice, Donna and friends. Rich volunteered for many groups such as the Manitoba Rec. Canoeing Assoc. He was a great welder and metal artist and all-around builder and handyman sharing his talents with many family and friends. Rich loved playing cribbage, especially with Alice. He was a stong, caring, sharing and loving man and is missed greatly by all.
The family thanks St. Boniface General Hospital for their care. Donations may be made in honor of Rich to the St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation towards the purchase of new hemofiltration dialysis machines used in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. Cremation at Knysh Funeral Home. Friends and family are welcome to gather to remember Rich between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Thursday, June 15 at Partner's Deli, Peguis Pavilion, West Kildonan Park. Or visit www.wilds.mb.ca/rich
Friends and family gathered to remember Richard Kolisnyk between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Thursday, June 15 at Partner's Delicatessen, Peguis Pavilion, West Kildonan Park.
The memoriams presented for Richard Kolisnyk at the Memorial Gathering are included in the Memoriams (below).
The tributes and eulogies presented for Richard Kolisnyk at the Memorial Gathering are included in the Tributes (below).
Download the Memorial donation form. (PDF format)
Rich is first on the left in the upper back row.
"Richie, tragically and unfairly you were stolen from those of us who knew and loved you. In life you were an exceptional husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and teammate. There have been and will always be equals but none better. I'm sure that as well as myself, your family and your very beautiful life long friends and teammates, would want to honour you with an MVP award. In this case MVP means 'Most Valuable Person'. You will always be an inspiration and I will miss you and love you forever.
Rest easy Bro, but keep the ice flooded and the beer cold as we will play again."
"We are gathered here to remember Richard. Life is not fair at times as we have witnessed in the untimely passing of Dad. Karen, Bob, Doug and I have inherited many things from Dad; his golf clubs, tools and art will remind of us of him; but we also got his sense of justice, gentleness, sportsmanship, strength, and wit. We are not an aggressive family, we learned from our parents to talk things out. Rich used to chuckle when I would tell him that I did 'not' appreciate his help or assistance on my house, my car or other things he did. On May 15, I accompanied Dad to the hospital and he told me how proud he was of me and how strong I am. The past few weeks I have told him the same many times and he winked, smiled and nodded to me through the pain and suffering. He told us he wanted to go home and to continue on. A month later I accompanied him to the crematorium.
I will miss my best friend, my 'favourite' Father."
Following, Karen's tribute (below):"If you didn't notice, Dad's obituary was posted in the Sports section of the Winnipeg Free Press; so, he made the Sports section once again; I would like to ask assistance from any of his teammates to help me getting Dad in the sports section one more time with an announcement that he is being honored in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame."
Following Norm "Red" Mann's tribute (below):"Kolisnyk is pronounced Kol-Is-Nyk. Once I had asked Dad's Dad, Paul, what 'Kolisnyk' meant, and he told me that it meant 'cartwright', someone who takes care of the whole cart, not just the wheels, cart or other parts of the cart. And Dad was like that, he was not only adept at welding, sheet metal, painting, autobody, carpentry, but also in many sports."
"I would like to say a few words on behalf of not only me, but my family back in Australia, Carmen, Keith and Matthew.
They all hold us in their hearts today.
It is difficult to be apart from the people who you hold most dear, especially at times like this, because family is so important.
This is just one of the many of life's lessons that Dad taught us; that along with DON'T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW.
It was appropriate that Dad's nickname was Rocky, because that is just what he was. The Rock that could come down on you when it was needed and trust me, when the four of us were growing it was needed on occasions. Although, I would like to point out at this point, that it WAS NEVER MY FAULT, right MUM? But he was also the rock that you could cling to and feel safe and secure knowing that he and my Mum would always be there for us when we needed help.
That is a feeling that will never leave me and that I can pass onto my sons. This is a direct quote from Carmen, Keith and Matthew, 'Goodbye you old bugga, safe journey!'
We will always remember the love and laughter you brought to us, and are proud that we had you as our Grandpa. We will never forget you!
There is also another message from Keith and Matthew to you Mum. They said to tell you that 'Grandma is still their best beach babe.'
All of us, whether you are family or one of his many friends, have special memories of of Richard Gilbert Kolisnyk, and because of that, you would know also that he would not want this celebration of his life to be a sad one. But for the first time in 50 years, I am going to have the final word Dad.
You will always be loved and you will always be missed."
"I think of Dad's strength, over the past month in particular, and this is giving me the strength to stand before you today to honor him. There are not enough words to describe such a great man, nor do I feel I have to because we all know what an exceptional man he is.
I also have to be fair and say that I'm angry that we are all here today. Even in Dad's passing he continued to teach us. Teach us that if you are not feeling right and you are not satisfied with the 'diagnosis' don't be afraid to get a second opinion. We are the masters of our bodies and you need to be persistent! This is the lesson for today, thanks Dad, you are the best teacher I ever had.
Now let's get to where Dad would want us all, having a laugh, sharing memories and reflecting on his life which we were all privileged to share with him.
I'll start off with one Christmas that I will never forget. I was very young but the memory is clear. Dad came home on XMAS eve after his work party. Being the busy man he was (or maybe it was the beer) he had forgotten to pick up a XMAS tree. So Mom, Doug and Dad cruised up and down the back lanes around Inkster and McPhillips and managed to find an abandoned tree near a garbage bin which was a little worse for wear and tear. We picked up the tree along with the broken scattered branches and headed for home. As soon as we got there Dad got out his trusty drill and proceeded to 'Build a new tree'. Just as he finished, Anita and Bucky Buckoski dropped in and they nick named the tree 'Snoopy's Xmas tree'. Every time I put up my tree I think of that tree.
He didn't want to disappoint us and he didn't. Even though it may not have been the most lush and could only hold a few strings of popcorn, it was the best tree we ever had!
Dad was always there for us and I remember he would often be on the side lines watching me play volleyball, basketball and mostly baseball, cheering me on. I was lucky to have my own private coach.
At one game in particular, when I was about 11, near Sinclair Park, he was there on the sideline. I was pitching and the batter hit a line drive straight back to me. Instead of me putting out my glove I stopped it with my other hand and man did that hurt! Needless to say I dropped the ball and I recall the other team scored a run. I was taken off and Dad pulled me aside to make sure my hand was okay and then proceeded to give me shit for doing it!
He loved his sport and loved watching us play sport. On one of our visits about 6 yrs ago, Dad, Paul (my partner) and myself to a Moose hockey game. Dad was sitting in between us and there was a man about my age sitting next to me. As the game progressed I commented to Dad on how much the game had changed since he played. They fight a lot more, there's more checking etc. Dad was more disgusted with one of the referees on the ice and let him know in no uncertain terms and rather colorfully. He wasn't calling offside's, etc. The man next to me obviously heard our conversation and Dad's disappointment in the ref. So the man explained a few things to me & then reached across to tap Dad and proudly told us the ref was his brother. Dad leaned over me and promptly shook the man's hand and said "Glad to meet you, Rich Kolisnyk". We all had a good laugh and Dad made another good/funny lasting impression on someone who crossed his path.
Speaking of impressions, when Mom & Dad came over to Australia to help me fix up my apartment, they met Paul. Paul would often drop in and watch Dad and help where he could. He was amazed at what Rich could do with almost nothing and turn it into something special. He nicknamed Dad "FIGJAM", meaning F. I'm Good Just Ask Me!
One of Paul's favorite memories was when we went to a family gathering and we arrived first. We sat down for a cuppa and more people started to arrive. Dad turned around and said "Come on, Hurry up, Let's get outta here before someone comes". We all looked around at each other after Dad realized what he'd just said and laughed till we could barely breathe.
Dad & Mom are like a fine oiled machine. On another occasion, 5 yrs ago in Oz, we were taking them to a friends place for a B.B.Q. Earlier that day I was having a talk at work about older peoples relationships. On the drive there I asked Mom if they still had sex. Mom piped up, 'Yeh, sure, almost every day!' And like clockwork! Dad said 'Almost on Monday, almost on Tues, almost on Wed!' Paul could hardly drive for the tears in his eyes. Then Dad said 'We have Oral sex all the time', with Mom replying 'Yeah, We tell each other to F O all the time!'
I have unending memories which I'm so thankful for and it's with these that Dad will live on in my heart and head forever!
In closing I would like to quote two special people:
Paul Rowe wrote:
And this is a quote from Dad, from the Free Press 1990, after his 2nd Hole in One at Pine Ridge. It sums this whole thing up:
Glenda Deans, read by Doug Kolisnyk
"I write this to you Uncle Rich with a stunned feeling and heaviness in my heart.
I know you never asked for it, you never had a choice, but you were kind of like the dad we never had.
You kind of inherited just a small family, just 8 extra kids and you were just there being the kind of man'sman you always were.
You were kind of like an Archie Bunker cross and a Brady Bunch man in my eyes.
I loved you for who you were and how you kept your approach to life.
I love you for taking me aside in 1988 and taking me for a quite walk and telling me you thought my mom might die and that I should try prepare myself as I was feeling so fragile. You took my hand and told me bluntly, and dam it I didn't want to hear it, but you did what you felt you had too and it made me rethink how I would cope when my mom died. It helped me to be strong and reliable.
You took me for another walk once we were in Flin Flon when my mom was dying and it was bitterly cold in Jan 1989 and you let me bawl like a baby on your shoulder when I knew that my mom didn't have much time left to live.
I love you for being that strong man who could be there for me even though outwardly you said to "keep a stiff upper lip", You were there.
Your soft side showed in how you cared for Auntie Alice, who is a special gem to all of us.
It also showed in how you made a salad every night for your dog, such dam dedication to that dog. What a guy!
Uncle Richie you were a talented man, with your sports, crafts, cars, you coped with a lot in your life time.
You died in a way that made me feel you were short changed and you sure didn't deserve all the compliations and ill health that you had in the end.
I am so sad it ended this way for you and for your family.
Uncle Rich you know all your life, us Deans kids teased about your "flat" nose and recall when Cecily was younger she asked you if you "got your flat nose by chasing parked cars". Man we have had a lot of chuckles over that in the years.
I think Heaven doesn't have parked cars and you can go forever without getting hurt anymore.
I love you lots Uncle Rich, thanks you for being there for me and thank you for being who you were.
Love you niece Glenda."
Wayne Deans, read by Doug Kolisnyk
"I remember when I was 10 you gave me a $1 bill for helping you sand the lawn furniture you were building for Alice.
You said my eyes lit up, I was so proud. I've always been prouf of you Uncle Rich, your holes in 1, your welding skills & your way of making me and my family so welcome.
Oh & also how you enjoyed our crazy antics and goofing around. You always said "This is better than Vegas".
I am very sad & I'm going to miss you Uncle Rich.
Norm "Red" Mann's
"Rich and I met in Grade 1 at Faraday School. We played many sports together, soccer, baseball and hockey were our main sports interests. We went to Hibbings, MN in 48/49 to play hockey with Richie on the same line and then we parted ways, Richie went to Britain to play hockey, I went home to get married. The Hibbings newspaper mis-spelled Rich's name Kolinsky so from then on that's what I called him, "Kolinsky". In our retirement we rekindled our friendship and started to go out with our old friends as a group for breakfasts, lunches or dinner with our wives. Richie was dealt a bad hand and we will all miss him very much."
"Today there are many of us here from the Manitoba Naturalists Society and Paddle Manitoba that feel like we have lost one of our family. Over the years we have gotten together with Donna and her parents, Alice and Rich, to share many occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, movie nights or a slide show from a past canoe trip led by Donna. I remember the Tuesday night paddle on the La Salle River when Rich's wallet fell in. I got to know Rich, Alice and Donna a little better after picking out sister Labrador Retrievers from a litter of puppies four years ago ... one black and one chocolate. We met weekly out at Cooks Creek, Manitoba for dog training classes with our two sister labs, Chance and Gyda. What joy Chance brought to Rich and Alice! Rich loved to go walking or biking with his new four legged companion. Yes, we have all been made to feel like a part of your family, Donna. As one of this big, extended family, I am going to miss you very much, Rich."
Tributes and stories can also be read and posted at Winnipeg Free Press Passages. Search for obituaries on June 13, 2006 then select the link for Richard Kolisnyk. Here is a tribute posted on the Passages website for Rich:
"I spent many a chilly fall evening sitting in the stands of Osborne Stadium cursing Richie Kolisnyk and his crew in their tattered Isaac Newton uniforms. I went to Gordon Bell. He was one hell of a quarterback and I have never forgotten him. Allan P. Gray in Austin Texas, June 13, 2006."
Rich passed away peacefully on June 9, 2006 at 5:47 PM in the presence of his family, his wife Alice, children Donna, Douglas, Robert and Karen and brother Ken, at St. Boniface General Hospital in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. We told Rich of everyone's wishes for him, from all his friends and family. Rich did not suffer in his passing.
Richard G. Kolisnyk
"A year has passed since you have gone and the pain and
sorrow remain. I planted a rose in your honour and each day we talk, I
can care for you and your roses which are as beautiful as you are in my
"Do you know how many that you are a father, brother and friend to? Your strength, faith, trust, ingenuity, humor, caring, sportsmanship and smile are cherished in fond memories of you by countless friends and family from around the world who miss you and love you."
"Always in our thoughts, forever in our hearts."
The family has received countless messages and calls from around the world since Richie passed away:
A FEW WORDS FROM ACROSS THE POND
Tony & Joanne Meaning
"We first met Richie at a Hockey Reunion in Winnipeg back in 1999 and from that moment a friendship was forged, it was a friendship initially born through our love of hockey and Joe Shack (Uncle Joe to Richie) a family friend of Joanne's Father from their early days in Winnipeg's North End a long time ago.
On our visits into Winnipeg we always met up with Richie and Alice, and the bond of friendship grew so strong, and we were always keen to toast it with a beer or two or three and the game of shuffle board, which was taught to us by the Three Amigos, Rich, Tod and Bert.
We have many memories to cherish and reflect upon, our walk through West Kildonan Park and Richie's toasted tomato sandwiches, boy did they go down well.
Contact was maintained throughout by way of emails, and of course lengthy phone calls, those 4000 miles that separated us were quickly forgotten once the phone rang.
Of course Richie will never be forgotten because there is always Alice, Alice and Richie were as one and that's how it will always be."
Tony submitted this Tribute to Richie,
Donations may be made to St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation, 409 Tache Ave., Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6 care of the Richard Kolisnyk Memorial Fund towards the purchase of a new dialysis machine ("Rocky").
The hemofiltration dialysis machines nicknamed by staff as "Thelma" and "Elvis" gave Rich a very good chance of recovery and gave everyone a lot of hope while he was in the Intensive Care Unit. These machines would have saved Rich if only the bile leaking into his abdominal cavity causing septic shock and multiple infections had been stopped.
Thank you very much for all your donations! As of September 11, 2006, Rich's memorial fund is just over $2,000 so his name, Richard "Rocky" Kolisnyk, will be placed on the new memorial wall at St. Boniface Hospital in the next month. We have a long way to go to buy a dialysis machine so please contribute as you can!
Donors to Richard "Rocky" Kolisnyk Memorial Fund as of November 10, 2006
Donations to other funds in honour of Richard Kolisnyk:
Rich created hundreds of pieces of metal art
Rich crafted countless bonzai-style money trees
Rich's ashes are spread in different places around the world,
Alice, Karen, Kelsea and Savannah
Alice, Karen, Kelsea and Savannah
Rich Kolisnyk's memorial at
Kelsea and Savannah remember their
Donna and Alice spread some of Rich's ashes
Donna spreads some of Rich's ashes
Here are a few suggestions for medical advice that are worth considering for anyone preparing for, undergoing or following surgery, or for someone caring for such a person and for other medical situations:
SURGERY RECOVERY STATUS
This page provides some history of Rich's recovery following an operation that was intended to remove a kidney with a tumor on it (nephrectomy) which was found during MRI preparation for pending aneurysm surgery and which lead to his unexpected death caused by septic shock.
Rich played hockey for the
Richard and his family thanks everyone for your expressions of love, concern, prayers, hopes and well wishes for his recovery.
The nurses and doctors at the St. Boniface General Hospital have been providing the best possible care for Rich and we greatly appreciate their support and efforts to help Rich recover and then to pass peacefully. Although Rich was dealt a number of bad hands, it could not have been at a better "hotel"! (Rich said "hotel" after being asked where he was while being restrained from tying to go home when he was in the step-down unit on May 17; he was confused from the morphine).
Please note that the following explanations of medical terms, conditions and status are an interpretation of verbal information received from the medical staff and our own observations of his condition and the treatments he is receiving; they are not prepared from written reports or documents; they are also prepared from recollections of conversations and what we observed hours after visiting Rich and sometimes under duress, so they may not be correct or accurate, but they are an interpretation of what we understand at this time and are shared with you here.
Alice, Rich & Chance (August 7, 2005)
The initial laproscopic kidney with tumor removal/nephrectomy (Wikipedia Nephrology Link) operation on May 15 had worsened due to the bursting of a weak artery wall during initial surgery; this caused loss of several units of blood and compromised internal organs due to low blood pressure; the surgeons resorted to a much larger incision to repair the artery and for the kidney nephrectomy to be completed and he was given 2 units of blood and 1 unit of his own blood using a new "cell-saver" technology. During recovery over the next few days, further complications (lack of adequate kidney/urine output, poor heart rate/pressure, poor oxygenation) resulted in moving him down to the Intensive Care Unit for more aggressive life support; a very serious infection was finally attributed to excessive bile in his abdomen cavity causing septic shock to his internal organs and to his body and brain in general; during a second dangerous surgery on May 21 an intestinal surgeon found three pinhole punctures in the small intestine that were leaking bile into Rich's abdomen, causing peritonitis, so they removed 3 feet of small intestine and his small intestine was resectioned; this surgery gave him a chance to recover otherwise he would have passed within several days. On May 22 he was placed on a low-impact hemofiltration Prisma dialysis machine (Wikipedia Dialysis Link) which helped to clean his blood and remove some fluids. Rich had suffered increasing metabolic acidosis from May 18 until about May 23 which kept him in a semi-coma state until the Prisma machine began to reduce the acids in his system. On May 25, the ICU attending doctor advised that Rich's mortality risk is 60% and that his recovery may take many weeks or months. On May 26 a CT-scan indicated there are no blood clots in his brain and his lungs have some pleurisy. On May 28 the ICU attending doctor advised that we have more signs that he does not have any brain damage (he often becomes fully awake and will respond to questions, knows where he is) but he is still coming out of "the fog"; he is still recovering from the septic shock in his stomach and the wound is healing; his breathing is improving greatly and may be able to come off the breathing machine soon. His remaining kidney has failed and urine flow remains minimal, we can only hope that it will regain its function. May 29, just gave consent for Rich to go back into surgery at 10:30 am, his blood pressure suddenly dropped this morning and they figure he has internal bleeding, he runs many risks from this third surgery in 2 weeks. They had found that an artery tore that had come attached to a drain tube. He has surprised everyone and is recovering very quickly although he has received much blood and blood products and is on the Prisma hemofiltration machine again. He is awake again and fighting a secondary infection but is aware of who he is and where he is. After a week of slow recovery Rich had a tracheotomy surgery on June 7 and within two days began to feel much better, being able to move his mouth even though it is still very sore. However, he still has bile leaking into his abdomen and even though the antibiotics have been fine-tuned to the infections he has, he will not recover unless the bile leaks are found, fixed and heal. This afternoon the family met with the doctors and they advised that Rich's septic shock has permeated his body, and he became very unstable, heart medications were no longer stabilizing him and surgery was not an option. With his family surrounding him, Rich passed on at 5:47 PM on June 9, 2006. His spirit has returned to his home to live many more years with Alice and Chance and his family and friends.
June 9, 2006, Friday
The family wishes to express great appreciation for the support of the medical staff at St. Boniface General Hospital in their care for Rich and for the family. Many of them shared tears with us in Rich's passing, they grew fond of him, as anyone ever has.
Rich and Alice wed September 19, 1951
June 8, 2006, Thursday
Rich's shaky hand wrote
June 6-7, 2006, Tuesday-Wednesday
June 5, 2006, Monday
June 3-4, 2006, Saturday-Sunday
June 1-2, 2006, Thursday-Friday
May 30-31, 2006, Tuesday-Wednesday
May 29, 2006, Monday
May 28, 2006, Sunday
May 27, 2006, Sunday
May 26, 2006, Friday
When we visit, we often rub his feet like Mom always does and his knees, to help soothe him and help with the edema, as well as massaging his upper back.
Alice really misses Rich as do the rest of our family, Chance and all his many friends. However, having her children and Karen's children visiting with her helps her a lot. The support Rich has is overwhelming and we have told him about all your love and wishes for him to get well, we hope he will soon be able to express his thanks himself and also to tell you that in person.
Alice & Rich (August 7, 2005)
May 25, 2006, Thursday
May 24, 2006, Wednesday
May 23, 2006, Tuesday
May 22, 2006, Monday
May 21, 2006, Sunday
May 20, 2006, Saturday
May 19, 2006, Friday
May 18, 2006, Thursday
May 17, 2006, Wednesday
May 16, 2006, Tuesday
May 15, 2006, Monday
Your wishes, hopes and prayers for Rich's recovery and in his passing are greatly appreciated.
ROCKY'S SPORTS ACHIEVEMENTS
Richard (Rocky) Kolisnyk is a true sportsman, literally and figuratively. Besides Rocky's golfing awards (for multiple holes-in-one), he was also a recognized hockey forward in Manitoba, Scotland and the US, and a formidable football quarterback in Winnipeg.
Following his demise, his participation as quarterback for the 1954 Winnipeg Rams won him recognition in the Manitoba Football Hall of Fame on August 8, 2013 and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame on April 25, 2015. His wife, Alice Kolisnyk, and daughter Donna Kurt proudly received the awards on his behalf at the Awards ceremonies.They are shown below.
Despite it being 8 years since you left this existence, you remain in our thoughts, beings and existence.
Rest in peace Dad.
Manitoba Football Hall of Fame
Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame
TOP of PAGE