Richard Kolisnyk



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Rich Kolisnyk Family


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May 21 / 2006

June 9 / 2015
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Richard Kolisnyk

November 13, 1927 to June 9, 2006

We Love You, Rocky!




Richard G. Kolisnyk
November 13, 1927 to June 9, 2006
Printed in Winnipeg Free Press, June 13, 2006

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.


He fought his last battle so valiantly
     A battle he should have not lost

Exceptional courage and strength he showed
     Alas his body and heart slowed

Richie, good night, sleep well, sweet dreams
     Your spirit and soul
     will continue to beam

Our hero and knight in shining armor
     We miss you so much,
     our hearts are filled with sorrow

     You have taught us all so much
     from beginning to end

     You now lead the path
     so we can all meet again

     Rest peacefully "Daddio"

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




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 Richard Kolisnyk Memoriam with (corrected) Obituary Page 1 and Page 2 presented at the Memorial Gathering.

Download the Richard Kolisnyk PHOTO SLIDESHOW memoriam shown at the Memorial Gathering, updated December 25, 2006 (Apple Quicktime movie 48 Mbytes, 20 minutes (download free player for Mac/Win)).

Download the Memorial donation form. (PDF format)
or Donate On-Line (specify Richard Kolisnyk Memorial Fund). Donation information and a list of DONORS is provided below.


Rich is first on the left in the upper back row.


Ken Kolisnyk
"Goodbye to a Special Brother"

"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."





Donna Kurt's
Eulogy for Dad

"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."

Subsequent comments:

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."


Douglas Kolisnyk
Tribute to Richard Kolisnyk

"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."


Karen Kolisnyk
"To my Teddie Bear with a Strawberry Nose"

"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:

'It is with deep sadness he has left this world but better for his being here. So many will miss such a Great Bloke, Father, Grandpa & friend. Goodbye FIGJAM, until we meet again!'

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:

'A lot of things can happen from Tee to Green. There are a lot of things that can happen after the ball lands on the Green too. Something helps direct it in, who knows what!!'"


Glenda Deans, read by Doug Kolisnyk
"Farewell to Uncle Rich"

"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
"Dear Uncle Rich"

"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.

Love Beaner"


Norm "Red" Mann's
Tribute to Richie

"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."


Maureen Frolick
Tribute to Richard Kolisnyk

"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.



Winnipeg Free Press, June 9, 2007

Richard G. Kolisnyk
November 13, 1927 to June 9, 2006

"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 heart.
Love you and rest peacefully 'Daddio'."

"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:


Tony & Joanne Meaning
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England

"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,
which was published in the Ice Hockey Annual.




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!

Download the Memorial donation form. (pdf)
or Donate On-Line
(specify Richard Kolisnyk Memorial Fund)



Donors to Richard "Rocky" Kolisnyk Memorial Fund as of November 10, 2006

  • Elan Swatek, Winnipeg, MB
  • John and Janice Penner, Winnipeg, MB
  • Eileen Dudgeon, Morden, MB
  • Allan Dudgeon & Family, Morden, MB
  • Pete and Shirley Sawchuk, Winnipeg, MB
  • Mrs. V. Shettler, Winnipeg, MB
  • Fred Liebrecht and Lynn Williams, Winnipeg, MB
  • Nancy and Irene Thurston, Winnipeg, MB
  • Milt and Joyce Scales, Rock Creek, BC
  • Robert and Dawn Sommerville, Winnipeg, MB
  • Mort and Val Corrin, Winnipeg, MB
  • Clark, Ivy, Kelly, Shawna Hicks and Families, Lac du Bonnet, MB
  • Heather Brenan, Winnipeg, MB
  • Keith and Carole Watson, Winnipeg, MB
  • William and Irene Lucoe, Winnipeg, MB
  • Mr and Mrs W. Melnyk, Winnipeg, MB
  • Lynda Brethauer Venton, West St. Paul, MB
  • Walter and Elsie Konarski, Winnipeg, MB
  • Walter and Anita Buckoski, Winnipeg, MB
  • Mr and Mrs Leslie Kolisnyk, Matlock, MB
  • Victor and Ann Sawiak, Winnipeg, MB
  • Cathy and John Sinclair, Edmonton, AB
  • Judge Ronald and Dorothy Morlock, Winnipeg, MB
  • Gerald T. Hirose, Winnipeg, MB
  • Mr and Mrs Arnie Monk and Family, Winnipeg, MB
  • Duncan and Leslie MacMillan, Winnipeg, MB
  • Marlene Sommerville, Winnipeg, MB
  • Glen and Helen McBride, Winnipeg, MB
  • Donna Kurt, Winnipeg, MB
  • Richard & Alice Kolisnyk, Winnipeg, MB
  • Margaret Kostyk, Winnipeg, MB
  • Mrs Joyce Alexander, Winnipeg, MB
  • Alan & Marjorie McIntosh, Winnipeg, MB
  • John & Patricia Perry, Winnipeg, MB
  • Ken Kolisnyk and Bernadette Geras, Winnipeg, MB
  • Gail Perry, Winnipeg, MB
  • Norm & Terry Mann & Family, Winnipeg, MB
  • Jackie, Monique and Suzie Olivier, Winnipeg, MB
  • Diana Borys, Winnipeg, MB
  • Jean Driscoll, Winnipeg, MB
  • Olga Carlson, Winnipeg, MB
  • Winnipeg Technical College, Winnipeg, MB
  • Karen Kolisnyk, Sydney, Australia
  • Gerard Morlock, Winnipeg, MB

Donations to other funds in honour of Richard Kolisnyk:

  • Joe Ruwecki, Winnipeg, MB (Ruwecki Memorial Fund, St. Boniface Hospital)
  • Glenda Deans, Hinton, AB (Trans Canada Trail System)

Rich created hundreds of pieces of metal art
as gifts for friends and family.

Rich crafted countless bonzai-style money trees
and filled them with money as gifts for friends and family.




Rich's ashes are spread in different places around the world,
where he enjoyed spending time with loved ones and friends
and at his eternal resting place:

Rich Kolisnyk's ashes spread at 9th hole Morden Golf course

Alice, Karen, Kelsea and Savannah
spread some of Rich's ashes
at the 9th hole at Morden golf course.


Rich Kolisnyk's ashes spread at Morden cemetery on the Scales gravesite

Alice, Karen, Kelsea and Savannah
spread some of Rich's ashes
on the Scales gravesite at the Morden cemetery.


Rich Kolisnyk's memorial at Karen's residence in Sydney/AU

Rich Kolisnyk's memorial at
Karen's residence in Sydney/AU.


Rich Kolisnyk's granddaughters Kelsea and Savannah remember him in Sydney/AU

Kelsea and Savannah remember their
grandfather, Rich, in Sydney/AU.


Rich Kolisnyk's ashes spread at campsite on Bain Lake/ON

Donna and Alice spread some of Rich's ashes
at campsite on Bain Lake.
View a quicktime video of the canoe trip
Alice made to Bain Lake with Donna and friends
on Labour Day Weekend 2006.


Rich Kolisnyk's ashes spread at Mantario Lake/MB

Donna spreads some of Rich's ashes
at Mantario Lake, Manitoba.




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:

  • Get a second opinion from your general practitioner or another general practitioner on medical conditions or symptoms which keep recurring and which concern you or for which the initial diagnosis concerns you
  • If you continue to be concerned, press the doctors to requisition radiology/MRI/CT/US/blood/EKG/etc scans pertinent to your condition/symptoms
  • If you are older (over 60) ask the surgeon to be EXTRA CAREFUL, don't expect it, and request not to be operated on by residents or less experienced surgeons. If this is not an option, then go elsewhere, if at all possible.
  • If you had previous surgeries in your abdominal or trunk area, ask the surgeon to be EXTRA CAREFUL, don't expect it, and request not to be operated on by residents or less experienced surgeons. If this is not an option, then go elsewhere, if at all possible.
  • Ensure your medical file clearly indicates you have any preexisting conditons that may complicate surgery, like probable adhesions from previous abdominal surgeries. Ensure you repeat this information to the surgeon immediately prior to surgery.
  • Ensure your medical file clearly indicates all allergies and sensitivies to medications you have, as well as medications you require normally.
  • Listen to the nurses' assessments of the patient's status and if they indicate a condition for which the doctors are not treating the patient, then request the doctors to be more active on resolving the condition. For example if, on day 2 or 3 following a surgery, a nurse is highly suspect of sepsis (septic shock), then push the doctors for immediate CT scan and/or surgical exploration to remedy the problem, because allowing this condition to continue for more than a couple days can destroy internal organs, cause respiratory failures, and cause extreme infections which are fatal if left untreated. New medicines are becoming available that can help reduce fatality from sepsis.
  • Request extra care for the placement of drains, and for their removal
  • Keep reminding medical staff that the patient has preexisting conditions that could make him or her sensitive to certain treatments.
  • Don't expect to receive the best care available, demand it; especially if there is any doubt, or if there are apparent delays in treatment, surgery, alternative treatment, culture, reports, etc.
  • If you have been told by the surgeons that you have a high risk of mortality due to pending surgery, please inform your loved ones.
  • When requesting an autopsy, request to have it done by an independent hospital or organization, not by the hospital where the patient passed away. Request the body to not be frozen or else the autopsy may be inconclusive due to tissue damage from being frozen.




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
Paisley Pirates, Scotland (1951)


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
We expected Rich to go in for surgery today. He really needed some good luck. However when we got to the hospital we were advised to gather the family for a consultation with the doctors. They explained to us that Rich's organs were all very diseased from the ongoing septic shock, including his liver, spleen, and remaining kidney; the source of the leaking bile could not be determined by CTscan and surgery was not an option because it would kill him; his blood pressure and heart rate were no longer controllable by medications and his respirations had degraded rapidly, that he could expire even while on the life support. It was explained that he was suffering and being kept alive by the life support, which we know were against his wishes. We took the path of strength which he would have preferred and collected around his bedside to be with him as he quickly passed when his life support was removed. Rich passed away at 5:47 PM on June 9, 2006 with Alice, Donna, Doug, Bob, Karen and Ken at his side, holding and carressing him, and speaking love and encouragement to him.

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
The tracheotomy has helped Rich a lot, but he still feels a lot of discomfort from the sores in his mouth and throat and is grimacing a lot, although he says he feels no pain. In the evening Rich became the most coherent he has been since going into the ICU 3 weeks ago: he tried to write (see image below) and then managed to mouth the words "I want to go home" a couple of times, even trying to lift himself up from the bed using his arms and legs, but does not have the strength to lift his body due to the pressure in his abdomen. He mouthed the words "I love you" to Alice and has told us he want to read the sports section again. He indicated he does not want to go home to die and that he does want to continue living and managed to smile at us through the pain a few times when we reassured him of his strength and told him of wishes for him to get well from his friends and family. He has no brain damage and is resolved to get out of the hospital. However, even though Rich is very strong and is fighting very hard, the fact remains that bile continues to leak into his abdomen and it is likely that very risky surgery will be needed again to try to find and stop the leak(s); this would set him back another week in recovery and further complicates his recovery. They added another antibiotic to his cocktail and the fluids leaking from the drain from his stomach cavity seem to have changed color (less red) and are being cultured again. The doctors advise that the longer he stays in the ICU the more bugs he risks picking up. Rich is very strong and we hope that he pulls through this even though it is going to be a long hard battle for him.

Rich's shaky hand wrote
"I want to go home".


June 6-7, 2006, Tuesday-Wednesday
We expected the doctors to perform a tracheostomy on Rich on Tuesday but other emergencies prevailed and they deferred the surgery until Wednesday afternoon. He returned from the OR in good condition and the tubes are finally out of his mouth and throat. A CTscan prior to the operation showed he has no brain damage and he has no obstructions in his intestines. So they will start to give him liquid food again directly to his duodenum bypassing his stomach, although yesterday, his system did not accept the food, it is hoped that he will start to process it and get some energy through his intestinal tract. Rich has lost a lot of weight as he has not had food in his system for 3 weeks now, so they are bumping up the caloric input. They finally managed to successfully culture the liquids draining from his incision and determined that he is seriously infected with the yeast Candida albicans and the bacteria Burkholderia cepacia which has also propogated in his mouth and throat. Since Tuesday, the doctors have been giving him a combination of very strong antibiotics and antifungal to fight the bacteria and yeast, as these infections are what are raising his body temperature and making his blood pressure unstable. Rich is very strong and is still cooperating with the nurses and trying to get better, but he is getting tired, as his blood levels have dropped. They are putting him back on Elvis to get rid of the dye he was given for the CTscan and the chemicals from the surgery. Lets hope the medications help get rid of these infections the next few days.


June 5, 2006, Monday
Rich is still on Elvis the dialysis machine, as he is jaundiced and the dialysis is helping with this, and is also removing a lot of fluid from his system. They have added a tube to give him food direct into his duodenum as he has gone 3 weeks without any food now and they want to check to see if his system can handle some food and to give him some energy. They verified that the CTscan showed some abcesses near his spleen and liver, if Rich can fight this secondary infection, which they are still waiting for cultures on, he has a chance of recovering. However, the infection is delaying his recovery and keeping him from breathing on his own, so they are going to remove the respiratory tube from his mouth/throat, which are infected and full of sores, and are going to give him a tracheotomy the morning of June 6 to give him a tracheal breathing tube. Rich was aware of who and where he is and enjoys getting massages, and remains cooperative with the nurses, so he has the will to live; we hope he keeps that will and remains strong. Get well soon, Dad, we all miss you.


June 3-4, 2006, Saturday-Sunday
"Elvis", the hemofiltration dialysis machine, got too many clots in the filter so it was turned off and disconnected from his dialysis IV. The dialysis helped to remove significant amounts of fluid from his body and it is most evident in his hands, feet, legs and arms. His side incision is open and continues to drain almost a liter of fluids from his abdominal cavity each day. He went for a CTscan today for his abdomen to ensure everything is okay in his tummy, as it is still quite swollen, tender and full of fluid; his swollen tummy keeps him from breathing fully on his own and keeps him from coughing adequately; the CTscan showed that the kidney surgery scars are still healing and may be leaking; hopefully the swelling will soon reduce so the respiratory tube can be removed from his mouth and throat, the primary source of his discomfort. Because he was injected with dye for the CTscan, he was put back onto Elvis with a fresh filter and the dialysis IV was moved from his neck to his upper left chest. The cultures for infections have almost all returned and are all negative but he remains in isolation until the potential for Norwalk virus is cleared. Dad is a little jaundiced in his eyes and skin but the dialysis will help with this. He is doing okay, but still requires intensive care and remains on full life support until his abdominal infections resolve and he can cough better.


June 1-2, 2006, Thursday-Friday
Rich's condition is about the same as it was this time last week, Mondays surgery set him back another 7 days and we hope he will again continue to recover to the point where he can be released from the respiratory support (to remove the breathing tube from his mouth and throat). He has more movement in his hands and feet and is moving his hands and fingers more fluently now. He is aware of where he is and who he is and can acknowledge questions. He nodded yes when it was suggested he had too many jokers dealt to him the past few weeks. Rich has a stomach ulcer that is producing blood in a tube that is used to remove excessive bile from inside his stomach. His incision is continuing to drain fluid from his abdominal cavity as a result of the septic shock to his system. The doctors continue to advise that Rich is very susceptible to another upset including getting infections but his lungs continue to remain free of pneumonia. They are continuing intensive support because he is continuing to fight and is very strong.


May 30-31, 2006, Tuesday-Wednesday
This morning, Rich was the same as yesterday, his blood pressure is very erratic, he is still on "Elvis" the Prisma hemofiltration dialysis machine, and he is sedated. His hands and feet are very cold because of the dialysis. We are still waiting for cultures on his blood and gastrointestinal infections and for the biopsy report on his kidney tumor that was removed on May 15. The return to surgery on Monday basically put him back to where he was this time last week, and we hope he stabilizes and improves again this week so he can get the breathing tube out of his mouth.


May 29, 2006, Monday
The Intensive Care Unit called this morning to advise that Rich was doing very well he was awake and aware, but his blood pressure suddenly dropped this morning and he has internal bleeding, possibly from the last surgery; at 10:30 Donna gave consent for Rich to go into surgery for the doctors to determine where the bleeding is from and to stop it. He ran the risk of not surviving the surgery and from serious infection again, but the alternative was to not do the surgery and he would die from the bleeding. Rich is so strong, he faired the surgery very well, and several hours later when we visited him, his eyes were wide open and they were preparing him for the Prisma hemofiltration dialysis (this one is named "Elvis", the other two are "Thelma" and "Louise). They advised that Rich seems to have picked up a secondary infection and has diarrhea now, they are running a culture to determine what it is; but we are quarantined even more now to prevent our catching and spreading whatever he has. This evening the nurses advised that Rich has received 9 units of blood, 3 units of plasma and a unit of platelets. When we visited him this evening, he came to and became aware that we were there; we showed him a photo of his grandson Keith with his girlfriend Carin and of his dog Chance; after talking to him, telling him of messages from his friends, that he had surgery again to fix a torn artery, and that Chance figured out how to get a bath (she rolled in her poop last night) he turned and gave a determined wink at Donna with his right eye. He tried to speak but we told him he would have to wait a couple days until the breathing tube could come out. He will be on the Prisma machine for a couple days again. We know that he wants to get up and about again, he is very strong, he does not want to give up and we are very proud of him.

Rich's granddaughters
Kelsea and Savannah (of Karen and Paul)

Rich's grandsons
Keith (1st from Left) and Matthew (3rd from Left)
(of Doug and Carman) and their mates


May 28, 2006, Sunday
Rich is now often becoming wide awake, and has responded consistently to questions about where and who he is (using basic responses because the breathing tube is still in his throat); his eyes would follow people passing by his bed. His heart medication has been adjusted to keep it from being too high, and to keep his heart more steady. Donna, Doug and Bob met with the Intensive Care Unit attending physician who advised that Rich still has a long way to go, and his prognosis remains about the same as was discussed on May 25. It is hoped that Rich will be taken off the breathing machine soon, allowing him to talk, and perhaps in a week or so he may be able to take liquid food via his stomach. He farted and is showing signs of gas in his abdomen which is a good sign, but the renal failure remains a concern. Rich will be receiving intermittent hemodialysis every other day as he recovers.


May 27, 2006, Sunday
On Saturday, May 27, Rich was about the same as on Friday, however his breathing support had been reduced and he was less responsive than before; he was given intermittent hemodialysis in the afternoon which helped to clean his blood and rid his body of much fluid causing edema.


May 26, 2006, Friday
Rich was removed from the Prisma hemofiltration dialysis machine as his creatinine levels dropped close to the normal range and it was felt the risk of blood clots from the machine was greater than the benefit of the slow dialysis at this time. During the last week Rich was given over 5 units of blood products to help maintain his blood pressure and to boost his hemoglobin levels above a critical level. He will likely be given intermittent hemodialysis beginning May 27 which carries less risk of blood clotting and will provide better filtering and removal of excess fluid in his body, now that his blood pressure is high enough to sustain standard hemodialysis which tends to drop the blood pressure (although this should be tolerable for Rich on an intermittent basis). Rich had a CT-scan using dye to assess his brain, abdomen and lungs. It appears that he has no brain damage (although an MRI would be required to verify the brain is functioning fully properly, at least there are no clots). His lungs have some pleurisy but they have changed his breathing from full support to a type of support that allows Rich to initiate each breath and then the machine responds with an appropriate amount of oxygen; his breathing support will be changed in the hopes that Rich will be able to breathe on his own, perhaps within a week, which would allow removing the breathing tube; perhaps then we will hear what he may have been trying to tell us this past week (he often seems to try to talk but cannot because of the tube in his throat); for sure he wants to express his views on the Stanley Cup and will likely ask for a radio or tv to get a good dose of golf. The leaking of pus from his most recent surgical incision was assessed by the surgeons as a positive sign that his immune system is functioning to heal the wound and is perhaps a reaction to the intestinal surgery which can result in some bacteria in his abdomen, even though his abdomen was antibiotically washed to clean out the bile; they don't feel there is any reason to inspect his abdomen again at this time. Rich was in more pain returning from the CT-scan (evident when he has pronounced eyebrow furrows) as he was not given any medications prior to moving him for the procedure, so was given some pain meds at Karen's request. He was less active today.

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
Rich is now opening his eyes and moving his arms and legs. He is off heart medications and his blood pressure is higher, so the Prisma dialysis machine (nicknamed "Thelma") is now removing excess fluid (causing edema) in addition to cleaning his blood, for his failed remaining kidney. Karen and Donna met with the Intensive Care Unit attending physician who advised that this will be long term treatment and recovery with a 40 percent chance of recovery but they are still administering support to Rich because he is showing signs of improvement.


May 24, 2006, Wednesday
To be added. Noticed a paperback book on the coffee table next to Rich's armchair entitled "Your Sore Back".


May 23, 2006, Tuesday
To be added.


May 22, 2006, Monday
To be added.


May 21, 2006, Sunday
Karen and Doug arrived late on May 20 and came with Bob and Donna for their first visit with their Dad in the afternoon. While visiting him, the resident surgeon came in and advised that Rich needed immediate abdominal surgery to attempt to stop the flow of bile into his abdominal cavity, that the source of the bile leak could not be determined from CT Scan or imaging, that he would die in days if he was not operated on, that the chief intestinal surgeon was on his way to the hospital, that the risk of mortality from the surgery itself was very high and that the possibility of morbid colestomy outcome also existed. The family consented to the operation. After a number of hours we very glad to hear that Rich had returned to the ICU from surgery, and we visited him, but he was still under the influence of anaesthetic. However, they had found 3 pinhole leaks in his abdomen which appeared to have been caused by the small intestine pulling away from a previous surgery scar for his previous aneurysm surgery scar 6 years ago. Rich now has a chance for recovery.


May 20, 2006, Saturday
To be added.


May 19, 2006, Friday
To be added.


May 18, 2006, Thursday
Alice came with Donna to visit Rich in the evening.


May 17, 2006, Wednesday
Donna visited Rich after lunch. Rich was sitting up in a chair to allow his lungs to expand and to prevent pneumonia. The nurse mentioned that she had tried to feed him, he refused the food saying he would feed himself, but never did lift the spoon, so asked Donna to try to feed him, as he needed nourishment and they wanted to get the urine flow increased through his remaining kidney. Donna managed to get 8 tablespoons of broth and a bowl of green (yech) jello and some water down his throat (in retrospect, this was a bad thing as it would have helped to increase the bile in his intestines, but the leaking bile problem was not known at this time). ((We are looking forward to feeding him again soon, and seeing him eating again on his own!))


May 16, 2006, Tuesday
Donna visited him in the afternoon for a couple hours. Rich expressed to the nursing staff that he only wanted Alice and Donna to visit him, no one else. He had read the sports section of the paper, an article about the Moose (Rich reads the paper every morning, front to back). He was in considerable pain and was not self-administering his morphine, so was reminded regularly to push the button which not dose him more often than once every 5 minutes. Rich asked Donna to massage his upper back and neck. Rich had oxygen tubes in his nose to help get oxygen into his lungs. His heart rate and blood pressure were constantly monitored as well as the oxygen in his blood which indicated his oxygen level was low, but the readings were steady. An attending doctor mentioned that his chest xrays showed some decompression and fluid on the left lung, but he did not have pneumonia. The pain was to be expected with all the trauma he had gone through.


May 15, 2006, Monday
Rich went into the hospital. Donna dropped him off at the front door at 6:13 am for his 6:15 appointment at reception. Rich said he was going to be out in a week. He walked in and waved goodbye. The surgeon called Donna at noon and explained that the surgery took about 4.5 hours, that he had some complication with the surgery, an artery had burst and Rich had lost several units of blood. Dad's cardiovascular surgeon was called in to assist repairing the artery that had burst close to his previous aneurysm surgery about 6 years ago. They removed the left kidney with a tumor the same size as the kidney, there was no indication that the tumor had grown out of the kidney, and the biopsy report would not be available for about 2 weeks. They had used a cellsaver to recover a unit of the blood he had lost and gave him two units of donated blood. Donna went to visit him in Post Op recovery in the evening. He was slow getting out of Post Op and up into a Step Down ward and he was in a lot of discomfort.



Your wishes, hopes and prayers for Rich's recovery and in his passing are greatly appreciated.





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.
You are truly a hard act to follow.

Rest in peace Dad.

Manitoba Football Hall of Fame
Certificate Awarded August 8, 2013


Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame
Medal Awarded April 25, 2015