GEORGE BALACKO George Balacko, beloved husband of Eleanore, dearly loved father to Rob (Kathryn) and Natasha Humeny (David), and cherished Gigi to adored grandsons, Dean and Brett Humeny, passed away January 1, 2017. George is also survived by brothers Danny (Lorna) and Ken, sister-in-law Pat Semchuk, brother-in-law and sister-in-law George and Maxine Semchuk, and by nieces and nephews and their families. George was predeceased by parents Dan and Rose, his sister and brother-in-law Joyce and Ted Ewashko, and by brother-in-law Bud Semchuk. While George and his family struggled with George's health issues in recent years, George proved to be a fighter, overcoming many obstacles to spend extra time with his family. George passed away peacefully, in the warmth and comfort of his own home, with his loved ones beside him. He is now with God and at peace. George was a professional Engineer, graduated Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba and earned a Masters in Environmental Engineering from North Western University in Illinois. George was employed with the Province of Manitoba both with Health and Environment and with Health Canada. He was very active with AWWA, an organization pertaining to his work in water and waste water and received several prestigious awards. For many years George taught courses at both the University of Manitoba and Red River College to Water and Waste Water plant operators. He was recognized for his work by having the honour of an award named for him, the "George Balacko Operator of the Year" award, given yearly to a deserving water plant operator. When Rob and Natasha were growing up, George volunteered his time coaching both hockey and soccer and faithfully driving Natasha to her various dance classes. George taught Sunday School for 20 years and was very active in the church. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #8499. George spent time helping to oversee the construction of St. John's Haven, a seniors' residence connected to the church and remained as a volunteer administrator for 17 years. In 1988, when there was an earthquake in Armenia, George, along with other environmental engineers, was invited to Armenia to assist in re-establishing their water systems. George enjoyed life and was an avid gardener, golfer and sports fan. He enjoyed his golf games with colleagues Rick and Marv, 40 years of Gourmet Club get-togethers with Karen, Fred, Gary and Hannah, season tickets to the original Winnipeg Jets and Blue Bombers, and monthly luncheons with Harv and their retired cronies. Family was always most important to George, and he demonstrated this through his dedication and devotion to his children and grandsons Dean and Brett. He cherished the times he spent cuddling, reading, gardening, picnicking, playing puzzles, cars, blocks, and building towers with his precious grandsons. Spoiling the boys and getting into trouble together only as a Gigi can! We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to Melanie, community heart and stroke co-ordinator, physical and occupational therapists Jennifer, Lynn and Meahgan. Thanks also to Mira, Eileen, Kim and Abdula for their daily visits to help in caring for George. As well, we would like to thank the dedicated doctors, nurses, aides and staff at the St. Boniface Hospital Asper Institute. If desired, donations in George's memory can be made to The Heart and Stroke Foundation. Respecting George's wishes, cremation and a private family service at Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church, on Grant Avenue with Father John Mostivsky officiating has taken place. Interment at a later date. VICHNAYA PAM'YAT
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 04, 2017
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