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NICK ANDRUSIAK  Obituary pic


Born: Oct 17, 1941

Date of Passing: Jul 09, 2013

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NICK ANDRUSIAK Nick was born October 17, 1941 in Vita, MB to George Andrusiak and Sophie Pohaichuk. He is survived by his loved companion, friend, and spouse of almost 50 years, Frances (nee Elaine Frances Toews), children John (Rebecca Young), Peter (Charlotte LaFleche), Maria (Isaac Morland) and Michael (Jacquie Neufeld). He was predeceased by his sister Anna. He leaves his precious friends Norm Leathers and John Bachmann. On July 9, 2013 Nick died peacefully, comfortably, and at home as he wished. He leaves his genealogical legacy and love to his grandchildren Roy, Katherine, and Sophia (children of John and Rebecca Andrusiak); Ilya, Nikolai, Katarina, and Elena (children of Isaac and Maria Andrusiak Morland); and Ashley, Hailey and Katelyn (children of Michael and Jacquie Andrusiak). He was also entertained by grandpuppies Bijou and Milou (Peter and Charlotte). Nick lived a life that extended from a one-room house on his grandparents' homestead to the latest computer and technological era which he fully embraced and which helped him manage his increasing immobility. Nick lived his early years with his parents on the homestead of his paternal grandparents Iwan and Maria Andrusiak, Bukovinian immigrant pioneers at Sirko, MB. Being an observant little boy he had many experiences and gathered information that as a storyteller he told frequently and created as a book, Living on the Homestead (available as a download at At 16 Nick left home to continue high school at United College and study at the University of Manitoba. Life changed when he met Frances and they married October 19, 1963. They helped each other finish university degrees and Nick went on to be a teacher of science and chemistry at Norberry School and Dakota Collegiate. His was not a one-topic pool of knowledge; he knew something about everything and could pull amazing information with a quick, clear explanation out of his brain on an unending array of subjects. Nick was interested in geography and history, possibly as a result of reading dictionaries and encyclopedias from cover to cover before electricity came to his town. That began his quest for more knowledge and opportunities to take courses at Knox College, Galesburg, IL and Seattle University (MSc) during the summers 1971 to 1974. He never let school interfere with his education and each trip had a packed agenda to state capitals, historic places, trains and mountains, or other geographical points of interest. He loved taking his children stargazing. Maria will look for him in the constellation Orion which always brought her home. Nick as a teacher was known as being larger than life in physique, knowledge and attitude. Students remembered him and he remembered so many of them. He was known for the occasional overly loud reaction to students' behavior but he explained that he had to "get their attention first." But he was a gentle person, compassionate and a students' advocate. He wrote one of the first articles about bullying in schools, to which the reaction was a meeting of a committee of principals who insisted he retract his article because it didn't exist in their schools. As the consummate editor he refused, suggesting they write an article giving their point of view. They never did. Nick liked trains and thought he wanted to model trains. When he joined the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club and discovered that modeling trains also involved organizations, printed materials and newsletters, and politics, he never quite got around to much modeling. Newsletters, brochures, magazines - they were in constant flow in the house. Children were taught to collate newsletters as soon as they could reach the height of the kitchen table. Gestetners, printers, printing presses, every variety of office equipment was all in operation. One of the highlights of his life was being on the executive team organizing the National Model Railroad convention in Winnipeg in 1983, a meet that set many benchmarks including the timetable booklet format. Nick had to leave his teaching career at age 51 when he developed paralysis related to spinal stenosis. Later he developed Parkinsons. But he demonstrated to us that life can be full. He volunteered with CNLines as managing editor for their magazine and book publications. He, Stafford Swain, and Al Lill spearheaded many organizations and projects. He also enjoyed doing petit point and cross-stitch especially on train and pioneering themes. And he told stories, a new one to each new person that came in the door. Nick appreciated the caregivers, health professionals and systems who enabled him to live all phases of that full life. Charlotte, his special angel, enabled the final key supports that made his death at home possible. Nick will be dearly missed and remembered by many. He was truly a giant of a human being. There has been immediate burial, no funeral. At a future date there will be a gathering of family and friends. For an invitation, please call or email: NEIL BARDAL FUNERAL CENTRE 204-949-2200

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jul 13, 2013

Condolences & Memories (42 entries)

  • I had MR. Andrusiak for Science and he also started a Photography class which I had the pleasure of participating as one of the first students. Many spares were spent in that dark room, it was a gas that I continued at home for a few years after school. I never saw him after school so it was sad to see this after all these years. - Posted by: Ray Giguere (Old student) on: Jan 25, 2014

  • While complaining about something in the dark room, Mr. A said to me in that BIG voice..."if you can operate in the dark, you can operate anywhere!" So VERY true! My love for photography started in that dark room. I have shared many stories of great times in Mr. A's class with my oldest son, who shares the passion of photography. My condolences to his family. - Posted by: Joy (Willie) Scheurmann (former student) on: Sep 28, 2013

  • probably one of the best teachers I ever had. My condolences to his family! - Posted by: barb swaine nee newton (previous student) on: Sep 26, 2013

  • My condolences to Mr. Andrusiak's family and his close friends. I had the pleasure of Mr. A teaching me chemistry while attending Dakota Collegiate in the late 1970's. While science, and least of all chemistry, was not my forte, there were many lessons I still remember from his class which I continue to use today and even passed on to my own children; for example, shorthand writing (e.g. nrg, wrt, etc...) and grease/oil cutting tips based on chemical composition, and awareness of what chemicals are being combined which may cause "unexpected results". Like two different cleaners combined in a toilet bowl corroding or worse, combusting. Yes, I remember those lessons well and your tolerance of my asinine 'teenage' behaviour.:) I only wish I could have thanked you earlier. Nonetheless I will always remember Mr. A. RIP Sir! - Posted by: Adriana Gasparik (fomrer student) on: Aug 15, 2013

  • I would like to recognize Mr A for instilling a live a learning and respect for students in me. It has carried me well through my years of teaching and directing choirs. I have very fond memories of babysitting his delightful children. Goodbye to a very special man. - Posted by: Sandra Brown Day (Former student and babysitter) on: Aug 09, 2013

  • Nick was a wonderful teacher, whom I remember so fondly. My love of photography is because of him. He taught so much more than the subjects he was assigned, he taught us about life and laughter. My heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends. - Posted by: Leslie Pura (Student) on: Aug 06, 2013

  • Deepest condolences to the family at this time of loss. Nick was a great help to me while a member of CN Lines SIG, as a resource for Canadian railroading to a fledgling modeler down here in the States. His willingness to provide knowledgeable assistance will never be forgotten. - Posted by: Jack D. Hofmockel (Admirer and fellow model railroader) on: Jul 31, 2013

  • On behalf of the executive and members of the Canadian Pacific Historical Association please accept our sincerest although belated condolences on Nick's passing. I rarely check the CN yahoo list so just found out about this and have passed this information onto our members via our list group. Many CPHA members likely knew Nick if they had any dealings at all with CNRHA over the years, as did I on more than one occasion. He gave freely of his time and was always very helpful. His passion and leadership will be sadly missed. - Posted by: Richard McQuade, Secretary, Cdn Pacific Historical Assoc (Long distance friend) on: Jul 31, 2013

  • My sincere condolences to you, Frances and family on Nick's passing. I had the privilege of working with Nick over several years at Dakota and always enjoyed his perspectives on the issues of the day. He had his own unique way of dealing with the absurdities that we often faced in the teaching profession. One cannot think of Nick without thinking of the stories he related with such enthusiasm: woodlot operations in Middlebro,his summers spent in the Pacific Northwest, his passion for trains, technology and photography. He was a good man who will be sorely missed. - Posted by: Ron Petersen (Fellow Teacher) on: Jul 26, 2013

  • Our sincere condolences to Frances & family. Nick & I grew up together in Middlebro, mb. We played together, went to school together & worked together. We went in different directions when nick went away to school but always got together when we were home for holidays & special occasions. As a wedding present to us he took all the pictures of our wedding & presented us with a beautiful album which we will treasure forever. Nick came back in our lives a few years ago with a phone call & then a publication on the CN history in Middlebro. Nick was a truly loveable person & will be remembered with treasured memories. - Posted by: Nestor & Cindy Kraynyk (Friends) on: Jul 24, 2013

  • My condolences to Nick's family. Always enjoyed a conversation with Nick. - Posted by: Nancy Kostiuk (colleague SVSD) on: Jul 21, 2013

  • This seems a detached way of communicating my feelings but ... most obituaries I read of people I knew are perhaps a little whitewashed and exaggerated - not in this case. Nick was a modern renaissance man; he was larger than life and loved by his students; he was often exasperated by administrations; he was a caring and gifted teacher - his loss was both personal and professional. Ultimately words fail they simply don't convey what Nick represented and achieved - Posted by: jim partridge (fellow teacher) on: Jul 18, 2013

  • Mr. Andrusiak was a great teacher - I will always remember him. He piqued my interest in science - that still exists after many decades - and also encouraged my many nerdy facets. Science club at Norberry was the highlight of my junior high years. My condolences to the entire family - be assured Nick will live on in my memories. - Posted by: Les Wiens (Former student at Norberry and Dakota) on: Jul 17, 2013

  • Dear Frances & family, We are so sorry to hear of Nick's passing & of your loss. Nick was a wonderful person. He will always be remembered of all our great photos of our family & weddings that we treasure so much! May he rest in peace! Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this time. - Posted by: The Pohaychuk Family (Nephew and cousin) on: Jul 16, 2013

  • Frances and Family- my sincere condolences on Nick's passing - I had the pleasure of working with him for only two years but quickly recognized his love of science, respect for his students by challenging them to do their best and his readiness to raise expectations for each one of them! Although he had some roots at Norberry -he was a true Dakota Lancer. I was privileged to also be at the school when three of your talented -committed Andrusiak children demonstrated their Dad's love of learning! Finally, I had so much respect for the way he handled his health related issues as he continued to remain active intellectually and participatorially. I consider myself fortunate in knowing him and knowing you and your family - Wayne Ruff Past Dakota Colleague and Principal - Posted by: Wayne Ruff (Teaching Colleague at Dakota) on: Jul 16, 2013

  • Frances, I accidentally came across the obituary for Nick on Facebook. I am so sorry to hear of his passing and of your loss. Although I only met Nick once or twice I remember him as friendly; one of those people whom you like immediately (as you are also). I am thinking of you and your family and hope to keep in touch. It was so kind of you to help me with my family research! Take care; Grace Desjardins-Green - Posted by: Grace Desjardins-Green (acquaintance) on: Jul 16, 2013

  • Mr A will be missed by many of us former students. His sense of humour was top notch with a quick wit. Our musical in 1984 was a success because people like him took the time to contribute his talents on the drums or helping out learning lines. Students that didn't have him as a teacher wished he was their teacher. I know many students gained confidence from his support and faith that they may do more for themselves because of ability to get students to work to their full potential. To do this for one student is a major feat. He did this for so many that he is a legend for thousands. - Posted by: Noel Meilleur (Student at Dakota Collegiate) on: Jul 16, 2013

  • Mr. Andrusiak was a good guy and a good teacher. In gr. 10 science (1975) he explained the physics behind why spoked wheels appear to be rotating backwards on film. Not a terribly important thing, and I guess I would have picked it up somewhere, but I still remember the explanation today, and every time I watch a movie with wheels going backwards, I think of Mr. Andrusiak. Not a bad legacy for a teacher.... - Posted by: Blair Hamilton (Student) on: Jul 15, 2013

  • Mr A got me interested in photography back in the day and now, it's part of my job. Best photo of Mr A - behind a drumkit with a smoke hanging from the corner of his mouth doing a Brad M. Carlson impression from Cheap Trick! Dakota yearbook. Will miss him much. - Posted by: Dave Pletz (Teacher) on: Jul 15, 2013

  • So sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Andrusiak. A wonderful teacher. I was looking forward to seeing him again at the reunion. "Rest in peace teach." - Posted by: Rick Saydak (Student at Norberry and Dakota (72).) on: Jul 15, 2013

  • My condolences to Nick's family and friends. I met Nick as a divisional computer consultant in the mid-1980s. His exuberance for technology was breathtaking and uplifting. Throughout my career in St. Vital, I looked forward to crossing paths with Nick. He had a story for every occasion and, through each story, his quest for knowledge and his love of life shone. He was inspirational. Although Nick has left us, his legacy is alive and well as all these postings attest to. They are but a sampling of how he touched everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. Rest in Peace. - Posted by: Norbert Philippe (Colleague) on: Jul 15, 2013

  • I loved Nick's sense of humour! I remember when we were travelling together to the PNR convention in Saskatoon in 1995, and we stopped at the heritage museum in Yorkton. As we were leaving, the woman at the counter mentioned that the Doukhobors were holding a homecoming later that day, and that everyone was invited. Without missing a beat, Nick replied, "I'm sorry, I'm not dressed for the occasion". I bit my tongue very hard to keep from laughing in front of her. Nick was also able to joke about his spinal stenosis. When he found out that it was more common in Asians, he assumed that one of his ancestors must've been an unfortunate victim of Genghis Khan's Golden Horde. And who could ever forget his performance at the WMRC's auctions? Whenever there was a pile of Atlas snap-track to sell, he'd hold the track high and bellow so loud that he could be heard in his home town of Middleboro, "Not tin, not copper, not nickel, but genuine brass!" It got to be such a regular routine that many would chant it along with him! I'm going to miss him so much! - Posted by: Paul Ullrich (friend) on: Jul 15, 2013

  • From far off Vermont I appreciated Nick's reminders of books being published, when the next CNSIG / CNHA journal was being mailed, answers to questions about Scalecoat paint, and other modeling related topics without ever meeting him. My condolences to his family at a tough time. - Posted by: Robert Moeller (CN - CV - GT(NE) - GTW modeler) on: Jul 15, 2013

  • Mr. Andrusiak was a beloved teacher. He gave so much to his students and we all loved him in return. My sincere condolences to the family. - Posted by: Beryth (George) Strong (Student) on: Jul 14, 2013

  • Never met him but appreciate what he has done preserving railroad history - Posted by: Dick Eisfeller (I consider him a friend although I never met him in person) on: Jul 14, 2013

  • Dear Francis: So sorry to hear of Nick's passing. He was a wonderful man. We so enjoyed our visit with you after Drew passed on. Just wanted to let you know our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. With Sincere Sympathy, Linda & Alan - Posted by: Linda and Alan Moffatt (sister of George Andrew (Drew) McLean) on: Jul 14, 2013

  • Nick was one of the best teachers I had. He made learning fun. I know he was looking forward to the 50th reunion next year, and his presence there will be missed. My sympathies to his loved ones. - Posted by: Liz Watson (student at DCI ) on: Jul 14, 2013

  • I knew Nick through his work with CN lines. We corresponded regarding CN info. I had lunch with him once when he was visiting San Diego. I could tell he was a very good story teller. I loved hearing his stories and was sorry our lunch ended. We had a very memorable lunch. I know if we were geographically closer, we would have been better friends. I was sorry to hear of his passing. My condolences to his family and friends. - Posted by: Pete Steinmetz (Friend) on: Jul 14, 2013

  • Mr. Andrusiak was one of those teachers you remembered long after school. I have a life-long love of science, nurtured in part by teachers such as him. R.I.P. - Posted by: Gord Grieder (Student, early 1980's.) on: Jul 14, 2013

  • It was with deep regret that I learned of Nick's passing. He warmly welcomed me into the CN Lines organization and made it clear that his home and heart were open to me and many others. I will miss him, and I hope his family and especially Frances finds comfort in knowing how beloved Nick was by so many. Paul Burgess Homewood, IL, USA - Posted by: Paul Burgess (Friend) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • Sorry to hear of your loss, Frances. Take care and press on. - Posted by: Ronnie and Gladys Bugera (cousin) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • Nick and I met in September 1957, when we were roommates in Graham Hall and Grade 12 classmates at United College Collegiate. As far as I can recall, we also shared the distinction of being the two youngest lads in that Grade 12 cohort. Those who know us can decide whether that distinction betokened our relative brightness or our respective parents’ desire to get us away from home as soon as possible. More than that, though, we shared the experience of having completed Grades 1 to 11 in multi-graded classrooms; albeit, in different communities in eastern Manitoba. Thus, United College was his and my first experience of single-graded classrooms and specialist teachers for each subject. Although we did not spend much time discussing this point, we were both acutely aware of two realities. The first reality was that most of our classmates were not experiencing single-graded classrooms for the first time in their lives. The second reality, drilled into every Manitoba high school student of that era, was that the Department of Education graded Departmental Exams “on a curve” and routinely “failed” the 18% to 22% of exam-sitters who were in the lowest standard deviation below the Provincial average mark in each subject. Thus, we knew that we were in a competition, not necessarily with each other, but definitely with kids who might have had advantages over us. Fortunately, we both succeeded in that competition — each in his own way, and both of us to the attainment of masters’ degrees. After high school, our paths diverged — until I arrived in the former Boundary School Division (coincidentally, the initial consolidation of the schools in Nick’s “home turf”). Nick must have known of my presence, because I began receiving third-party greetings on Nick’s behalf — together with those third parties’ praise for his educational accomplishments. By 1997, or thereabouts, Nick and I were finally able to be in contact again — in a series of telephone conversations and e-mails. Despite the passage of 40 years, those conversations’ spontaneity erased those 40 years and it was almost as if we had reassumed our former roles: two young hicks trying to make sense of a milieu more sophisticated than they had hitherto experienced. You ran your race well, Nick. You seem to have fulfilled your own dreams and you certainly gave your family and all of southeastern Manitoba reason to be proud of one of their own. Vichnaya pamyat, Nick. - Posted by: Keith Bricknell (Former Room-mate and Fellow-Educator) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • I was never a good student, but I always looked forward to any class that I had with Mr. Andrusiak because of the stories he would tell, he made me want to be there. I have made many trips to Seattle because of him, and his love for that city. I am sorry to hear of his passing, he will be missed, but know that he made a difference in many lives through his teaching. - Posted by: Chris Fedak (Former Student @ Dakota) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • To Mr. Andrusiak's family I offer my condolences on his passing. A teacher many of us will always remember. He made science bearable. :). RIP Sir. - Posted by: karla Elcock (Former Student) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • Dear Frances and family, Our deepest condolences to you and all your family at this sad time. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. God Bless. Lucille and André - Posted by: André and Lucille LaRochelle (Friends from LaLeche league days.) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • Mr. Andrusiak was a fine teacher! Yes he did get loud at times but for the most part the student(s) earned his ire. I know because I was one of his students, though not one of those who tweaked him into one of his robust orations. I loved his class and actually did quite well considering no one thought I was a student, never mind a science student. He just made things understandable to me and for that I am grateful. I would not be where I am today if it were not for Mr Andrusiak and teachers like him. He will be missed. - Posted by: Sidney Macaw (former student) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • Big shoes to fill, Nick kept us all informed about the next publication and mail outs. Team Nick and Frances are Trojans among us. So pleased to have known Nick. - Posted by: David Emmington (Friend and member CNRHA (CNLines)) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • I am so sorry to hear of Nick's passing. I communicated with him over the years through the CN Railway SIG. He will be missed by the members. - Posted by: Clare Gilbert (Long distance friend and fellow CN Modeller) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • My condolences to the family. Good memories of an amiable man, and of course the darkroom days at Dakota. - Posted by: Dennis Webster (Former staff at Dakota) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • Nick was a teacher respected by students and teachers alike. His view of the world was unique...and clearly stated...interesting and interested. My condolences to the family on his passing. - Posted by: Victoria Olchowecki (fellow teacher) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • My condolences to Mr. ANDRUSIAKs' family as he was known to me. He was a one of my teachers at Norberry School from 1966-1968. From time to time over the years, my memory would go back to Norberry and Mr. Andrusiak, a fine teacher. - Posted by: Roberta Dalman (Student) on: Jul 13, 2013

  • We remember Nick for his love and interest in life, his sense of humour-especially when teasing Frances. His varied interests made him a person who could relate to all, he was always kind and patient to us. Take care of each other-Janice and Todd - Posted by: Janice and Todd Dobson (friends) on: Jul 13, 2013

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