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Date of Passing: Nov 14, 2014

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LEO RICHARD SYMONDS On November 14, 2014 at Concordia Hospital, Leo Richard Symonds passed away at the age of 56 years. Leo is survived by his brother Michael. He was predeceased by his mother Adeline (nee Obirek) and father Leo. The family would like to thank the doctors and staff at Concordia Hospital and all the relatives and friends who showed their love and respect by coming to see him before his passing. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, November 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Cropo Funeral Chapel, 1442 Main Street. Reception to follow. 204-586-8044

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 17, 2014

Condolences & Memories (46 entries)

  • I knew Rick as just one of the kids in our old neighborhood who attended Elmwood high...always thought of him as a genuinely kind and good man...Sue and I are very sad to hear of the passing of our friend and neighbor...but glad to have known him...our thoughts are with his close friends and family. - Posted by: Geoffrey Mandzuk (Friend) on: Dec 07, 2014

  • Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard but always near. I thought of this quote today thinking of Rick and his brother, Mike. I hope that you all continue to hear Ricks words of wisdom and encouragement ringing in your ears. Don't ever give up! Tomorrow is another day, a new beginning, another opportunity to make a change for the better in whatever you do, the past is the past and the future is whatever you want to make it. Rick loved coaching... Do what you love to do and do it well and you will pay tribute to him with your actions. Mike - we are still here if you need us - Posted by: Esther (Friend ) on: Dec 02, 2014

  • Through a mutual friend, I just learned of Rick's passing and it was sad news for sure. Condolences to all whose lives were touched by Rick. My memories date back to the old school grounds of Lord Selkirk school in the heart of Elmwood as well as those first days of heading to Elmwood Junior High, Senior High. I lost touch with a lot of those former classmates, but when you hear of someone close to your own age who has passed away, one reflects on one's own life. Wonderful tributes from friends and students, Rick was blessed. - Posted by: Wesley Groen (Lord Selkirk and Elmwood mates) on: Nov 24, 2014

  • RIP RICK, one teacher I will never forget. - Posted by: Kyle Desjardins (former teacher ) on: Nov 21, 2014

  • I was lucky enough to have Rick as not only my coach but my junior and senior high teacher he was one of the most generous and caring teachers I have ever met he treated his students like they were his own he will be truly missed by all that knew him may you rest easy rick and fly with all the angels miss you coach gone but never forgotten I am so sorry I couldn't be at the memorial or the funeral but I miss you and I am so blessed that you got to met my daughter and I am forever thankful for all of the life lessons that you have taught me that I am now teaching my kids - Posted by: Ashleigh () on: Nov 20, 2014

  • I was lucky enough to have had Rick as a coach in middle and jr. high school, and although Rick was never officially one of my teachers, he taught me many things. Rick was one of the single most positive forces in my life. I don't think Rick ever had a bad thing to say and he always had time for everyone. Rick remained a dear friend for many years after I moved on to High School and he even attended my wedding. My condolences to Rick's family and to everyone whose life he has touched. You will never be forgotten Rick. We all love you. - Posted by: Naomi (Larence) Medeiros (player, Shaughnessy Park, more importantly friend, back to 1986) on: Nov 20, 2014

  • Rick was one of the most unique people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was my elementary school Basketball coach, but more than that, he was a friend. He treated kids with such respect and kindness, of which I have never seen since, and this is close to 30 years ago. I wish I had been able to have a conversation with him in my adulthood, and express what an impact he has had on my life and so many others'. Rest peacefully Rick, you truly made a difference in many many peoples' lives. - Posted by: Susan Brown (Former Shaughnessy Park student) on: Nov 20, 2014

  • Rick was truly one of the good guys. I remember meeting him as a young official just starting out. He will be missed in all aspects of the sport and I know he touched many people and is probably now guiding the rest of us in some form. RIP old friend. - Posted by: mike (referee) on: Nov 20, 2014

  • We all miss you Rick, you were the best coach that I ever had. You will be loved and missed but you will always be in our hearts, rest easy coach - Posted by: veronica ferreira (attended elmwood high school) on: Nov 19, 2014

  • Rick was an inspiration to his students. My youngest daughter kept in touch with him through basketball and coaching, he never forgot his students even after years passed by. Godspeed. He will be surely missed. - Posted by: Wendy (He taught my girls at Shaughnessy Park) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • I attended the service for Rick at Elmwood High School today. What an awesome tribute to Rick! The number of lives this man touched knowingly and unknowingly was made evident by the people in attendance (not to mention the ones who were not able to attend). I left the service feeling more uplifted and hopeful than when I entered! Blessings on the family, staff, students, parents and friends as they go through the grieving process. Rest easy Rick... I'm positive you got a "Well done! Good and faithful servant!" When you arrived in heaven. - Posted by: Thelma Proctor (mother of 3 daughters he coached) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • I don't know what to say. I know that I am sad. I know that a piece of me, in the strangest of ways has been lost. But I do not fully understand. I guess Rick had more of an impact on me than I realized. In the very few times that I have had the chance to sit, chat, interact with him, Rick must have left a imprint on my heart. Thank you. Whatever you did on earth, you have made it better for us. Thank you for loving. We have all won. God has his servant back home and we are permanently made better simply by crossing paths with Rick Symonds. - Posted by: Stephen Tackie (Fellow Coach) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • You will be missed greatly. You have touched the hearts of everyone who had the chance of knowing you. You were a great friend, coach and teacher to all. You always saw the best in everyone. I will miss your contagious smile and how you were able to bring me up when I felt down and alone. Heaven has a new angel now, but your time here will never be forgotten. We love you Rick. - Posted by: Jenn McIntyre (Student/teacher/friend) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • I am very sad to hear that Rick passed away. I got to know him over the last few years as an official of basketball and soccer games where Rick was the coach. I also had the pleasure of a wonderful conversation with him last spring at our annual officials wind up dinner. Rick was a class act. I respected him as a coach and liked him as a person. He gave freely of his volunteer time for the students at Elmwood High School. I will miss him and will remember him as a person who cared deeply and worked hard for others. - Posted by: Andy Young (Sports official) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • You truly were an amazing teacher, mentor, coach to many many kids. You will truly be missed by many. R.I.P MY FRIEND. - Posted by: SHANNON PEACOCK / BARON (friend) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • A very special person has left us, Rick has touched so many! He will be missed by many. - Posted by: Gordon Dunn (a parent of two girls that went to Elmwood) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • My deepest condolences to Rick's family. I remember Rick while I was a student at Shaughnessy Park elementary. I had the privilege of learning how to play flag football from Rick. He inspired me and taught me how to become self confident and to not be afraid of standing up for myself. It has been almost 30 years since I last saw Rick. Yet he is a person who planted a seed in each and every person he met. As Mr Hum stated, Rick may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. - Posted by: Zoran Vicovac () on: Nov 18, 2014

  • Rick was my gym teacher in Elmentary and as I got older and went on to junior high he came along and taught my friends and I there too. It was always nice to see him everyday with a big smile and open arms just waiting for us to run up to him and give him a huge hug. He was a caring, loving, passionate teacher and as you can see, loved by everyone. He not only taught us to play basketball but also to appreciate life and the people around us. Knowing him helped me to accept people as they are and to be a friend to those in need. I will always love you and miss you and miss you. I think about you often. See you in Heaven one day Rick. - Posted by: Lena Biswanger (Former Student) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • my condolences to his family and friends. The world has lost an amazing person. Rick was such a positive influence on all my boys during and after their years at Elmwood high. He helped them to become the men they are today. Rick always found the time to be there when any of them needed him even after high school. When our son passed away 2 years ago Rick found the time to attend his funeral and be there for my other sons. He will surely be missed by all but never forgotten. Rip Rick and thank you for all you did for my boys. - Posted by: diane main (mother of 5 of his students) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • Rick, he was one of the best teachers I had the pleasure of meeting, he was so inspirational, funny, a great friend, and a father to all. I am glad that I had the chance and pleasure of meeting Rick. I feel it's necessary to add lyrics to a song here. R.I.P Rick we all miss you. Westlife: I'll See You Again Always you will be part of me And I will forever feel your strength When I need it most You’re gone now, gone but not forgotten I can’t say this to your face But I know you hear Chorus: I’ll see you again You never really left I feel you walk beside me I know I’ll see you again When I’m lost, when I’m missing you like crazy I tell myself I’m so blessed To have had you in my life, my life Chorus When I had the time to tell you Never thought I’d live to see the day When the words I should have said Would come to haunt me In my darkest hour I tell myself I’ll see you again Chorus x 2 I will see you again I’ll see you again I miss you like crazy You’re gone but not forgotten I’ll never forget you Someday I’ll see you again I feel you walk beside me Never leave you, yeah Gone but not forgotten I feel you by my side No this is not goodbye x 3 - Posted by: Nicholas Lamerante (Friend) (Friend) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • I had a pleasure knowing Rick for a few years as he was the kindergarten teacher to my boys. They spoke very highly of their teacher. He will be missed and it was an honor knowing him. - Posted by: marsha landsborough (my boys teacher at Shaughnessy Park School ) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • A very special person has left us, my friend of 51 years. Rick and I had a special bond, we were born 12 hours apart on May 16, 1958, in different Cities, but chance would bring us just 11 houses apart. We were often two Taurus in the same shop, fighting as brothers would, but always putting our differences aside to play street hockey or football, or just hang out. Life took us down different paths after Graduating from Elmwood High, but when we did come together it was as if time had stood still. We would talk about our kids, mine that called him Uncle Rick and his that called him Teacher. Teaching became his life and his passion. He was always so proud of his kids. I cannot believe he has left us. I will miss him. - Posted by: Harold (Friend) on: Nov 18, 2014

  • Job well done. God's speed home. Rick always had my respect as a teacher of excellence. For him it was genuine and effortless. - Posted by: Ann Reeves (parent of a daughter that was coached by Mr. Symonds) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I was one of his students at George the fith elementery. He was my gym teacher and first and then my grade six teacher. My classmates and I would call him Rick, never Mr. Symonds. He was really a great guy, always open, always friendly. He treated everyone the same. It didn't matter what race, colour or gender you were, you were always you to him. And he accepted you. He'll be missed and he was loved. - Posted by: Dawn Hinchliffe (Student) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I grew up with Rick and his brother Mike. Rick was an amazing person; kind, smart, loving and caring. If the world was made up of Rick Symonds, it would be a perfect place. He'll be missed by all who knew him. - Posted by: Bruce Clark (Friend) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I knew Rick as a classmate from Elmwood. He had a quick wit and loved to joke around. We later met again at George the V, he was teaching Phys Ed and I was teaching grade 3. The kids loved going to gym and I was often impressed with the fact that even though Elmwood High often got a bad rap .... many former students returned to work and teach in the area they grew up. Rick will be missed by many. Good times.... Good memories! - Posted by: Bonnie Boychuk (Classmate) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I was fortunate to coach with Rick. He was the epitome of a coach. He always thought about what was best for the kids and the program. Rick had a desire to learn and to teach. Rick's passing is a huge loss for sports in Manitoba - both coaches and kids. He set a tremendous example for all of us. I pray that God's peace will envelope his family and comfort them. God bless y'all. - Posted by: Craig Kennedy (Colleague and friend) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I remember Mr. Symonds teaching us at George V long before he taught at Elmwood high. He was always joking, always in a good mood and always ready to smile. I bumped into him at Safeway about 3 months ago and even after 16 years he recognized me instantly. He even wanted me to swing by and do some plumbing work for him. I will remember him as one of the finest persons I've had the pleasure of knowing. They say only the good die young and I think it has been proven. - Posted by: Larry (student/teacher) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • Rick Symonds was one of the most kind hearted persons you could ever meet, I was honoured to be in his class and on his basketball team. no matter how much I wanted to give up he never gave up on me and I thank him for that, Mr Symonds never gave up on anyone because he wanted all his students and friends to succeed in life, Rick Symonds was very talented he could sing, play the guitar, teach people incredible things, every lunch hour me and some other students would sit in his classroom and just enjoy his company but now Elmwood High School will never be the same, But thank you Rick for all the advice and everything you've done for me; Rest In Peace my friend, Even tho you're gone you'll never be forgotten. - Posted by: Molleigh Kirchen (Friend and Coach) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • When I found out the news of mr Symonds my heart broke into bits of pieces! I have never met someone like Rick Symonds! He was so different from other teachers, so kind and special and he was so honest and Loyal. I would always go to him for advice and I could trust him with anything! He was there for me in my darkest moments and he is one of the reasons why I am the person I am today! I thank God for letting me meet a person as genuine as him! There are not many people like Rick anymore, and he shared his love with everyone and treated every single person equally! I am going to miss the really odd conversations I had with him, and all the jokes he made and his smile! I am going to miss him, and lots of others will too! May you rest in peace Mr Symonds and your name will forever be in my heart! Love you very deeply! ❤ - Posted by: Loida (Student) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I had the pleasure of knowing Rick as my coach, when I played on the provincial team. I later coached against him as our teams were in the same conference. He had remembered me as an athlete even many years later. His kindness and his passion for the game of basketball will be truly missed! He was a selfless individual who put many hours into coaching and working with youth! R.I.P. My condolences to all his family, friends, students and colleagues! - Posted by: Christy Steeves (Fellow coach and former player) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • Thank you Mr. Symonds for being there for me when I wanted and needed to talk to you. I will miss seeing your beautiful smile in the hallways & you were a great teacher, taught good life lessons. Rest in peace Mr. Symonds❤ - Posted by: Derri lambert (student ) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • So sad. What a great guy he was. Got to know him through coaching against him. He always did what was best for the kids and I think Elmwood H.S. will miss him very much. R.I.P. - Posted by: Art Koop (Friend) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • Rick Symonds was an amazing teacher!! Always pushed his students to do their best! He was not only our teacher but a friend to all!! Thanks for being there for me! Rock on in heaven! Rest in peace!! - Posted by: Monica Montoya (Teacher ) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • Rick was an amazing person. He will forever be missed. RIP Rick you will not be forgotten - Posted by: trista () on: Nov 17, 2014

  • You are one of the wisest and most intelligent people I have ever met. I learned a lot from you and had many great conversations with you over the years. You've improved the lives of countless people and you will be missed dearly. I would also like to give my condolences to the family for their loss. - Posted by: Tim Hjorleifson (Friend/student) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • Rick was an amazing teacher, coach, friend. I was a part of a buddy reading program in his class. He was the most understanding, kind, compassionate person. We had many long talks ... those conversations meant so much at a time when I struggled at a new school. He made such a huge impact, he didn't need to take that time but seemed to just know he was making a huge difference. He will be truly missed by all who had the privilege to have him touch a part of their lives. - Posted by: Vanessa Laarveld (student & friend) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • You will always be missed. One of my best teachers. - Posted by: Bradley Hrynchuk () on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I'm sorry to hear what has happend, and I honestly wish it didn't, you helped me get through alot of things, and helped alot of people! you were a great person, and you knew half my family. you are a beautiful angel now, and I will do my best not to make you disappointed in me :) - Posted by: justina Block (student/friend ) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • Rick was one of the best Teachers at Elmwood High, he was very understanding and overall a great roll model. I will never forget Rick, He played a big part in my academic life, as a teacher, role model and friend. My condolences to the Whole Family, it's such a loss, he was such a great man, and I hope that he is now at peace, and with the angels, telling them funny jokes as he did, here with all of us. R.I.P Rick, hope to see you again one day. - Posted by: Raquel Crawford (Student Elmwood High School ) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • When I was a student at George V Elementary, Rick would occasionally come by my house and chat with my grandma in Polish while she fed him cakes she baked. Being a child of immigrant parents - who at the time barely spoke English - this made me feel like it was ok to be different from other people. It taught me that it does not matter the color of your skin, the language you speak, how young or old you are, we all deserve to be treated with respect. Going to miss popping into your classroom from time to time friend. Love you Rick. - Posted by: Marek Sokal (Friend/Student) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • r.i.p Rick! You're one of a kind and you'll never be forgotten my friend! - Posted by: Mitch Rankin (Student ) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • My name is Quon Hum. This is indeed a sad day for all of us. We have lost such a great person. I think sharing our grief will help us ease our burdens and help us rejoice that he was a part of our life. Today is a day of sadness and mourning for the loss of Rick, yet it can also be viewed as a day of celebration! Why? Because without him, we would never have been touched by his warmth and wisdom, as well as the shared experiences on life's eventful journey. To Rick's family and loved ones, I offer my heartfelt condolences at their great loss. I know that they will allow many others here to share their loss, safe in the knowledge that they have lost a dear one. Let’s just be thankful for all the special moments that Rick has left us. And with that, I hope that he will continue to live on within our hearts and minds. Rick, I’m sure meant something to each and every one of you. Personally, he was one my best friends. My children often refer to him as their “Uncle.” I remember the first time I met Rick. We were both beginning teachers at Shaugnessy Park School. I was teaching grade 5 and Rick was teaching Nursery halftime at Shaugnessy and half time at Clifton School. It was at this point that we formed a friendship that would see us spend many quality times together. Seeing him teaching the Nursery students was inspiring. He was such a gentle giant to all those 4 and 5 years olds. I remember helping him coach softball, floor hockey and basketball, which was his passion. His love of teaching and coaching students was evident as he dedicated his life to making a difference in their lives. He was always at the school helping students develop their athletic skills and mentoring them in their challenging choices in their futures. His soft spoken encouragement and dedication to coaching was respected by everyone. I remember every Boxing Day. Rick and his good friend Terry Hunt and I would wake up very early and go stand in line at the big box stores shopping for the big deals. We did this every year until we discovered that we could go on-line and avoid the long line-ups and the frigid cold temperatures taking its toll on our aging bodies. I remember going to Jets game with Rick at the old arena when you actually could get tickets at the old barn. We would go for supper before the game and then discuss the game afterwards always coming to the conclusion that the Jets have to shoot more often to be successful. It’s amazing how this same advice way back then is relevant to today’s version of the Jets. This is not the time for us to grieve his death, but it’s our time to celebrate his life. He never wanted to see people sad. He wanted to make everyone happy and was blessed with a wonderful sense of humour. So at this moment, when we are about to lay his body to rest, let’s all think back and remember how Rick touched our lives. How he made us laugh and how good Rick was as a person. This is not the moment for us to shed our tears but a time to reflect and be thankful that we were given this opportunity to have known Rick. As a friend, he exuded a warmth that enveloped all those he chose as friends. Care and concern for others was a strong point, especially where his friends and their families were concerned. To visualize him working with the students in the gym and helping them develop into young athletes, is something I shall always remember with a smile on my face, and a glow in my heart. To Rick Symonds, we say three things: Gone? – Unfortunately ! Forgotten? – Never ! Remembered and Loved ? - Always! - Posted by: Quon Hum (Life Long Friend) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I got to know Rick when my sons attended Elmwood H.S. You would have a hard time finding a more caring, involved reacher than Rick. He lived for his students; they were his everything. Many students stayed in touch with him long after they graduated, which is a testament to how much they loved him. I had the privilege of performing with Rick at an Elmwood Talent Show many years ago and had such a good time. Rick was a great man, teacher and friend and will be missed by many many people. - Posted by: Barbara Schneider (Parent of 2 sons who attended Elmwood High School) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • I just wanted to add my condolences to the Elmwood family, I had the pleasure of coaching against Leo in varsity Girls Basketball. He was a passionate coach who always was a gentleman and a great sportsman. May he rest in Peace. - Posted by: Jeff Anderson (Fellow coach) on: Nov 17, 2014

  • Sorry to hear of Rick's passing. Glad I had a chance to talk to Rick in June. The Elmwood football team will surely miss Rick's input along with all of the students at Elmwood. RIP my friend. - Posted by: Peter (friend) on: Nov 17, 2014

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