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PAUL CHOLAKIS Obituary pic


Date of Passing: May 03, 2020

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Paul Cholakis passed away Sunday, May 3, 2020, just shy of his 92nd birthday.
He leaves his beloved wife of 59 years, Catherine (nee Boulukos), son Ernest Paul (Gillian), son Costa (Noni Classen), son Elias (Vera), grandchildren: Alexander, Sofia and Paul, step-grandchildren: Riley and Sydney, his youngest brother Leo (Frances), and sister-in-law Marina.
Paul was the middle child of Ernest J. and Helen (nee Papageorge) Cholakis' five boys. He was predeceased by his parents, his older brother John (Evangeline), older brother Harry, and younger brother Chris (Lillian).
Paul was born and raised in Winnipeg spending his formative and schooling years in Norwood before attending St. Paul's High School (at its then location on Ellice Avenue). From a young age he was active in Broadway Florists (the family business started by his father in 1923). He spent his entire working life in the business which included the flower shop on Portage and Smith and the greenhouse on Albany Street. Guidance and nurturing from his father and commitment to his family forged a strong, lifelong work ethic and love in the beauty of flowers, art and gardening.
The passion of sport was a focal point in his life from an early age. He was an advocate of the traits and characteristics that sports developed in a person - such as teamwork, commitment, leadership, accountability, discipline and a sense of fair play. He was an avid speed-skater representing Manitoba in his teens in competitions in Minnesota and across Western Canada. At St. Paul's he was introduced to organized football along with his brother Harry. This led to a lifetime friendship with George Depres where the tandem first became known as the "Touchdown Twins", their relationship carried to the next level with the Winnipeg Rods followed by two years with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1948 to 1950). His time playing football earned him his lifetime nicknames "Choo Choo" and "Chooch". He stayed active in sports as a lifelong member of the Winnipeg Squash Club and Niakwa Golf and Country Club.
Paul was proud of his Greek Heritage and was an active participant in the Greek community. He served on the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church board and was part of the team instrumental in building the church at its current location on Grant Avenue, after he helped secure the land for the new church. He was Canadian District Governor of AHEPA, a Greek organization whose mission is to promote Hellenism and its ideals - commitment to humanity, liberty, democracy, education, philanthropy and individual and family excellence. He and Cathy also served as ambassadors for the Greek Pavilion at Folklorama.
The strong values he received from his parents and the Jesuits at St. Paul's became ingrained in him for life and are reflected in his commitment to the community. Paul served as a Honorary Aides-de-Camp for Lieutenant Governor Francis Jobin, along as a board member of the Health Sciences Corporation, a Canadian board member of the FTD association, a director of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a director of the Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation and a lifelong member of the Lions Club of Winnipeg.
Paul's focus in life was his faith, his friends and above all his family. To meet Paul was to receive a bright smile, a powerful handshake and a piece of advice or a word of encouragement. Paul was devoted to Cathy and his family. He supported all of his boy's activities, instilling in them the necessary traits and attributes to be positive contributors to society. He provided the same energy and devotion to his grandkids' activities and interests.
Our family would like to extend sincere thanks to the staff at Tuxedo Villa for their care and support of Paul the last few months.
A private family service will take place due to the restrictions of COVID-19. A celebration of Paul's life will be announced at a future date when regulations permit.
Donations in Paul's memory can be made to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2255 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3P 0S2, Phone 204-889-8723, Email:, Alzheimer Society Manitoba, 10-120 Donald Street, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4G2, Phone 204-943-6622, Email:
On a personal level, Paul would take great delight if you planted a rose bush in your garden this season.


As published in Winnipeg Free Press on May 09, 2020

Condolences & Memories (15 entries)

  • My memories of Paul, he had a tough side, that cute smile he had where his whole face lite up over took anything else. I have never forgotten the kind, appreviative, gentle side of him, always and never a miss, an old employee,friend, even a very special old cuscustomer. He would quickly go to the cooler gather a bundle together wrap them up and hand them to the person. Always promoting the store, he was well respected throughout Winnipeg. Its your time to rest. Marlene Employee 1962 + - Posted by: Marlene Fenton (Employee 1962 +) on: Mar 05, 2021

  • In the early 1960's, my father delivered flowers and plants for Broadway florists during the holidays; Xmas Easter etc. Dad drove, mom navigated and I delivered. Dad was paid 25 cents a plant and I was paid 25 cents a load. That's when we met Paul, the kindest of men. He always had time for a kind word and a laugh and treated everyone with respect. My dad is 95 now and sends his regards to the family as do I. Paul was truly a gentleman and will be missed. - Posted by: Dr. Bruce hardy (Employee) on: May 25, 2020

  • Dear Cathy and Family Memories...they keep flooding in. I was so saddened to hear of Paul's passing. I like to think of myself as one of “HIS GIRLS”!! For me it all started in late the old store...there was nothing like it ...Broadway Florist ...a charming ...outstanding showcase of beautiful flowers and plants. Back then there was Bonnie ...Sally...Anne ...Reiko..Margie...the gals upstairs in the office and the great drivers. Paul was such a incredible mentor ...he taught us all and shared his love for the industry. He knew if there was a leaf or bloom out of place ...He was passionate about his work as he was passionate about life. He had a wonderful smile and loved a good laugh or joke. He was firm but fair...he was kind...he was generous... I remember if he had a fun night playing cards and won...all the girls had coffee and cinnamon buns on him!! He was a big factor for me in meeting my husband ...and I was thrilled he gave the toast to the bride at my wedding years later... I feel honoured to have known Paul and I cherish the memories of those years at the store. Family was everything to Paul...when he spoke of Cathy and his boys it was with such Incredible pride. God has a beautiful garden they say ...I believe it was his time to go and lend a helping hand ... My sincerest sympathies Cathy to you and all your family. May the memories you hold dear bring you peace and fill your heart with joy! Rest In Peace old friend... Tracy Vanderende - Posted by: Tracy Vanderende (MacIver) (Old friend ) on: May 13, 2020

  • My family and I met Paul through George Depres when we transferred from Toronto to Winnipeg in November 1973. Our son Peter JDA Gall attended St Paul's along with Paul's sons. Many great memories. Rest in Peace Paul. - Posted by: Peter Gall (Friend) on: May 12, 2020

  • Elia, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. Cherish the great memories together! Dan - Posted by: Dan De Groote (Colleague of Elia) on: May 11, 2020

  • Dear Elia, we are so sorry to learn of the passing of your dad. This is a beautiful tribute to your dad and it's obvious he brought much joy to those around him. Your RBC friends send our deepest condolences to you and your family and wishes for peace, Tina Sarellas - Posted by: Tina Sarellas (RBC colleague) on: May 11, 2020

  • Our sincere condolences to the Cholakis family. Paul & Cathy & their kids are family to George. With each interaction with Paul, you saw the strong, reliable, steady, family man who always had a mischievous twinkle in his eye. His zest for life, always shone through, even as he was tearing up the dance floor, at a summer backyard BBQ last summer. A life well lived! - Posted by: Kim Schroeder & George Andrews (Longtime Family Friends) on: May 10, 2020

  • Elia, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Your in my thoughts and prayers. - Posted by: Lisa Nachtigall (Friend) on: May 10, 2020

  • All our Love to the family! Many fond memories of Mr Chooch over many yrs! R.I.P ❤️ - Posted by: Jackie Keane (Family Friend) on: May 09, 2020

  • On behalf of the AHEPA Family and Winnipeg AHEPA Chapter Polikos Aster CJ8, I express our deepest sympathy to the family of Paul Cholakis and offer our thoughts and prayers. Paul’s strong lifelong work ethic in the various aspects of his life extended to the AHEPA family with a passion of commitment to philanthropy and Hellenism. After joining the Order of AHEPA (American Hellenic and Progressive Association) on May 1, 1990, he served actively over the years in various capacities including Chapter President (1998-2000), District 24 Governor for Western Canada (2001-2003), and on the chapter’s executive. He contributed generously and tirelessly to many cultural/charitable activities of the Order in the community. Many a time, he went the extra mile to ensure the success of these endeavors whether it was the Folklorama Greek Islands Pavilion, AHEPA sporting events for members and our youth, or ensuring that our cultural/charitable community events went off without a hitch. His kind donation of flowers for several of these events over the years is greatly appreciated. He also strove to support youth in sport, education, and Hellenic culture. Paul’s sharp sense of anecdotal humour brought much laughter to many as well as an underling inspiration to wisdom. His contribution to life fulfilled the ideals of Hellenism which include: education, philanthropy, family & individual excellence, education, and civic responsibly through community service and volunteerism. Eonia Eimnemi (May his memory be eternal). - Posted by: William Constan - Secretary, Order of AHEPA Polikos Aster Chapter CJ8 (Friend) on: May 09, 2020

  • Dear Cathy, I did not have the pleasure of meeting your husband. He has the reputation of a fine gentleman and will be missed by the community. I would like to extend my sympathy to you and your family. (Your aquafit buddy) Irene Heiman - Posted by: Irene Heiman (Friendship with Cathy) on: May 09, 2020

  • Dear Cathy, I did not have the pleasure of meeting your husband. He has the reputation of a fine gentleman and will be missed by the community. I would like to extend my sympathy to you and your family. (Your aquafit buddy) Irene Heiman - Posted by: Irene Heiman (Friendship with Cathy) on: May 09, 2020

  • My sincere And heartfelt condolences to The Cholakis family. I’m saddened by this news and I’m proud to say that I had worked for Paul and Cathy and boys for many years. He was a strong leader and taught me plenty about work ethic. He often shared his wise and fatherly advice on life in general and came up with some hilarious one liners and wise-cracks while working at the store. Thinking of you all at this difficult time. He will be missed. - Posted by: Allison Adams (Friend) on: May 09, 2020

  • I got to know Paul at the Reh-Fit Centre where we had many interesting conversations during our 10:00 AM group exercise sessions. My condolences to the family. - Posted by: Al Bartlett (Acquaintance) on: May 09, 2020

  • Heartfelt condolences to Cathy and family on Paul's death. What a fulfilling life he and you all had together. I so remember his firm handshake when I used to run into you both at Superstore. May your fond memories be a comfort at this sad time. Hugs, Cathy. - Posted by: Gerri Thorsteinson (Cathy's friend) on: May 09, 2020

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