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MICHAEL WILLIAM PARASIUK
Born: Mar 05, 1970
Date of Passing: Sep 03, 2020Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory
MICHAEL WILLIAM PARASIUK
March 5, 1970 - September 3, 2020
Michael will be greatly missed by his wife Kathryn, son Cohen, daughter Lily Jacqueline; parents, Wilma and Wilson; sister Laurel Lawry (Brian); sisters-in-law, Jacqueline Embrey (David), Terese Dalman (Lawrie); brother-in-law Greg Dagg; and nieces and nephews, Melanie, Tegan, Tim, Lauren, William, Nathan, Elise, Spencer, Murray, Christian Jack and Dylan, and family and friends around the world.
The precocious and cherished child of Wilson and Wilma Parasiuk, Michael grew up in Transcona, Manitoba, surrounded by a close extended family. His family's Central and Eastern European immigrant background played a strong role in his life; he danced at the local Ukrainian Hall until his teen years, and the hardships, hope, and cooperative spirit of the Prairie pioneers imbued him with a strong sense of social awareness and community engagement.
Michael and his sister, Laurel, whom he eccentrically nicknamed Suzy, were active in the close-knit community, visiting elders, taking part in local festivals and events, and assisting their parents with election campaigns and constituency outreach, while learning the importance of giving back, getting involved, taking responsibility, and helping others, all in the hope of creating a better world.
Throughout his youth, he had many opportunities to shine: on stage and in plays, as President of his high school, in academics, in the 400-meter race, in team sports, in public speaking, and above all, as a friend and supporter - someone who drew people into his orbit and secured them there with his intelligence, his wit, his generosity and his love. He displayed a great ability to innovate and lead in many entrepreneurial capacities, including as Manager of the family's Le Grand Splash Waterslide in the Gatineau Hills as a young man.
Moving to Vancouver in 1989 to join his parents and sister, he maintained close relationships with his many friends and family members despite any distance between them. Simon Fraser University's activist history and grassroots community resonated deeply with him and he flourished as a writer and editor at The Peak newspaper, a host at the student radio station, all the while deepening his belief in social engagement and political action. His Political Science degree set the foundation for what would become a lifelong career in the public service, ultimately as a Policy Analyst and Adjudicator for the Residential School Settlement Process.
In 1991, he met an Aussie beauty in Whistler, and they eloped that year in Tofino - a wedding party of two despite both being extroverts who valued family and friends above all. Michael and Kathy created an active life for themselves and their two children, variously setting down roots in Ottawa, Wakefield, and Quebec City, before finally returning to North Vancouver to be closer to their family.
Michael's analytical mind always led him to question the establishment. He was not a believer in organized religion but he had great faith in people themselves making our world a better place. He found his calling as a Federal Public Servant, and was able to give back in his work as an analyst in the civic and social sector. Selected for the Manager Development Program, he was stationed in various federal departments across Canada. He was forever affected by his work with Indigenous communities in remote areas of Western Canada, as an adjudicator for the Residential School Settlement Process. He was a vociferous lifelong supporter of the New Democratic Party and worked on election campaigns for local candidates, recruiting his own children to carry on the tradition of alerting the next generation to the importance of grassroots involvement and political debate. He also participated with his children, sister, wife and nephews in preserving Ukrainian culture and traditions, finding another family in the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and dedicating himself to its success by giving his time in countless ways and working on several different committees, including as a Director of the Lesya Ukrainka Senior Manor Board, the Vancouver Branch Executive and the National Committee.
His smile and laughter were infectious; he drew people to himself through good cheer, great stories and genuine curiosity. He will be missed by all who knew him.
"Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world," said Tommy Douglas.
A memorial fund has been established by his family to support future SFU students who share Michael's passion for community building and activism. You may wish to consider making a gift in his honour. www.give.sfu.ca/MichaelParasiukMemorialFund.
To share your memories of Michael and find more information about the funeral service go to www.dignitymemorial.com.
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 19, 2020
Condolences & Memories (11 entries)
Wilson and Wilma - Although we did not ever meet Michael, this eloquently penned obit makes us feel we knew him personally. How profoundly sad that such a beautiful, young soul be taken from so many who loved him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. - Posted by: Lorne & Louellen Frederick (Friends of parents) on: Sep 22, 2020
I taught Michael and was witness to his tremendous desire to be involved and serve. Not only was he president of the student council, he was a positive force all the years he was at College Beliveau. When I saw him last at a school reunion, I was impressed he would fly from Vancouver to keep bonds and relationships alive. I was shocked to read of his passing and offer my deepest sympathy to his wife, children, parents and extended family. It is a sad time. - Posted by: Wayne Selby (Former teacher) on: Sep 21, 2020
Even as young Michael participated in my grade one class in Transcona, I could see how much goodness and cheerfulness and hopefulness he offered to those around him. As these students moved forward, we were fortunate to see more of Mike, as our son, Jeff and he were in the same class at Ecole Centrale. As I read how much Michael has accomplished in his young life, and of the many ways he has touched the lives of others, I am awed and grateful for his gifts. Murray and I offer our deep condolences to Michael's family, Kathy and their children, to Wilson and Wilma, and to Laurel and her family. - Posted by: Elaine Wilson (Friend/Retired Teacher) on: Sep 20, 2020
We are so sorry to read about the death of your son Michael. What a loss to everyone including the world. We are thinking of you in this time of sorrow. - Posted by: Linda and Wayne hughes (Friend) on: Sep 20, 2020
We are so sorry to hear of Michael's passing. Our condolences to all friends and family. - Posted by: Gilbert and Tina Law (Transcona friends) on: Sep 20, 2020
Wilma and Wilson, I am heartbroken to learn of your loss. Please accept my condolences and know that we are thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. - Posted by: Susan Hart-Kulbaba (friend) on: Sep 19, 2020
Our Sincere Sympathy - Posted by: Conrad & Cheryl (Odette) Hnatiuk (Friend from Transcona & work associate in Winnipeg ) on: Sep 19, 2020
WILLY AND WILMA - NO PARENT SHOULD EVER SEE A CHILD LEAVE BEFORE THEM. OUR HEARTFELT SYMPATHY AND THOUGHTS TO YOU. CHERISH THE MEMORIES. RON (and Lovie) - Posted by: RON NIMCHUK (FRIEND TO PARENTS ) on: Sep 19, 2020
Michael was my cousin and I always thought we had a special bond but seeing all the comments about him I realize everyone that knew Michael had a special bond with him. He was genuine that was his gift. He always had time and that you counted you had his full attention and love. It was to soon I love you and to the family no words can convey my sympathies to you Love always - Posted by: Kelly Law (Cousins ) on: Sep 19, 2020
So sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept our deepest sympathies. Our thoughts are with you. - Posted by: John & Colleen Bucklaschuk (Friend) on: Sep 19, 2020
Shocked and sadden to see of Michael's passing. I worked with Michael when he was starting out at the Feds as Agents on Pender Street. Over the years I would run into him in Vancouver and Ottawa. My deepest condolences to Michael's wife and children, who he always updated me when our paths crossed. Mr. and Mrs. Parasiuk and Laurel from my Family to yours, I am truly sorry for your loss. Michael was bright and fun, and I can only imagine how much he will be missed. - Posted by: Janice Maslanko (Friend, retired colleague, former resident of Transcona. ) on: Sep 19, 2020
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