- Winnipeg Free Press Passages
- All Titles
Notices are posted by 10 am Monday through Saturday
Born: Nov 11, 1938
Date of Passing: Dec 21, 2021Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Edward Balik on December 21, 2021, after a lengthy illness at the age of 83. Edward passed at his home, a home that he built himself, and was surrounded by his family who loved him dearly.
Edward is survived and deeply missed by his wife of 50 years, Julia, his two children, Tatiana and Anita (John), his two grandchildren, Liam and Mischa (Kamloops) and his sister and brother Marisha and Jan who still live in Poland.
Edward was born in Romonowka, Poland (now Ukraine) on November 11, 1938 in a one room house. He was the middle child of three children, and the oldest male. When his father was conscripted into the Red Army and taken off to war, Edward was tasked with many familial responsibilities. Even at such a young age he remembered witnessing many horrific atrocities during the War - many of which he only spoke of only at a later age in life. He also remembered the kindness he experienced from both German and Russian soldiers.
In the spring of 1946, Edward participated in one of the largest post-war expulsions in Central and Eastern Europe and which displaced more than 20 million people. Edward, and most of his family, and his whole village were loaded into cattle cars and relocated to Wimyarki, Poland (in what had been Germany). When they arrived, the family was told to "choose" a house and resettle, but the house they chose still had an occupant and so the family had to wait a week for them to leave.
The village next to Wimyarki was Zagan, which was famous for housing a prisoner of war camp called Stalag Luft III, and which camp was later featured in the movie The Great Escape. As a boy, Edward would go to the de-commissioned camp grounds with his friends to see if there was anything they could salvage.
At just 12 years old, Edward put in the electricity and lighting into their house. As his mother couldn't read, and his father did not read much, Edward taught himself everything. He was self-taught and had the "just do it", or "I will figure it out myself" attitude for the rest of his life.
At the age of 14 Edward was sent off to boarding school, which was not easy, and where he earned a diploma as a mechanical technologist. After school he completed his mandatory service in the Polish navy as a sonar operator on the submarine "Sep" and then joined the merchant marine. On his first international trip he decided to "jump ship" in Halifax and ask for political asylum in Canada in 1971. With only $5 in his pocket, and unable to speak English, Edward made the hard choice to leave his family and country to seek a better life in Canada. He was forever grateful to Canada, the country that gave him so much when he had so little.
Edward settled in Winnipeg where he had a distant aunt and through hard work and savings, bought his first home in Elmwood. Edward began fixing it from the ground up, dug the basement by hand and then renovated the whole house himself.
He met his future wife, Julia Paseschnikoff at "Club 13" which he would later say was the best live music dance hall for immigrants in Winnipeg. Edward and Julia married in 1972 and were inseparable for the next 50 years. They spent their years together working on their house and garden, working, raising their two children, dancing, singing songs, travelling and having epic family barbeques. Nothing made Edward happier than making shish kabobs in the park when the kids were young, or serving a huge ten course, four meat barbeque on his homemade brick barbeque surrounded by his family and grandchildren.
In 1976 Edward started working at Versatile (which later became Ford New Holland) as a machinist in the experimental department. He contemplated going back to school and receiving his Canadian engineering papers, as his were not accepted, but with a wife and two small kids to support, this education was not a priority. Providing for his family was.
In 1977 Edward bought an old home in St. Vital, and then proceeded again to build a new house by himself, again digging the basement by hand and using 80% of the lumber from the old home to save money at all costs. The family moved into the house months ahead of time, before it was ready and spent the summer going to the outdoor pool as the running water was not hooked up yet. These years of his life were spent non-stop working on the house and taking any overtime he could at work. It was only after a few years that the family was able to finally take a few yearly road trips across Canada and the US, trips that would forever bring them fond memories.
Edward took his first airplane trip when his kids were 13 and 14 to Venezuela. Not only was this memorable as they went back to where Julia grew up, but he made some lifelong friends during that trip.
Because of his escape to Canada, Edward could not go back to Poland and see his family until 1986. Unfortunately, his father had already passed away.
By 1992 and with the kids being older, Edward and Julia started ballroom dancing. Many hours of fun, fitness and friends were made at Shirley's Dance Studio and Ted Motyka's Dance Studio. They only wished they had started earlier in their lives. Their love of dancing was strong and they tried to instill this all to both their kids and their grandchildren.
Edward continued to better himself and regularly took ESL classes where he enjoyed meeting other new Canadians, and providing them with friendly advice.
In retirement, and as a grandfather or "Dzia Dzia", Edward's happiest times were spent with, and caring for his grandchildren, Liam and Mischa. He spent as much time as possible in BC helping "raise" his grandchildren, and looked after Liam when he was a baby for three months when his daughter went back to work. He told everyone that he had the best time with his "little companion" and wished he could have spent more time "contributing" to Mischa when she was a baby. The frequent visits to Kamloops to care for "the kids", to work on their house and to build the most beautiful two storey tree house showed the sacrifices of both Edward's and Julia's to be a part just to help "the kids". Selfless to the core, the word "No" was not part of his vocabulary when asked for help.
Edward was happiest when the whole family was together. Edward always taught his children and grandchildren that it was good to know everything in life. Cooking, sewing, carpentry, science, math, history, electricity, etc. He believed that there were no real male or female roles in life, and without knowing how to do these things you would be "a cripple in life". He was the go to tailor in the house, having learned in the navy, builder, fixer, historian and cook. His perogies, barley soup and Bigos were famous and everyone's favourite.
Edward taught his family when he could, and was an excellent role model and teacher. He spent many hours teaching them chess, history and any wisdom he could throw their way. He had nicknames for everyone he knew and loved, would give his grandchildren his last bite of food, and often did. He often said, "your best investment is your children", and "we are living for them".
Edward was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018, and fought long and hard. The family would like to thank Dr. Paul at CancerCare Manitoba, Palliative Nurses Sean and Johannes, and care aide Brenda who helped everyone in the family with the process.
In lieu of flowers, please consider sending an email of your memory about Edward to firstname.lastname@example.org. A book will be compiled for the grandchildren.
My Dzia Dzia - by Mischa Grover
Devoted - Dzia Dzia puts 110% of his heart and effort into everything
dZiadia - Dzia Dzia is a very wise person and teaches you all of what he knows
(lessons, waltz, chess, etc.)
Is Strong - Dzia Dzia is strong both mentally and physically (szylny tak lew)
Always kind - Dzia Dzia is always nice and friendly, he tells great stories and lessons
Dedicated - When Dzia Dzia puts his mind to something, there is nothing that can stop him from achieving it
dZia dzia - Always goes the extra mile and goes above and beyond in helping others
is Selfless - Dzia Dzia always puts the people he loves ahead of him and doesn't think about
Amazing - Not everyone is lucky enough to have a dzia dzia, but I was blessed and I
am so grateful for him
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 10, 2022
Condolences & Memories (1 entries)
Dear Anita, John, Mischa, Liam & Julia: Thank you, a lovely, wonderful tribute to Ed, a great man, Dad, Husband, grandfather for sure, I (Jean) visited Ed once when my Polish uncle passed and I had to read some of his correspondence which was written in Polish. He was so nice and kind. He translated it to English and read it to me. Love, Jean & Dick - Posted by: Jean & Dick (Longtime friends of Grover’s ) on: Sep 16, 2022
Sign up for free email alerts of new obituaries for specific people, towns & more.