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Honouring Dad

It’s Fathers Day, and I want to take a few minutes to honour my father George Gregory Stetski.

Our family was a fairly traditional post world war two middle class family with five children. My father was the “bread winner” and my mom the “bread maker” - he went to work and she concentrated on home. That was an era where you could make it on one income.

Dad was a Federal public servant, and it was also an era where in order to get ahead in your job, you moved. I was born in Churchill, Manitoba. Growing up, I lived in Yorkton, Saskatchewan - Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut - back to Churchill - Beechy, Saskatchewan - Kenora, Ontario - Winnipeg, Manitoba. Each move was a step forward in dad’s career and for us as a family.

When I graduated from Grade 12 in Winnipeg there was no question what I was going to do - go to university. Dad wanted all of us kids to have a university degree and four out of the five of us did so - two Engineers, one Social Worker, and one Ecologist/Teacher (me).

My dad died on October 11, 1991, of misdiagnosed prostrate cancer - he was treated for months for an “infected bladder”. He was only 63 years old. For months afterwards I remember just wanting to pick up the phone and talk with him…Dad and mom (Solveig) had been married for 41 years.

What was his legacy? For me, it was a strong belief in the importance of public service, in wanting to ensure that every child who wants a college or university education can get one, in the importance of family values, and in helping out your neighbours however you can. On a more “practical” level it taught me the importance of regular check-ups for prostrate cancer if you are over 50 years of age - that is something that all of us men should do!

Thanks Dad. You will have been gone 30 years this October - I still wish I could pick up the phone and talk with you…

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