Harry Shelemy

Obituary of Harry Shelemy

Harry Steve Shelemy Harry Steve Shelemy, retired assistant postmaster for Gimli and previous owner of Shelemy's Book Nook & Sewing Notions, suffered a stroke on Sunday morning October 26, 2008 at Amber Meadows Retirement Home. He passed away on Thursday afternoon, October 30, 2008 at Seven Oaks General Hospital. He was 72. Harry had a zest and passion for life that is illustrated through his achievements. He was a founding member of Selkirk's 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood and the Gimli Men's Choir. He started Gimli's Ukrainian Catholic Catechism Program. When his sons attended St. Vladimir's College, Harry became a patron, tirelessly promoting and fundraising for the minor seminary/high school. He was a member of the Gimli & District Community Development Round Table, the Association for Community Living, and the Gimli Knights of Columbus. Harry believed in lifelong learning and took courses in stackwall home construction, floristry, Ukrainian language, real estate, auctioneering, tax preparation computers, public speaking and religious studies towards the roles of deacon and cantor. His wife Roseanne, fondly remembers; "Harry was an avid reader of the newspapers, he would read from front to back and discuss what he had read with his children to give them a better understanding of the world." Harry's achievements are even more impressive given his difficult childhood. He described himself as a "Canadian gypsy." He was born in a log cabin in Red Rose, Manitoba on January 3, 1936. His parents moved to Vivian, Manitoba to establish a farm and there he started grade school. He became seriously ill as a child and required hospitalization for almost a year. This was an expense before medicare and his parents lost the farm. They moved to British Columbia, eventually settling in Vernon where Harry spent his teenage years hoeing beans for 15 cents a day. His parents later moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where Harry left school after grade nine to help his father support the family. By nineteen, he had gained employment with Canada Post loading the mail trains, and then promoted to wicket clerk. In 1963, Harry transferred to the Winnipeg Main Post Office where he worked alternating shifts as a mail sorter. Harry was an avid square dancer and accordion player. While he lived in Winnipeg's north end with his mother, brother and sister and he enjoyed collecting bowling trophies and hosting late night gatherings after dances. He also met his future wife Roseanne whom he married in 1965. In 1966, Harry purchased land in the R.M. of St. Andrews and in 1968, he moved his wife and two young sons into their newly built home. His three daughters were born after in short succession. During the years in St. Andrews, Harry supplemented his Canada Post income by establishing a small farm raising goats, chickens, geese, and beekeeping. Finances were tight and he would cut acres of alfalfa with a scythe while his family would pile the hay with pitchforks. The young family became active members of St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Winnipeg, and Harry would take his children to catechism, Ukrainian culture classes and alter boys club meetings. Harry transferred to the Gimli Post Office in 1979. He moved his family to a quarter section of land eight miles north of Gimli which he jokingly called; "his small wilderness farm of spruce, swamp and stone." Harry's new position did not require alternating shift work and he became involved in the local community, purchasing a business on Gimli's main street in 1981 and renaming it "Shelemy's Book Nook and Sewing Notions." Harry loved books, and would spend Saturday mornings searching garage sales for additions to his vast collection of used books. When Harry retired from Canada Post in 1991, he continued to be involved in the community. He enjoyed singing, dancing and socializing and his family fondly remembers his love of the Saturday night polka party on CFRY 920. Harry had a sense of humour and his infectious laugh would quickly spread throughout a room. Harry loved his family deeply and taught us to stand together as a family under the most difficult of circumstances. He was very proud of all his children's accomplishments. He could always be counted on to provide practical advice, and in his final years he spoke less and listened more, just enjoying the presence of his family. Harry was thrilled with the arrival of each of his five grandsons and treasured his time with them. Harry spent his final years living at Amber Meadows Retirement Home where he enjoyed playing cribbage, bingo, and collecting Amber Bucks. Harry is survived by his wife Roseanne (Prystupa), sons Guy (Crystal) and Steve (Celine), daughters Tanya Kozera (Danny), Vala, and Tracy Yablonski (Brian). His grandsons Ryan and Levi Kozera with Braden, Matthew and Ethan Yablonski will remember their visits with him. Harry's siblings Maryanne Kowal (Stan), Wally, and Annette Havens (Robert) remain, but Harry was predeceased by his parents Sam and Anne Shelemy. Prayers will be held 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4th at Cropo Funeral Chapel, 1442 Main Street in Winnipeg with Divine Liturgy to follow at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 5th at St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church on Jefferson (off Main), with interment at Holy Family Cemetery. Officiating is Fr. Frank Szadiak with Ron Lukie as Cantor. Pallbearers are Simon, Matthew and Kyle Havens, Michael Grabowski Jr., Boniface Prystupa and Mark Riding. Honorary pallbearers are his five grandsons. Harry's family wishes to thank the Havens family, Dr Moncek and the fifth floor nursing staff at Seven Oaks Hospital for their generous support during our bedside vigil. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba or CancerCare Manitoba. CROPO FUNERAL CHAPEL 586-8044
A Memorial Tree was planted for Harry
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cropo Funeral Home
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