On April 20, at age 92, William (Bill) Wolaniuk left us to join his dearly departed wife Vivian, who passed in December 2022. It was the longest they’d been apart in almost 70 years.
Born in 1930 in a farmhouse near Plumas to Uliana and Gabriel Wolaniuk a year after they arrived from Ukraine, he was the middle child of two sisters, Lydia and Helen. Bill was sent to school at age four to learn English but never lost his first language.
The family rented farms in the Plumas area and then Arden, where they bought farmland in the early 40s and where Bill helped his dad build the house and barn on the Arden Ridge. In 1954, he married Vivian Goodwin and they raised five children on this farm. He worked hard on that land his whole life, until they moved to Neepawa in 1993.
Vallon (Nemie), Brian (Karen), Leeanna, Dale (Maureen), and Morgan (Pat) will always think of their dad as an honest, down-to-earth man of his own mind, full of common sense, generosity, and laughter. He was the boss, the patriarch, the one in his chair by the door at the end of the kitchen table – the first hello and the last goodbye.
Between them, his children brought 15 grandchildren and a gaggle of great-grandchildren home to Bill and Vivian. These two loved nothing more than a full house and a big table crowded with family and visitors. They courageously took bunches of grandkids camping at Spruce Woods – and did so more than once! His grandkids always knew he loved them, even when perhaps they weren’t on their best behavior. Bill retired at age 60 and he and Vivian started to spend the winters in Texas, something they enjoyed for the next 20 years.
Bill was well-known and well-liked around town. He’d ride his red scooter to the post office each day to chat with whoever was there. He had a quick wit and if he liked you, he teased you with it. He loved to polka and did so right up to his last weeks at Kinsmen Kourts, where he enjoyed the company of friends old and new. He was proud of his Ukrainian heritage and used his first language all through his life to connect with and help newcomers in town.
His family will miss him dearly. A service will be held for Bill on June 8, 2023 at 11:00 in the Neepawa Legion Hall. Lunch to follow.