Bill was born on March 14, 1936 on a farm in the Goodeve district in Saskatchewan to George and Eva (nee Wadiuk) Greschuk.
Bill took his schooling at Tarnaville School and later at the Hubbard High School. Even though he only completed his Grade 8, he took great pride in his penmanship and the fact that he often passed exams in later life with a perfect grade.
He was an avid ball player and continued to play the sport into adulthood.
Farm life called to Bill. It was in his blood and along with his Dad and brothers, he worked hard to help provide for his family. He also spoke often about the love of cooking that he acquired from watching his Mom in the kitchen.
In the 1950s Bill made his way to Saskatoon where he worked for Early Seed & Feed, drove cab, and was willing to work at anything that helped pay the bills. It was in Saskatoon that he met the love of his life, Maryann Schimnosky. They were engaged in a restaurant on 20th Avenue and the adventure began. They both enjoyed bowling, curling and socializing with friends.
On May 23, 1960 they were the first couple to be married in the new Hubbard church (he happily reminded us of this every time we drove past). The couple began their life together in Saskatoon.
Maryann’s sister, Genevieve and her husband made the move to Thompson, Man. where the men both began work at the mine. But in 1961, Maryann’s sister, Eleanor, passed away suddenly. They gave Bill the choice of leaving and losing his job or staying and missing the funeral. There was no choice. That ended Bill’s mining career.
But even after difficult circumstances, there can be opportunities and joy. In 1962 their son, William George (Billy) was born and the family moved to Melville where Bill began work with Canadian National Railroad. He took great pride in this career until his retirement in 1993.
In 1967 their daughter, Sharon Marie, was born and their family was complete.
In the decades that followed Bill and Maryann enjoyed a wonderful life. Bill transitioned from steam locomotives to the newest models and was admired and respected by his co-workers and superiors.
He built three homes in Melville with skills not many knew he possessed. Two on Montreal Street and, of course, their dream home on a quarter section of land just a few miles west of the city. Farming the quarter section on an open-air tractor is where he was happiest. Filthy… but happy. This farm home became the location for many joyous Christmas, Easter and family celebrations.
He enjoyed Yahtzee with Eddie Oystreck, and playing cards until all hours of the night with friends and family. On his last visits, he was still skunking whoever had the courage to take him on in cribbage!
He enjoyed hunting and fishing at the Endeavor cabin. Trips with his brothers, friends, and nephews to Ukraine and meeting many family members provided many wonderful experiences and memories.
He was at every one of Billy’s games when not working, whether it was ball or hockey, and dragged himself to a yearly dance recital for Sharon. His love of coaching and cheering led the family to give up their cabin at Crooked Lake in return for social time with friends at local sports days in the summer heat! In later years, it didn’t matter if it was hockey, ball, lacrosse or Air Cadets, they travelled to attend all of Sharon’s son’s events.
He became an avid Snooker player which earned him senior provincial championships in the early 2000s. He also put his stamp on several trophies at Matty’s pool room when participating in their Memorial tournament.
The social activities, coffees at the King George, auction sales, and Millionaire games always came in second. His family was his priority. Any opportunity to gather with his brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren was when he was truly happiest.
Bill was becoming forgetful in the last decade. We called him the Six Million Dollar Man since his knees and hips were artificial! And his diabetes took a toll. He had a great sense of humor which never ceased, despite his health difficulties.
Maryann became ill in 2014 and when she passed away the following Valentine’s Day, it became apparent that Bill would not be able to live on his own.
He took up residence at Westview Manor in 2015 under the loving care of Thelma and Vince Raczynski and staff. He remained with them until his health concerns became overwhelming. At that he made the move to Ituna Pioneer Lodge in the summer of 2020.
He was generous to a fault. You only had to TRY to pay for a bill when you went for dinner to know that it just was NOT happening. He held strong opinions and let you know when he felt passionate about a certain subject. If anyone needed a hand, he was always available, whether it was for advice or a literal “hand” with some project.
To say that he will be missed is a gross understatement.
To say that he loved and was loved… is a blessing to us all.
He died peacefully at the Ituna Pioneer Lodge on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 at the age of 84, with his brother, Alex, holding his hand.
Bill was predeceased by his infant daughter Mary; his wife of 54 years, Maryann; parents, George and Eva; baby sister Pearl and baby brother Michael in infancy; sisters, Ann and Rose; brother John; brothers-in-law, Michael Stelmacowich, Russell Stelmacovich, Mel Schlahetka, Sandy Schimnosky, Norbert Gerwing, Bernie Loewen and Alfred Schimnosky (and son Jason); also sisters-in-law, Clara Saretski (daughter Mary Frances), Margaret Gerwing (son Doug), Eileen Kerr, Frances Loewen, Genevieve Uliski and Eleanor Kuzma.
He leaves to mourn and giggle while sharing memories: his son, William (Janis); and daughter, Sharon (James Flett); grandchildren, Melanie Greschuk (fiancé Chris Harkema), Robert Kaczur (fiancé Ashley Brisebois), Christopher Greschuk, and Brayden Kaczur (Cara Maleschuk); brothers, Nick (Martha) and Alex (Diane) Greschuk; and many nephews, nieces and friends and family.
The family would sincerely like to thank the owners and staff at Westview Manor and Ituna Pioneer Lodge for loving our Dad like he was your own.
Funeral mass was celebrated on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 10 a.m. from St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church in Melville with Rev. Father Andrew Sowa OMI as the Celebrant. The interment followed in the Hubbard Holy Cross Cemetery, Hubbard, Sask.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Hubbard Holy Cross Cemetery, Box 58 Hubbard, Sask., S0A 1J0.
Arrangements were by Bailey’s Funeral Home, Melville.