Frank Zawada, of Saskatoon, SK, formerly of Shell Lake, SK, passed away on December 19, 2018, at the age of 87 years.
Frank was born in Prince Albert, SK, and attended school there until Grade 8. His parents bought a farm near Shellbrook, and he spent the remainder of his school days biking the 5 miles to and from town.
After graduation, he discovered that being an office clerk at the R.M. office was not for him, and he was convinced to try teaching. He attended Teacher’s College and accepted a position teaching at Temesvar, south of Spiritwood. While there he met the love of his life, a fellow teacher named Jean Atkinson. They were married in June of 1956 and immediately took up teaching positions in Shell Lake. Jean handled the Grade 1/2 room and Frank taught Grades 7 and 8.
Frank’s career moved into high school teaching, and he became principal in 1967. After over 32 years of teaching, he retired in 1985.
But he retired only from teaching. Frank had become interested in beekeeping, and his hobby of raising honey bees, and later leafcutter bees became a full-time career, including alfalfa farming. He continued with that until 2013, when Frank and Jean moved to Saskatoon.
Frank was curious about everything, and he was involved in so many different activities and community projects that it is hard to count. He helped create Memorial Lake Regional Park and its golf course, he and a partner started what is now the Resort Village of Big Shell, he led the Shell Lake Rover Scouts, he was part of the community groups that built the Shell Lake arena and curling rink, he was a village councillor for several years, and he competed in ski jumping events and helped build jumps around Shell Lake. That is just a partial list.
One of his most unique hobbies was taxidermy. He wanted to make a rug from a bear he had obtained hunting, and took a correspondence course that involved mounting everything from squirrels to coyotes. Our house, garage and sheds were always full of the products of his work, whether feathered, furred or scaled. Many around Shell Lake and the province still have trophy fish on their walls which he prepared.
Some of his proudest accomplishments were the results of beekeeping. He sold products internationally, including into the Soviet Union, and his honey won awards at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.
In 1979, Frank’s half-ton was struck by a semi truck, and he suffered a broken neck. He spent more than 2 months in hospital (the first sick days he used in more than 20 years of teaching), and returned to school by the end of the term. The accident caused permanent mobility problems but he never complained. While his athletic days were mostly over, he just turned to new interests, particularly those which helped his community.
Although Frank and Jean spent more than 55 years in Shell Lake, they seamlessly transitioned into life in Saskatoon at Preston Park II. Frank continued many old friendships and developed new ones until his passing. He never lost his sense of humour, or his “what can I help with” attitude, and was always participating in any way he could.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jean, son Craig (Dianne Martin) and grandchildren Daniel and Kate, son Ross and granddaughter Rocio, daughter Lana Chuhaniuk (Dale) and daughter Bev. He was predeceased by his parents John and Anna, brothers Joe and Stan, and sister Sophia.
A Celebration of Frank’s life will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursday, December 27, 2018 at Shell Lake Lion’s Hall, with Delores Beaulac officiating. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Beau “Lac” Funeral Home, Mark Muir, Funeral Director, Spiritwood, SK. Family and friends wishing to send online condolences are invited to visit www.beaulacfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of Frank can be made to a charity that is meaningful to you.
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Frank Zawada August 31 1931 December 19 2018 (age 87)..