Michalina ‘Mae’ Denesiuk (nee Misko) went to the Lord on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Left to grieve are her children Byron of Kelowna, BC, Kim (Ron) of Summerland, BC, Sheldon (Linda) of Calgary, AB and Kelowna, BC, and Holly (Tim) of Kelowna, BC; grandsons Derek Denesiuk, Joshua Sarada, and Jeremy (Selina) Sarada; sister Elsie Tkachuk of Moose Jaw, SK; brothers-in-law Orest (Nettie) Denesiuk of Edmonton, AB, Merv (Emma) Denesiuk of Edmonton, AB; sister-in-law Anne (Nick) Tkatchuk of Vancouver, BC; and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Mae was predeceased by her husband Walter Denesiuk in 1996.
Born on the farm in Fenwood, SK on April “Twag”(12th), 1930, Mae was the 12th of 13 children, the 9th daughter of Mary (nee Smuk) and John Misko. She went to Maxwellton School, a one room building with one teacher, 9 grades, and 45 students. She excelled in baseball and hockey and was always the fastest racer (her words!). She claims being the 2nd last of 13 children taught her to be quick, especially when it came to grabbing the delicious crust off the homemade bread and licking it so no other sibling would grab it.
She moved to Yorkton, SK to the city house the family owned and sold chickens, eggs, and farm produce door to door. She met Walter Denesiuk at the dancehall in Goodeve, SK and they married in 1950. They moved to the Denesiuk homestead outside of Goodeve and farmed for 30 years while raising 4 children. Auntie Mae was a favourite of all the nieces and nephews and often had many of them holidaying at the farm. They all loved her twisted fairy tales where all the villains met a demise far more traumatizing and worse than the original authors could ever imagine. Mae moved to Moose Jaw, SK and started working at Valleyview Centre, where she spent 15 happy years. She was loved by all the residents and had a soft spot for resident Billy Scott and his puppies. She was thrilled to become a grandmother to Derek Denesiuk and to Joshua and Jeremy Sarada and visited them in Summerland as often as she could. After retirement, Mae joined the ladies auxiliary of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and spent many years making pierogis, cabbage rolls, bread, cinnamon buns, and pies. She always loved to sing and joined the choir at the church and sang Ukrainian folksongs and hymns daily. She was a voracious reader and read anything, but was especially fond of the National Examiner, which she read with as much gusto as the latest best seller by Janette Walls or Patricia Cornwall. Her favourite music was country and western and Shania Twain was her hero, alongside Pavarotti, Placedo Domingo, and Beverly Sills. Mae’s favourite hobby was gambling, first at the bingo halls of Moose Jaw and Regina with her best friend/sister Elsie, before they moved onto the casinos. They took many fun bus trips to different casinos and according to Mae, she always came out ahead!
Mae moved to Summerland, BC when she turned 80 years old to be closer to her family and we took full advantage of being able to spend time bonding with her. She was a joy. She enjoyed playing bingo at the Seniors’ Centre on Mondays, happy hour with her friends at Parkdale Place, the Fall Fair at the arena, and as often as she could, the casino at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. When she turned 83, she moved into the Summerland Seniors Village and became involved in activities hosted by the facility such as dances, performances, and sightseeing trips. She had a warm, inviting demeanor and terrific sense of humour and was always ready to socialize and tell a long drawn out story, with a different ending every time. Even after being confined to a wheelchair, she was quick to show off her self-taught tap dancing skills. She had the unique gift of effortlessly having people feel welcome, accepted and loved in her presence, always. She was a good-will ambassdor and an example of how wonderful people can be.
Many thanks to the staff on 2CD at the Summerland Seniors Village for helping Mae in the last year and especially the staff on SP3 at the Penticton Regional Hospital for making Mae’s final transition a peaceful and calm experience for her and her family. We gratefully acknowledge the wonderful care shown to Mae by “Doktor Catty” Harrold and her staff over the years; Mae really enjoyed being your patient.
A Memorial Mass will be held in Saskatchewan at a later date. Contact the family for service details.
Condolences may be directed to the family through providencefuneralhomes.com 250-494-7752.