In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar
LABOUSKI, Alexander - Alex was born with his twin sister, Effie, on August 6th, 1929, to Martin and Eva Labouski on a farm six miles east of Athabasca. He was the only boy in the family with seven sisters.
He attended grade one to grade three at Tawatinaw School which was two miles from their farm. The school burnt down during Easter of 1939, and Alex finished grade three in a vacant farmhouse. Alex then attended a new school built that summer across the road from the home farm. He took grade nine at home by correspondence, their version of “on-line learning”, before eventually taking a school bus to town to attend Athabasca Public High School from 1946 to 1948.
The summer of 1948 Alex worked on the home farm and that winter he worked for his brother-in-law Paul Wallach at Paul’s lumber camp at Calling Lake. One day that winter Alex was charged with the task of taking the horses down for some water, something spooked the horses and they got away from Alex. Now he had to go back to his Paul and explain the whole situation. Decades later, Paul, jokingly never let Alex forget how he single handily stopped production of the company for a whole day. The horses were found back home in the fields the next day.
Alex and his buddy, Dave Pagee decided to join the Royal Canadian Navy and see the world. Alex had to swear to his mom that he would never get a tattoo and kept his promise.
So, in the Autumn of 1951, Dave and Alex started on a six-month basic training course in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. This was the start of an adventure which was to last for five years.
After Cornwallis, in 1952, Alex got assigned to the “HMCS Ontario” a light cruiser and trained to be an electrician’s mate. The “HMCS Ontario” was selected to represent the Royal Canadian Navy at the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Alex was privileged and proud to be part of the contingent.
After serving two years aboard the “Ontario” he was posted to “The Crescent” a destroyer in Esquimalt. They performed various naval exercises with the US Navy, NATO, and British Forces as far out as the Hawaii and England during that time. Alex also pursued a 2nd electrical course at Stadacona becoming an electrical technician during this period.
In 1955 he was posted to his last ship, the mine sweeper, “HMCS James Bay”. During his time in the navy, not only did Alex sail, up and down the east and west coasts of North America, the Caribbean and north Atlantic but also got to cross Canada six times by train.
Alex left the Navy in the Spring of 1956 and took a job with Technical Enterprises installing drilling rig lighting. In 1957 Alex joined C.I.L. where he ultimately spent most of his working life.
Besides starting a new job in 1957, he started a new life when he met the love of his life, Catherine Wynnyk at a dance one evening on Whyte Avenue. Their courtship eventually led to Alex asking Catherine to marry him. Alex and Catherine were married in the tradition of the Ukrainian Catholic faith on July 5th, 1959. They purchased a house in the Gold Bar district of Edmonton which they would call this home for the next 56 years.
The first of their three children Marvin arrived in 1960 followed by Lorraine in 1962 and finally Mary-Ann in 1966. Many pets also joined the family over the years.
Alex did whatever it took to provide for his Family. He drove a taxi and worked at a moving company to earn extra money to support his family. Work, family, and home kept Alex very busy, but he still managed to find time to serve in his local community and get to know his neighbours.
These ties served him well as he struggled with severe injuries received during a mugging that occurred in the winter of 1972. With the support of his family, friends, and associates he managed to make a miraculous recovery. He was down but not out.
After his recovery, Alex resumed his life and work. A restructuring plan at C.I.L. enabled Alex to pursue another interest at work. He enrolled in their Millwright Apprenticeship Program from 1981 – 1984. He spent the latter part of his career as a millwright till his retirement in 1989.
Retirement allowed Alex to enjoy the fruits of his labour. He and Catherine traveled to various spots around the world. He saw his children graduate and his daughters marry and reach numerous milestones in their lives. He was always there for his family.
Age and declining health eventually forced Alex and Catherine to make changes in their lives. They sold their home and moved in with their daughter Lorraine and son-in-law Paul in their home for a couple of years.
The death of Catherine in 2017 meant more changes for Alex. He eventually found a new home at the Jubilee Lodge where he enjoyed being visited by friends and family members over his last few years. He enjoyed and appreciated the Staff at the Jubilee Lodge and was loved and well cared for by them right-up until he passed on January 2nd of this year.
During his life Alex demonstrated all the best qualities you would want in a parent. He drove his kids to practices, attended their school plays and helped them with their various projects at home and at school. He supported and encouraged his children on their various endeavors throughout their lives. He was everything a father should be.
To his wife he was a loving husband, to some of you he was your uncle, to others, a friend but to his children he will always be Dad. Just as he signed his greeting cards … AS ALWAYS, LOVE DAD.
Thank-you to all of you who shared in his wonderful life.
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