BILL WOLOSHYN INTERLAKE POLKA KINGS 1933 – 2009
It is with great sorrow that the family announces the passing of William (Bill) Woloshyn at the age of 75 years on August 3, 2009 at the Percy E Moore Hospital in Hodgson MB, one day prior to his 76th birthday. He leaves to mourn his loving wife Mary Woloshyn (nee Stefanec) of 58 years; daughters Tina Bazilewich (Henry) of Winnipeg, MB, Angela Anderson (Kevin) of St. Clements, MB and Kathy Woloshyn of Winnipeg, MB; sons Peter Woloshyn (Pauline) of Edmonton, AB, Carl Woloshyn (Shelley) of Stonewall, MB and Lee Woloshyn (Krystal) of Fisher Branch, MB. Also leaving to mourn are his sister Gladys Grodecki of Saskatoon, SK, and stepbrother Gordon Slobidnyk (Pat) of Winnipeg, MB, and sisters-in-law Anne Kalyta and Pearl Chuba of Fisher Branch, MB. Bill was predeceased by his sister Lillian (nee Small), father Peter Woloshyn, mother Pearl Woloshyn (Slobidnyk) and stepfather John Slobidnyk. He also leaves behind his grandchildren Tannis, Charles, Reece, Kelly, Holly, Daniel, Christa and Gayle, as well as his great-grandchildren Owen, Cody, Alex, and Madisson. Bill was born in Fisher Branch, Manitoba on August 4, 1933 to Peter and Pearl Woloshyn. He worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Silverline Manufacturing and Arnett and Quest Industries. He was also employed by the City of Winnipeg (St. James) as an equipment operator and foreman. In 1977 he accepted a position with the Provincial Department of Highways as a grader operator in Fisher Branch which allowed him an opportunity to return to one of his main loves … the farm. After returning to Fisher Branch, Bill and Mary spent their lives living on the family farm. Bill had a passion for farming. He loved to be out working the field. He continued to build upon his love of farming and cattle until his passing. Bill’s other great passion was playing the accordion. He had a unique style that no one could compare. He began playing at age 12 and continued to play for events, family and friends throughout his illness. He loved to watch the crowd dance to the music he played. He held a soft spot for people in personal care homes and enjoyed entertaining them. In 1964, together with his wife Mary, he founded the Interlake Polka Kings and became legendary for his grass roots Ukrainian music. Their songs were about the common working man; all of them striking a note with people who work for a living. The songs injected humour into the lives of people who farmed, worked hard, believed in the future, had faith in their abilities and an undying belief that even if things were rough … next year would be better . Bill respected the honesty and hard working quality in people… and people could feel that in his music. The band members changed over the years but the spirit of the music always remained. Bill loved to talk to people and had a good sense of humour. He never entered a room quietly and always managed to break the silence with a comment or joke that made people smile or laugh. He had a positive outlook and even when things were difficult he always believed they would get better. He had boundless energy and there were never enough hours in the day for him to accomplish the things he wanted to do, a reflection of the strong work ethic he instilled in his children and grandchildren. He had incredible patience and never complained despite the many challenges he faced with his health in the past year. Funeral Services will be held on Monday, August 10, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Fisher Branch, Manitoba. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cancer Care Manitoba, 675 McDermot Avenue. The family would like to thank the doctors and wonderful nursing staff from Percy E. Moore Hospital for their care. Also a special thank you to Donna Lindal and Fisher Branch Home Care for all of their support. You were a pillar of strength. We will miss you more than words can say. God saw you getting tired When a cure was not to be So He put his arms around you And whispered come to me. What you suffered you told but few You didn’t deserve what you went through And when we saw you sleeping So peaceful and free from pain We could not wish you back To suffer that again …. Vichnaya Pam’yat Arborg (MacKenzie) Funeral Home in care of arrangements.
At 14 years of age, Bill started playing the accordion that his dad bought for him. Although Bill took some lessons from a local school teacher, he pretty much was self taught.
Some time in the late 1940's, Bill, along with Mary, His girlfriend at the time, played at their first job in Dallas, Manitoba, arriving on a tractor in the midst of a cold winter night.
In 1952, while living in Winnipeg, Bill, joined Jim Gregrash's band, playing together for many years, until Bill formed his very first band called "the Metro Playboys". while Mary, now his wife, became a home maker, although she continued playing guitar, writing and translating songs.
In the years to follow, Bill formed a new band and "the Interlake Polka Kings" were born, along with Bill & mary, was Dennis Nykoliaion, John Yaworski and Matt Kuch.
The Name Interlake Polka Kings was becoming synonymous with every Ukrainian family and they song began recording albums and touring in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, to sold out events.
In later years, their children, Peter, Carl, Cathy and Angela continued entertaining many stage shows.
The Ukrainian Musicians Association, represented the "Interlake Polka Kings with the Honorable Achievement Award as as te the Golden Achievement Award for their dedication and contribution to Ukrainian Music, well known as ambassadors of Ukrainian Music, with countless recordings, radio and TV appearances and true Legends of Ukrainian Music.