Biography & Obituary
Peter was born on the farm (26-26-22) on August 18th, 1934,in the village of Gilbert Plains, Manitoba. He atte3endd Deer Park School from grade one to grade eight. After leaving school, he worked for numerous farmers in the Gilbert Plains area before he too, left for the big cit of Winnipeg; there he worked at different jobs till he found his niche in the printing business.
At an early age, Peter showed a talent for music. Dad bought him his first cymbaly, and after a few lessons from a local elderly cymbaly player, his musical career flourished. Peter played with brother Alex at dances and weddings around the districts. When peter was about thirteen years old, he ventured out to ear a few bucks of his own. With this money be bought himself the first transistor radio. He would around the yard, radio in hand, listening to music. Dad, of course, was very perturbed. He just couldn’t see why Peter had spent his money on this “noise” box. Dad changed his mind when he too the “box” with him when he to pasture the cows. He discovered that it was great entertainment when there was nothing else to do.
Peter was a born entertainer. Even in his early days in school, he could capture an audience with his jokes and his tall stories. Even when you were depressed, he could bring you out of your depression with his big grin and his hearty laugh.
In his school days, Peter loved sports he played softball in the summer and football (Soccer) and hockey in the winter. When he was about fifteen years old, the neighbors formed a softball team and invited peter to pitch. They approached Dad, to get his permission for Peter to play. Of Course, Dad was from the old school of thought and refused to allow Peter to play. His reason was that baseball would never bring food to the table. Too bad Dad did not know just how lucrative the baseball business was. Maybe peter could have become a famous baseball player. Later in life, Peter was known as “peanuts” on his baseball team. He hit many home runs. It took a lot of practice and many strikeouts, but he never gave up. Peter’s favorite sport was bowling. For many years, he loved to bowl in tournaments, winning many trophies. He was always ready to share his bowling expertise to anyone who asked, and also to those who did not ask.
To relive stress, Peter took up the game of golf. When he was working, he would go every Sunday morning and play a round of golf with the guys. To add a little spice to the game, Peter would challenge his songs and his nephews to a game of $ per strokes. The boys lost a few bucks in these ventures.
While in Winnipeg, Peter continued t playing the cymbaly. With the help of brother Morris, he received his first break. He was asked to play with Jim Gregorish. For many yeas he played with Jim, until he got his biggest break of all. He was invite to play and record with the legendary Tommy Buick. Now his musical career really blossomed. Peter wrote and sang many of his own songs. The band traveled all around Manitoba, playing at weddings, dances and special performances. Peter entered may cymbaly contest and won many trophies. Hiss most prestigious award was winning the annual Cymbaly Contest in 1972 in Winnipeg. In this contest, Peter played and sang while being blindfolded.
In his short life, Peter lived and breathed music. He loved to entertain audiences with songs, and o course with his endless string of jokes. Give him a topic, and PRESTO he had a joke per say. Peter had a love of children, especially his grandchildren. He enjoyed gathering children around him self and had a rousing sing a long with them. He attracted children like honey attracts bees, always with a smile on his face.
Peter recorded 13 albums during his music career. The are in order:
1. Peter Hnatiuk sings Ukrainian folk & love songs Volume One
2. Peter Hnatiuk sings Ukrainian folk & love songs Volume Two
3. Peter Hnatiuk Sings In Ukrainian 10 Little Bottles
4. Peter Hnatiuk Sings Light Heated Ukrainian Favorites
5. Tommy Buick Goes Ukrainian Western with Peter Hnatiuk
6. “If I Was Prime Minister” by Peter Hnatiuk
7. “Don’t Get Married Song” by Peter Hnatiuk
8. You Gotta Be Kidding? Peter Hnatiuk
9. Hell’s A Poppin’ Peter Hnatiuk
10. Peter Hnatiuk I Wish I Was Single Again
11. Horeevka Peter Hnatiuk
12. The Star Of Ukrainian Comedy Peter Hnatiuk 12 Goofy Ukrainian Hits
13. Peter Hnatiuk Goes To A Live Ukrainian Wedding
Peter Hnatiuk had the three skills for a successful musician. He could play, he could sing, and he could tell the best jokes. Peter’s laugh was unmistakable His first instrument at the early age of 11 or 12 was a gift from his father, a set of cymbaly. Peter looked funny practicing such a large instrument but this did not stop him from mastering it. Peter even developed his own technique of playing and to this day, no one can play cymbaly the same way. During his teen years Peter also mastered playing the guitar.
Peter started his musical career playing with his brother Morris for Jim Gregorish’s band. This band played all around Manitoba province. Someone approached peter from the Tommy Buick band and Peter was asked to join this group. Peter turned professional and recorded five albums with Tommy Buick. Because of Peter’s success with playing and recording with Tommy Buick, this sparked invitations from other bands.
During his professional career, Peter recorded thirteen albums. He also toured Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and fans were thrilled to meet him in person. Peter loved to tour and enjoyed the interaction with a live audience. One of Peter’s highlights was when he was asked to to give a guest performance the “red barn” in Edmonton. In 19990, peter retired from professional recording.
Surrounded by his family, Peter passed away at the hospiltal on December 5, 1994, at the age of 60 years. He lived his life filled with happiness, joy and love for his family and music, bravely until the last minute.
He leaves behind his wife Anne: his children Robert (Valerie) and Mervin (Susan): son in law Lance: grandchildren Michelle and Christopher: as well as many brothers and sisters. Mike, Tom, Alex, Morris, Nick, Harry, Mary, Velma, Olive, Marlene and Elsie: and may other grand children, nieces, nephews and other relatives. His daughter Debbie and brother bill predeceased him.
Peter was born in Gilbert Plains, Manitoba on August 8th, 1934. He met and married Anne Lukianchuk 39 years ago on May 21st, 1955. His love of music blossomed from a guitar to the cymbaly for which he is well known. Thirteen records of joyous lively music filled our hearts with Peter’s love of life.
Prayers were held at 7:oo pm on Friday, December 9th at Glen Eden Funeral Home, 4477 Main Street North. Funeral rite was held at 10:00 am on Saturday, December 10th at Glen Eden Funeral Hoe, with the very Rev, Dmytro Luchak officiating. Interment followed at Glen Eden Memorial gardens. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Canadian Cancer Society, Manitoban Division, 193 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, MB R3C 9Z9.