Richard ‘Rick’ Stephen Wayne Bodnaruk
After a life well-lived, Richard ‘Rick’ Stephen Wayne Bodnaruk passed away peacefully on August 28, 2021 in Chatham, Ontario. He had celebrated his 80th birthday in June.
Best friend, sweetheart and beloved husband for 53 years of Antja (Crichton), loving father of Candice (Larry Sutherland), Warren (Giselle Smejda), and proud grandfather of Clara, Margot and Ryan. He is also survived by his cousins Bev, Effie, Michael (Felice), brother in-law Jim (Crichton) and sister in-laws Faith (Crichton) and Kathy (Belanger). Rick was predeceased by his parents Tillie (Dowdy) and Stephen Bodnaruk, and in-laws, Elsa (Kruse) and James Crichton.
Rick was born on June 27, 1941 in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. He grew up on Island Park where his parents owned the Wallace Tree Nurseries, and he attended the Portage Collegiate Institute where he received the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship for top student. He excelled in math and sciences, and was a talented athlete with a love for football, curling, baseball and hockey. Rick studied chemical engineering at the University of Saskatchewan before beginning a life-long career in the pulp and paper industry, which he loved. While working in Red Rock, Ontario he met the love of his life, Antja, who was working as a waitress to pay for teacher’s college. It was a mishap involving a runaway meatball that brought them together—Antja offered to pay for his dry-cleaning, and the rest is history.
They went on to raise their growing family in Fort Frances, Ontario along the edge of Rainy Lake. Rick was a hands-on dad and his children, Candice and Warren, will always be grateful for the loving support he gave to all of their life endeavours. Rick loved travelling (and good food) and took the family on many adventures throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.
Upon retirement, Rick and Antja renovated a Victorian mansion in Chatham, which would become their new home and the award-winning Duchess of Wellington Bed & Breakfast. While in Chatham, Rick also dedicated his time and energy to supporting the community through his work with the Rotary Club of Chatham, where he was a valued member and a former President.
A quietly heroic man, he was devoted to his family, profession, and community. He will be missed by all who knew him for his quick wit, quirky humour, lifelong love of learning and culture, unwavering optimism, and endless generosity, kindness and love.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Rick’s honour to the Rotary Club International or to the Rotary Club of Chatham. The family also wishes to express its gratitude to the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff at the London Health Sciences Centre and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. A private Celebration of Life with family and friends will occur on September 11, 2021. Link for Live Stream -> HERE