It is with heavy hearts that the family announces the passing of Michael Ernest Harrison (“Ernie”) on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at the age of 83. A man’s life is defined, to a great extent, by his values and passions. Ernie was a fine husband, awesome Dad, our Mom’s soulmate, a good provider and family man. He lived his life to the fullest and was loved by many - a testament to the values and passions that guided him.
He is lovingly survived by his children, Cynthia (Adam Medrek), Barry (LeeAnn), Brent (Molly), Blaine (Nicole) & Bradley; grandchildren Caitlynne & Matthew Medrek, Brennan Harrison, and Analee & Kristyn Harrison; his brother John (Valerie), brother-in-law, John Boyko, and sister-in-law, Effie Mrozowich, many nieces and nephews and dear friends. Ernie was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Olga (Ollie), his brother, William (Bill, Wasyl), and his parents, Mike & Margaret Harrison.
Ernie was the first-born son of Michael & Margaret Harrison (nee Lylyk), born on December 1, 1934, in Ethelbert, Manitoba. He was christened with his father’s name, Michael, but quickly became known to all as Ernie. Dad was lovingly known to many growing up as “Hombre”, and later on became the “Professor” as well. Dad went to elementary school in South Bay, MB and high school in Fork River, MB where his dad, Mike, opened a hardware store and Texaco gas station in 1944. He was an avid hockey player. He attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, getting his Science Degree, and then attended Teacher’s College, following in his wife Ollie’s footsteps.
He met the love of his life, Ollie, in Fork River at the age of 15. They were on their way to a Midnight Frolic at the Fork River Hall when they noticed Ollie’s brother’s truck in the parking lot. Skipping the dance, they took advantage of the unlocked truck by talking the night away and falling in love. They continued dating throughout University and Teacher’s College, where dad proposed. They were married in 1957 and they lived and taught in Fork River before moving to Dauphin in 1962. They left Dauphin in 1963 and moved to Souris, MB, where Ernie taught for a year, eventually finding their way back to Dauphin in 1964.
Ernie taught high school math and science at Dauphin Collegiate and DRCSS until his retirement. He was well-liked by all his students and always exhibited kindness and patience with them, never hesitating to stay late if a student needed a little extra help.
Growing up, family time meant going to dinner at Baba and Gido’s every Sunday in Fork River, where card playing always ensued, a little “home brew” may have been indulged, and where we caught up with the weekly antics of many relatives. There was never a dully moment in our household!
Around 1972, Mom and Dad purchased a cabin at Hill’s Camp near Waterhen. After that time, our greatest memories came from our summers there. Dad loved to fish and proudly purchased our first boat in 1975. He loved his orange boat and this icon continued to take him out to the Lake Manitoba waters even this past summer. After retirement, Mom and Dad loved to curl, take trips to the U.S. to shop, enjoyed travelling to Hawaii, Mexico and Palm Springs with friends, cruising, and spending time with their grandchildren.
After Mom’s passing, Ernie continued to spend his summers at the lake, enjoying the lake “happy hours” with family and friends. His biggest joy was when we were all together at the cabin as a family enjoying fresh-cooked pickerel and perogies, campfires, music and laughter. He always made each one of us feel special in our own way and we all shared our own little intimacies with him.
Winters brought out the cribbage board and crossword puzzles. He had his special bag of crossword notes and his beat-up 1970’s dictionary and magnifying glass which he kept beside his favorite recliner. He was an avid sports fan of the Blue Jays, Winnipeg Jets and Blue Bombers and supported Dauphin hockey. He enjoyed playing VLT machines and blackjack and going for coffee in the mornings with the retired teachers and K40 friends. He volunteered frequently at church where you could find him on certain Monday mornings either counting offerings or vacuuming.
Ernie was a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection, a past-President of the Kinsmen Club of Dauphin, a member of the K40’s, belonged to the Teacher’s Association of Manitoba and the Knights of Columbus.
Ernie lived an amazing life, which we celebrate. His death promoted a buzz in the air and on social media with people sharing stories about him and enjoying them with smiles, laughter & tears. It is with these stories that we honor him by remembering the great things he did with us and for us.
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight”.
The family would like to thank all of the caring and dedicated staff at the Dauphin and Brandon Palliative Care Units, and the many family and friends who reached out to him and took the time to visit while in their care. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.
Prayers were offered on Monday, October 29, 2018 at 6:30 pm from Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection in Dauphin, MB.
Funeral Liturgy was held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 10:00 am from Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection in Dauphin, MB with Very Rev Father Oleg Bodnarski officiating. Interment followed in Riverside Cemetery in Dauphin, MB. Pallbearers were Matt Medrek, Dale Dilk, Brennan Harrison, Ryan Harrison, Ken Gingera, Danny Harrison.
Cancer Care Manitoba
675 McDermot Ave., Winnipeg, MB MB R3E 0V9