January 12, 1956 – November 24, 2021
Ed was predeceased by his parents; Adrian & Katarina Swart, his brother John, brother in law, Marvin Matusiak and mother in law, Leyta Ryan.
He will be very much missed by his wife Denise, son Matthew and daughter Hollie Bieber (Allan), along with his brother Paul and wife Terry, Adrienne & Patrick, Leo and Anthony Careen, Philip & Christina, Christian, Anna and Mary Swart, Shirley & Keith Scott, Darcy Swart, Brienna Swart & Alexis Reeve, Erika & Ryan and Nora Preston, Annie Matusiak, Zenon & Carissa Matusiak, Nicholas Matusiak, Stephen Matusiak & Katie MacDonald and Charlie Matusiak and brother in law Patrick Ryan. As per Ed’s request a private Mass is being held on Dec. 4/21.
Remember how you first started writing to me at the farm in Sask. during the summer? I think it was when we started dating back in grade 8. I thought it was fitting for me to write this last letter, that’s all about your life, directly to you.
We were married for 39 years and throughout that time our home had love, joy, laughter, tolerance, patience, forgiveness, along with some anger and also yelling. We spent a portion of our marriage apart and perhaps that’s why we managed to be married so long. Now though, when I look back on our life and you’re no longer here with me, I realize how much you really meant to me and to our family and how much you gave of yourself.
When I sat beside your hospital bed at the Grace I played back in my mind our life together.
You truly were the Big Guy – bigger than life. Loud, boisterous, excitable and of course a charmer with that big warm smile of yours. You would give me that big smile and your eyes would light up and in turn I think that made mine do the same.
You recanted last week to me on how you fell in love with me in our homeroom, the first day of school back in grade 7. You said I had on a black jumper dress with a white shirt and I sat in the front row and did the bible reading for the class. Bet there aren’t many gals that can say a fella fell in love with them when they were reading the bible. As I typed that a memory just popped into my head. You used to ride the bus to St. Mary’s Cathedral and sit in the pews on the balcony level that looked over to the pews below. After we had started dating you told me about doing this and how you watched me in Mass. I think of that now and think how sweet but back then I thought it was a bit creepy.
Then I remembered how you would take the bus to pick me up from work at Salisbury House in Chateau 100 on Donald. I would come out smelling like burgers and the onions you hated so much. Didn’t bother you a bit and I suppose that’s a sign of true love. You were the only person I knew who could detect a dehydrated onion, even the most miniscule one.
That memory led me to your Mother’s amazing cooking and how she always made versions of everything for you. Eddy, you always had your own plate of your favourite rouladen and anything else that would have onions in it. Your Mom always ensured that you never lacked for her delicious cooking.
That memory led me to the first time I met your whole family. It was at your parent’s apartment and was after we had started dating again when you had moved back to Wpg.
There was a crew – Paul & Terry, John & Shirley, your Mom & Pap and of course us.
Seemed like everyone talked at once and I recall listening to your Mom and was amazed at how she could speak about so many things all at once. I had a zillion questions but didn’t ever have the opportunity to ask them. It certainly was not a boring dinner and was a very good introduction into your lively family.
Then came the memory of Name That Tune. Being at Paul & Terry’s and Paul started playing cuts of albums while everyone shouted out what the song was. I remember feeling a bit dumbfounded. Listening to music had not been a big part of my life growing up. Your family, though, embraced music and you knew all the lyrics to every song you owned. If I recall at last count you had 6 full milk crates of albums, plus the huge assortment of cassettes at the lake and then there’s all of the CD’s.
As you listened to music you also sang it and you had a really good voice. Since you’ve been gone I hear your rendition of Benny & The Jets playing off and on in my head. You weren’t a big Elton John fan, but boy did you belt out that song and quite frankly way better than Elton! You passed on that love of music to our kids and I love that they love our music too!
That memory led to you walking down the beach at Lester with our boombox playing in the kids’ Little Tyke wagon. Someone dubbed you the Music Man and you always were part of the beach entertainment. People would sit closer to take advantage of your selection. There definitely would have been some Beatles, Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Circle Jerks, Beach Boys, and others. Thankfully you kept the lake music light or else you had to listen to my wrath. You knew I wasn’t a fan of your full repertoire. Inside the wagon was also your beloved frisbee. Normally tucked under your arm or else under your seat in the Van. Your frizzbee was never far away from you and ever ready for a quick game absolutely anywhere; airports, streets, large rooms, big open parks, anywhere where there was air, you could make room and time for a game of frizz.
Thinking of the beach I recalled then how back on Father’s Day in 1991 we were staying with Rick and Charlene at their cottage in Lester Beach. We went for a walk with Matt in his stroller that day down Lester Blvd., farther than we had ever walked before. We passed the Creek and saw a for sale sign just after it. Remember how we started talking about cottages and I said why not just call the agent and take a look. I was about 4 months pregnant with Hollie and we had taken Matt with us to view the property. Then later that day, calling Mom asking her if she would like to go in on it and the next day we signed the contract.
We have so many good times and memories from Lester.
Mom spent her summers down there when she retired and our kids were lucky enough to be beach bums with her. We would go down on weekends and you would spend a good portion of it working, always repairing or building something. We always knew where you were though Eddy. We could either follow the music or else your booming voice. It was rarely quiet if you were around. We also knew when a certain time of day was, your call of “It’s Sunset” would ring out and we knew to head to the beach.
Memories of Oma enjoying the pool and lake with the kids and being away from the city.
Spending weekends in the winter there with friends and family. Playing outside in the snow and then warming up by the fire inside. The endless games and stories on rainy days. Your maniac fires out in the breezeway, roasting marshmallows and smores. Games of Bocce, man-made whirlpools, running, round and round in the pool. Rousing crazy ping pong games in the garage.
Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, Moms & friends all at different times and together filling our cottage with laughter and love. We were really, really lucky Eddy.
Remember buying our first house on Sprague Street in ’82 and you moving in a couple months before we married? You took a leave of absence and went to RRCC and took your photography course. You really did have a talent you know and could have easily made that your profession. You wanted more for our future though, so you went back to the CPR and I think you were a Conductor then and not long after became an Engineer just before we bought our house on Portage in 1984. We had so much fun there. In the winter you built your famous Luge run down to the river. So many fun toboggan parties and frizz in that backyard!
Then I remembered all the other different hats you wore. You didn’t play many sports as you pretty much always had a job after school. You worked in shipping/receiving at the Bay downtown and then became the supervisor. After Gordon Bell you started working for CPR, joining Johnny, who also worked there. First you were a Brakeman, then Conductor and finally Engineer. The travelling of an Engineer, being on call 24/7 and never knowing how long you could be gone was hard when raising a family. So, you joined my sales agency Ryan-Swart Sales in the Cosmetics Industry. We quickly found out that you were absolutely made to sell. You had the gift of the gab and mostly everyone absolutely loved you and were quite happy to see you coming through the door in place of me. When I stepped away to have the kids you took the Agency over and you grew it to be very successful far more than I ever had or could. You picked up several companies and grew their products while travelling Manitoba and North Western ON. You loved the Chrysler Magic Wagon for your transportation and have never owned anything else since 1983 when they first came to Canada. You were proud to call yourself a Bagman and as a road warrior you determinedly flogged the products you represented.
You took on Del Labs and could talk endlessly to anyone about Nail Polish, Nail Treatment, Skin Bleaches and Depilatories. With Del Pharmaceutics you talked to people about their toothaches and the merits of Orajel. When you sold Bibicure, another wax depilatory line, you allowed the Beauty Advisors to use you for training. You would roll up your pant leg and let them smear wax on your hairy legs and then rip it off. You had the smoothest calves around!
I remember how sometimes people would stare at you with your bright red earlobes that were sometimes sporting stud earrings. This was long before it was fashionable for males to wear earrings, but you were the Beauty Advisors’ pin cushion as they trained on how to pierce ears with the Inverness Ear Piercing Gun. You were also happy to pierce any friend or family member who wanted to. With Tweezerman you talked about Nail Implements and all the different types you might need, or which tweezer would be best depending on the use and type of hair.
While with Prestilux, you became an expert on imported Fragrance & Skin Care, enthusiastically talking about fragrance notes and dry time. One of the best business decisions you made was to hire Karen. First as your Fragrance Demo, and she made those beautiful baskets for your Department Stores. Thankfully you made her your Sales Rep. and she was able to step in and take over for you while you battled for your life later in 2005.
You sold for Suntech and became an expert on Sunglasses and Reading Glasses.
Then you took on FishGillz Sunglasses and was ecstatic about how they would float if they fell off or went overboard. No more losing your glasses in the lake, the best feature ever!!!
During your sales career we had Matt & Hollie. They truly were your joy in life and the main reason you worked so hard. You always wanted the best for them and throughout your life you put your family first. Not sure I ever told you how much I appreciated it, but I really did Eddy. Your support and loyalty to your family knew no bounds and you never failed us.
Then the memories of your illness. The phone call when I was sitting on the plane leaving for Toronto in Jan. 2005 and you confirmed the Dr.had diagnosed you with colon cancer and they had slotted your surgery for the end of the month. The relief when all was over, and you made it through and later confirmation that they got all the cancer. You decided to have the chemo just to be sure and then having it cause where your surgery was to rupture, and you went into a severe sepsis state.
Then the operations to repair you. Cutting and grafting your colon together and cleaning up the dead areas, in the process removing parts that help your body absorb vitamins and nutrition. Remembering how then, I thought it may be the 2nd time we could lose you. Your long stay afterwards in the hospital from April 2005 till you walked out 5 months later in August. When you first came home you were no longer the Big Guy, more like the little Stooped One. You still had a hole in your stomach and went back later in December for Dr. Lee to pull your stomach together and stitch it up. You never once complained about any of the things that you endured, and you never allowed me to be your nursemaid, always caring for yourself. While your body would never become the size it was, everything else about you was still bigger than life. You made a miraculous recovery. Certainly, I give credit to Dr. Lee, but more than that I give credit to your positive attitude and the prayers that carried you throughout that time from friends and family.
Then you decided to make a career change and took on the Distributorship of MRLAMPSHOPS for Western Canada. You were very busy, setting up the retail shop on Portage as well as getting the warehouse established. You became an expert on Jigsaw Lamps and installing them in various places and events. While you never mastered all of the lamp making techniques you certainly could talk at length on their merits. Working different Shows, you were in your element talking and selling your products. After 5 years when your contract expired, you decided to make another career change.
You became a Handyman. Many would say a home renovator though, as you rarely said no and took on many different types of jobs. Working on roof tops, in attics, gutting bathrooms, kitchens and then rebuilding them. Insulating basements, ripping out sidewalks and re-pouring them. You were an expert at drywall and painting and could literally do it with your eyes closed. You shored up walls and basements, pruned trees and built fences. Way too many jobs for me even to recall Eddy. Of all of your careers this truly was your favourite. You got great satisfaction in helping people and many times you went out of your way to do extra things for your customers. They already miss you Eddy, and many have told me how they are wishing you the best on your new journey.
I remember when they diagnosed you with skin cancer on the top of your ear and prayed that they would not need to remove it all. You came back with the top portion gone but were very happy your glasses still sat good on your ear and only the top area was gone. From then on, your pet (hat) became an everyday accessory.
As time went on especially in this last year your body started to let you down and you could not keep up your nonstop pace. Not being able to gain weight was probably your worst enemy. At 6’1” and 132 lbs a strong wind could have probably blown you over. I know how frustrating you found it. Your mind was willing, but your body said – “Don’t think so.” Then your voice disappeared, and you could only whisper. Around the same time, you found the lump under your arm. Everything seemed to spiral after that Eddy.
Dropping you at Emergency on Nov. 12th. Your being admitted and then confirmation that the Monster was back, and that cancer had taken hold of your body and you would probably be gone by Christmas. Receiving radiation treatment to help you speak. After your final fifth treatment you had the widest grin you’ve ever had when you told me they let you ring the bell. You still could only speak in a whisper but the swelling in areas of your body went down, your colour became normal and you no longer needed oxygen. Things seemed better. Then the biopsy and the 2 weeks wait. Getting ready to bring you home while we waited for it. Confirmation that a bed and wheelchair would be delivered and right after, a call from the Dr. that you weren’t well, and we should come to the hospital right away. The kids and I spent time with you and once your pain was under control you were able to visit with us and listen to the Beatles. You even did some computer work with Matt. Truly amazing. By 9:00 the pain medication pretty much took over and I sat with you while you seemed to be sleeping.
We’ve had so many blessings, while you’ve been in the hospital Eddy, and you mentioned all of them to me. You were so happy to be able to Zoom with all your family from Canada & Germany and you were able to talk to all of them using my voice. You were very grateful to all of the hospital staff and you shocked me when you said the food had improved a lot at Chateau Grace since you checked in there, back in 2005. You even went so far as to say you would even pay for it in a restaurant! Matthew, Hollie and I were able to spend time with you in the hospital and you and I loved our time reliving happy memories together.
For me your attitude was truly the biggest blessing. Every day you said more than once “I’m the luckiest guy in the world”, harkening back to when you beat the monster back in 2005.
Then you would usually follow that with your one liner “Life is Grand.”
I’m glad that you didn’t hang around Eddy. It wasn’t long after I told you to get going and that John was waiting for you, probably saying “What the heck is taking him so long!”
You took your last breath at 3:00am on 11/24. I wonder what it’s like where you are. I believe much better and that you’re exactly where you are supposed to be. It saddens me to know that you won’t be here to be part of our kids’ lives as they grow into even more amazing individuals. I know though that you’re able to help them do that and that you’ll always be there for them.
Love you Eddy,