Michael Kiriluk

January 18, 1934 – October 28, 2022

“Gone to the farm”

Mike was the second son of Philip and Nettie Kereliuk. Born January 18th, 1934, on the family farm located just outside of the town of Sundown, Manitoba.

Mike had always spoken fondly about how he first learnt how to whittle, making handles for any broken tools on the farm. At 17 years of age Mike followed in his father’s footsteps and was employed by CNR from 1951 until 1964. Mike repaired and built bridges and worked as a fireman on the pike driving equipment. After an accident in a tunnel, Mike decided to change careers and became a milkman for Co-Op dairies, located on the corner of Higgins and McGregor in Winnipeg. His route was a fair portion of the West End of Winnipeg and consisted of homes, schools, corner grocery stores, businesses, personal care homes, restaurants such as Bar Italia, and The Melting Pot (where his retirement party was held). If Mike had to choose a favourite customer, it would have been the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company on Westminster.

During this time, Mike had never put down his knife. From whittling handles as a young boy he graduated to carving just about any type of wood he could find. Using his imagination and a little bit of humor, he would coax out many types of carvings. When he would find an interesting piece of driftwood, diamond williow or maybe even a 2″ by 4″, he would look it over and then say “What do you see?” His passionate hobby soon evolved into a part time business. Starting at the Museum of Man and Nature he played the part of a cabinet maker in the old town. He surprised a lot of visitors who didn’t expect a person to be sitting up there woodcarving. During the summer his weekends were always busy going to different fairs and markets at various locations such as Dauphin Festival, Lockport, the Forks and Old Market Square. If there was a farmer’s market in Winnipeg, it was almost guaranteed Mike would have his wood carvings displayed. This is when his love for carving was instilled in his son Barry. They enjoyed spending their weekends together at markets in a variety of locations. They were even featured in the Winnipeg Free Press and had a guest appearance on The Uncle Bob show.

In the early 80’s Mike and his three brothers, Paul, Tony and Phil decided to turn their beloved family farm into a Christmas tree farm, and named it the 4 – K’s Christmas Trees.  Every Friday afternoon, Mike would pack up a ring of kubasa, loaf of rye bread, a jar of mustard and of course a 24 of OV. If anybody asked, he was gone to the farm.

The farm was a wonderful gathering place on the weekends with family, friends and neighbors having bonfires, fun and laughter.  Many treasured memories.

Mike absolutely loved his newest pastime and would spend as much time as he could planting and pruning the trees during the summer while the winter would be harvest time. In December, Mike would set up the Scotch pines for sale in the backyard of his home. The backyard was then transformed into an enchanted forest. One Christmas season he was first to register for a license to sell trees, and this prompted a CBC camera crew to show up to do a featured piece.

Mike was a people person and truly enjoyed meeting new people. Whether it was meeting on a dairy delivery, or if you happened to stop at his woodcarving display or perhaps you bought your Christmas tree from him, he always had time to say hello.

In 1996 when his son, Barry, required full time care due to health issues, Mike made the decision to retire. Father and son were constant companions until Barry passed away August 31st, 2022. After Barry passed, Mike spent his remaining time at Holy Family personal care home. Even though he was only there for a short time, he was given the best care. We are forever grateful to the staff at Holy Family and especially to the 5th floor healthcare workers who contributed to his care.

Barry had made a promise that he would be waiting for Dad at the farm. I know that’s where their journey will continue on.

A Celebration of Life in Mike’s memory will be held at a later date.

Friends and family are invited to share condolences and memories on Michael’s memorial page by using the comment field below.

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(Gene) Barry Kiriluk

July 14 1964 – August 31st 2022

In Barry’s lifetime he inspired so many people. He was a role model and encouraged others to better themselves. No one could ever compare to the strength and fight that he had. September would have marked 30 years that he was on dialysis. After 10 years of dialysis at St Boniface Hospital he was one of the first patients to dialyze at the Seven Oaks General Hospital. 

Before Barry got sick he got his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg. He got his realtor licence and also worked at the Superstore on Gateway and McLeod. 

By the time Barry was 28 his kidneys were failing and he had to start dialysis. In a way being on dialysis had saved Barry. He started taking care of his diabetes and looking after his blood sugar. He listened to his care providers so he could find ways to feel better and make treatments easier. Barry participated in the cycling on dialysis program everyday and was always listening to music while being dialyzed. 

Barry moved back in with family at that point to get a handle on his health. Barry and his father Mike had always had a close relationship but from then on him and Mike were inseparable. Mike was the one who drove him to dialysis. On Barry’s days off they would go sit in Kildonan Park where Mike would make wood carvings and Barry enjoyed the outdoors. 

There is a special place in Mike and Barry’s hearts for the family tree farm in Sundown, Manitoba. Barry has fond memories going there and helping his father. 

Barry and Mike went on so many adventures in their youth. From selling Christmas trees that were grown on the family farm in Sundown to travelling with the Manitoba Museum. Mike and Barry often had a table at farmers markets at the Forks or in the Exchange District. Mike would sell his wood carvings and Barry sold his soap stone carvings. 

Barry was determined to not be in a wheelchair. As quickly as he was able to, he was in prosthetics. Barry got his first “tattoo” of his favourite band Grateful Dead on his prosthetic leg and loved choosing different band stickers when it came time for a new prosthetic. 

He had a genuine smile and infectious laugh. He loved watching hockey, even being a Flyers fan. The Sopranos and The Simpson’s were always on. But most of all he loved his Christmas movies. Quotes from A Christmas Movie and Bad Santa were heard year round. Barry had a wicked sense of humour. He always had a joke about his legs being amputated. 

He loved his “special” baking that his niece would make him. It was the only thing that really helped with the pain he had. He often said “it was a wonderful thing” 

Barry had an amazing group of life long friends and they were always on some sort of adventure, especially in his prized Dodge Duster. Barry loved to buy fireworks for his niece and he loved his music.

Thank you to the countless doctors, nurses, support staff, dialysis staff at seven oaks and anyone else he encountered. He had such a sincere appreciation for everyone in the medical community who had helped him along the way. 

To the staff at the palliative care unit at Riverview, our family is appreciative of the care he received. Although he was only there briefly, he passed with his huge trademark smile. You made his final moments peaceful and our family is forever grateful for that. 

In lieu of flowers a donation can be made in Barry’s honour to the Kidney Foundation.     Most of all, he wouldn’t want any one to be sad about his passing, just remember that smile.

Family and friends are invited to share memories and condolences on Barry’s memorial page by using the comment field below.

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