Anton ‘Tony’ Wenzoski passed away in the Golden Hospital on Tuesday, March 21, at the age of 91.
Tony was born on Nov. 6, 1931 in Beausejour, Manitoba. His parents were Frank Wenzoski of Poland and Pearl Hrabarchuk of Ukraine. In 1954, Tony headed West to B.C. looking for work. One day at Casey’s Store in Golden, he met a young lady called Ethel May Drown, and the story goes, she sold him a bar of soap. Several months of courting followed. They married in 1956 and began their family with Shawna in ‘57, Ricky in ‘59, Robbin in ‘61 and Cheryl in ‘64.
Tony built a lovely home at the base of Selkirk hill. His young family watched the construction of Alexander Park School from across the street. The kids were never late for school!
His work life with the International Union of Operating Engineers began in 1952. Tony was a proud member for 70 years. From operating large machines like D8 Cats and working as a master mechanic, he honed his skills on exciting projects: Dawson & Wade east of Field, Mica Dam and the Connaught Tunnel. He was a good problem solver, analyzing what broke, and how to fix it.
Ethel never had to worry about putting food on her table in the 50’s and 60’s with work for men like Tony, so abundant. When some of Tony’s pipelining jobs took him far away, she ruled the roost in his absences and kept the kids in line with a mean wooden spoon!
Starting in 1967, Tony worked in Iran, Libya, Bahrain and Kuwait, He left snowdrifts in B.C. for sand dunes in the desert. He loved working alongside the Arab people and seeing wildlife such as gazelles racing through the sand. Tony enjoyed writing postcards and sharing his experiences with Ethel and the kids. In 1968, Ethel must have put her foot down, tired of being so far away from Tony, the whole family moved to Malta. The island was a safe haven for Canadian and American families, whose husbands worked in the Middle East. Tony loved to travel, and he forged lifelong friendships with people he met. He bought unique gifts for the family and filled his home with treasures from exotic countries.
Back in Canada, Tony operated T.West Engine Sales, sold gravel, salvaged scrap metal and welded. His love of Cadillacs had earned him the nickname of Cadillac Tony. On special occasions, he would fill his Excalibur with family or friends and go for a cruise. In his later years, Tony kept busy tinkering in his shop, mending watches, was an avid reader and was taken for drives to check up on local job sites.
Tony was predeceased by his parents, his siblings Frances ‘Tex’, Casey, Anne and Victoria, his dear wife Ethel and his grandson Jayson. He is survived by daughters Cheryl and Shawna, sons Rick and Robbin, many grandchildren and some special nieces and nephews. You know who you are.
His family would like to thank Ginny Clark, his doctor of many years, the staff at the Golden Hospital and at Gourlay’s Pharmacy. Special mention to Lew Bergenham, Trent Rivet and Brian Jackson, who took him shopping, packed wood and water, plowed the driveway, delivered books by the boxful and kept him company.
P.S. No doubt Tony still had that bar of soap Ethel sold him in 1955.
A Celebration of life for Tony will be held at the Golden Senior’s Centre on Sunday, April 30th from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.