‘Mr. Progress’ leaves his mark

It was more than Bairy Marchuk's 37 years with the Chilliwack Progress that earned him the nickname 'Mr. Progress.'

Bairy Marchuk

Bairy Marchuk

His smile would light up a room. Quick with a joke, and always a twinkle in his eye, Bairy Marchuk was an integral part of the Chilliwack Progress family for nearly four decades.

Sadly, Bairy passed away last week. He was 64.

For those who knew him and worked with him, his passing leaves a hole that won’t soon be filled.

It wasn’t the 37 years he spent working at the paper that earned him the nickname “Mr. Progress.” It was his commitment to his clients and his willingness to listen and to learn.

He built relationships with customers who would soon become friends. In fact, says Progress ad manager Chris Franklin, some of his clients today are the children of clients he always had time for in the past.

But it was his sense of humour that most people talk about.

“He was always a total people person who had to talk to everyone he came across,” says Maureen Tempel, who worked with him in the same department for years. “He loved to tease people, but he could always take a joke as well, in fact, he welcomed it.”

Maureen remembers one time when a client came in to see Bairy, who wasn’t there at the time. He left his name which Maureen and a colleague promptly forgot. Their solution was to draw a picture of the man and attach it to sticky note on his desk.

“Bairy laughed hysterically even though he was a little upset that he didn’t know who had come to see him!” she says. “He thought it was so funny that he kept the note all these years and brought out every now and then for a laugh.”

Bairy did have his serious side, particularly in his expectations of others, remembers Sharon Harmsen. But he always had time to laugh. “He made the office fun,” she says. “More offices need fun!”

Bev Bilski worked with Bairy for 24 years. “You cannot think about Bairy without a smile,” she says.

“I miss the twinkle in his eye… especially when he was up to no good; that grin of his that was so contagious.”

He also earned the nickname “Care Bear” for the concern he showed for others.

“Bairy was our confidant, and most of all our comrade,” says Bev.

The admiration and appreciation is not only held by Bairy’s colleagues at The Progress.

Since news of his passing was posted on The Progress’ Facebook page, the words of kindness and acclaim have poured in.

“Always had time for a chat when he came in for business,” writes one. “Always asked about my family and gave me updates on his son’s family. He was a proud father and grandfather.”

Writes another: “Truly a great man taken much too soon. Have known Bairy for 30+ years and he will be missed by all he came in contact.”

In all, there are nearly 170 comments on the page, written by friends, clients, or people who bumped into him in the local grocery store.

“Bairy was one incredibly positive man who always made me feel better just being around him,” reads another post. “He has left a legacy in our community of how a smile and a sense of humour can lighten the heart and touch a person profoundly.”

• A celebration of life for Bairy will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 9201 Corbould St.

The Progress office will be closed Monday afternoon.

Just Posted

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read