March 20, 1935 - November 1, 2023
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." ~
It is with great sadness and gratitude for his life, that Frank's family announces his passing on November 1, 2023, in Abbotsford, BC at the age of 88 years.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 66 years, Kate (nee Fry). Frank and Kate met at North Toronto Collegiate Institute, where they became high school sweethearts. He gave her an engagement ring as a Christmas gift in 1956, and they were married on March 30, 1957.
Frank will also live on in the hearts of his four children, Ede (Jim), Will (Shauna), Michael and Dave (Kelly); his eight grandchildren, Natasha (Dave), Mark (Jen), Eric (Brittany), Emma (Liam), Luke, Ellen, Jack and Tom; his six great grandchildren, Meghan, Emma, Madison, Braden, Mila and Hudson; and his sister, Olga Pawluk. Frank was predeceased by his daughter-in-law, Sue Deacon, and his brother-in-law, Ted Pawluk.
Frank was born to his Ukrainian immigrant parents, Michael Wawrychuk and Mary Andrusiw, on March 20, 1935, in Thorold, ON. He grew up in Thorold and Toronto, and during his school years he was active in boy scouts, army cadets, and several sports, including basketball, lacrosse, gymnastics, and softball. He maintained a keen interest in sports throughout his life, and he was a dedicated fan of the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The direction for Frank's life was set during the summer of 1953, when he worked on the TransCanada Highway survey crew in the Rockies. By the end of the summer, he had decided to become a civil engineer, and he had developed a love of the mountains.
To pursue his engineering degree, Frank enrolled in the Canadian Army in 1954, which started his 34-year career as a military engineer, with a wide range of interesting assignments.
He was the first Commanding Officer of the Airborne Field Squadron when the Airborne Regiment was formed in 1968, and he became an experienced parachutist. Rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Frank was appointed Commandant of the School of Military Engineering in Chilliwack during 1974 to 1976. Throughout his demanding career commitments, Frank put a high priority on his growing family, organizing countless trips and new experiences.
Frank and Kate became members of the Alpine Club of Canada in 1970, and they made a major contribution to the club as hut custodians in the Rockies for many years. Frank developed his mountaineering skills and knowledge at annual climbing camps.
He was eager to share his passion for the mountains with others, and he brought his expertise to the Chilliwack Outdoor Club starting in 1988. Together, Frank and Kate organized and led climbing and sea kayaking trips for many years, introducing numerous club members to amazing adventures.
Immediate family will gather to celebrate Frank's life. A memorial gathering for other family and friends will be held at a future date.
Memorial donations may be made in Frank's name to Plan International Canada at https://plancanada.ca/en-ca/donate/donate-now, a charity that he and Kate supported for decades, or to Movember Canada, Team Wawrychuk at https://ca.movember.com/team/2318085.