Carl Kolonsky

March 18, 1925 – November 22, 2021
Born in Garson, Ontario, His father and mother were born in Horedenka of Ukrainian heritage which was under Polish rule at the time. Carl was the youngest in a family of five children with sisters Annie, Stella and Mary. His brother Walter was 17 years older than Carl and was his father figure. The family was not well off. As a boy, Carl trapped rabbits, for sale to a bootlegger, so he could buy a hamburger or whatever.
In his summer months, at the age of 13, Carl started working for a fellow called Knut Cryderman who had the smallest registered steam boat in Canada. The SS Ramona worked out of Bolands Bay and plied the waters of Lake Wanapitei. This was a great time in Dad’s life. Stories were told of quite a few well-known people who travelled on her, which included world champion boxer Max Schmeling and his equally-famous movie star girlfriends of the time, who showed up to visit Max on occasion. Dad was given gifts to keep this secret.
Garson, a mining community, was a varied multicultural community where people had to look after each other in the depression years. Carl had a moralistic sense of values which he later passed on to his sons, including his views on prejudice.
“There are only two types of people in the world,” he would say. “The majority are good people. Try to associate with them.
“The minority are ‘A-holes’. They come in all colors, religions and sexes. Stay away from them if you can and try to defend any persons that are being picked on; by the ‘A-holes.'”
At the age of 19 Carl served his country in World War 2, without the benefit of basic training. (That’s another story). Dad was sent to Europe and met a young Queen to be. Carl took part in Operation Market Garden, the big push to try to cross the major transportation bridge into the city of Arnhem, Holland.
He saw action in that area as well as in the area of the city of Nijmegen with the regiment. He pushed past his strong belief as a Christian “Thou shalt not kill” and served with honour. His nightmares and stories reminded his family of his sacrifice. As part of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Regiment, Carl stayed in Holland and Germany with the occupational forces.
Liberation of Holland May 5 -1945 – Carl was nominated by the Dutch and Veterans Affairs Canada to travel to Holland for two previous anniversary commemorations but was unable to attend either. He was looking forward to attending a grand celebration of the 75th anniversary in May 2020, as a special guest of the Dutch people, but plans were cancelled along with so many other events when the pandemic hit. Dad was extremely disappointed, and vowed to return to these special people before he died.
In June of 2020, Carl was a patient at the Campbell River Hospital after a fall, when the Government of Canada issued him a Certificate of Recognition “as a tribute to your selfless acts of service and sacrifice during the Second World War, in defence of Canada and our shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.” Hospital staff of Dutch backgrounds gathered to deliver the certificate and their thanks to Carl in an emotionally-charged bedside presentation.
The family will travel to Holland on Dad’s behalf, when it is safe. They will also fulfill a promise by Carl to repatriate a very special medal back to the Netherlands.
Carl met his wife Elsie Mokomela in Port Arthur, Ontario. They were married May 17, 1947. She celebrated her Ukrainian heritage. A great cook and an accomplished musician, Elsie played many instruments and donated her time and talent to many charitable causes in the community. Carl and Elsie loved to travel and raised two sons, Don and Darryl. Mom passed in 2000.
In 1952 Carl moved to the small pulp town of Marathon, Ontario where he worked as a carpenter and became an internationally-known hunting and fishing guide. Ripley’s Believe it or Not, called Carl ‘a modern Davy Crockett’, with stories in magazines such as, “Outdoor Life”, who made it clear that his guests must pack out the whole animal (not just the trophy rack) and garbage was never left in the bush. The meat was divided among the community.
Besides many trophy fish, Carl won a bet against his volunteer firefighter comrades. The bet was that from one rock, in four casts with four different lures, he could catch four different fish. The first two were expected, while the third-cast fish was a remote possibility. Carl almost fell into the frigid waters of Lake Superior when he shocked himself and landed the fourth fish and won the boozy bet.
In 1965 Carl moved the family to Campbell River, in part because of the coastal building boom and in part leaving behind the pressure of being a whistle blower in northwestern Ontario. Carl had shouted many times that the mercury and chemicals from the pulp mills were killing the lake trout and the aquatic life in Lake Superior, not the lamprey eels. This did not make Dad popular with big business. He has since been vindicated for his strong environmental stance. Also, he said, “I wanted to get as far away from the snow so I wouldn’t have to shovel it, and that was Vancouver Island.”
Campbell River was a dream, fresh water and salt water fishing. Summers were spent camped on Upper Campbell Lake a short distance from our home..
Living 52 years on park-like rural acreage reflected his passion for the outdoors with many nut and fruit trees and seven varieties of grapes. He was famous for his wine, made from his fruit and grapes and rhubarb. His healthy appetite was legendary but his extensive rhubarb garden was always his health staple.
Carl’s generous donation established a permanent 33-acre park by McIver Lake for the people of Campbell River. It is presently the Campbell River Equestrian Center. He was also instrumental in helping the City to acquire the crematory close by.
Carl was never one to give in without a fight. When the City failed to adequately act on his complaints about noise bylaw violations from a nearby scrap metal operation, Carl made his point by storming City Hall armed with an air horn in each hand, literally blasting the local bureaucrats from their offices.
Dad joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 1952. He was proud to carry the Canadian flag in the award-winning Branch #137 Colour Party. He was a Lifetime member of the Italian and Ukrainian Clubs.
The family would like to thank Dr. Sutherland, Alder Medical, CR Hospital and all the Support Staff who make it all work. Thank you for the many many, years of care for Carl and our family. Thank you to the Home Care workers who made Dad and our home comfortable. You are amazing people to do what you do. You are all the best.
Carl will be missed by his two sons Don (Wendy Jacques) and their extended family’s, Darryl (Wendy) Kolonsky, Carl’s grandchildren Oriana and Markian, the many nieces and nephews, long-time close friend Genevieve, and other friends local and abroad.
A Last Post Poppy Ceremony and Celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Carl had a full life.—–The last of his generation.——– Immortality is to be Remembered.—— Lest We Forget
 Piercy’s Mt. Washington

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