Mary Douhaniuk – August 7, 1939 to Feb 19, 2002
“She loved the north and the people there,” recalls Bill Douhaniuk of his sister, Mary, who died at age 62 in Salmon Arm after spending a lifetime as a public health nurse in Canada’s north country and other isolated areas working with indigenous people.
In her memory and with her blessing, Bill presented Shuswap Community Foundation with $70,000 to establish a permanent endowment fund. He says that it was her wish that the income from the fund go towards: health equipment and training; programs involving social justice; support for arts and culture; and projects that contribute to the well-being of residents of the Shuswap.
Mary was born at Killaly, Saskatchewan, graduating from the high school there before entering nurse’s training at the Regina Grey Nuns Hospital. Her nursing career began in 1961 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Melville, Saskatchewan, and continued to include Public Health duties in Humboldt, La Ronge, Fort Smith, Port Simpson and Massett in the Queen Charlotte Islands.
In the mid-1970’s illness and convalescence intervened, and Mary took some time out. Later in the 1970’s, she was posted at God’s Lake, Manitoba, and other stints on reserves around the Calgary area and Deschambault Lake, Saskatchewan. By the late 1970’s, Mary was posted to Moosonee Outpost Hospital at James Bay and later to the Eastern and high arctic. By the late 70’s and early 80’s she had worked at some six Inuit communities.
She finished her active career serving native reserves in Spiritwood, Saskatchewan.
Bill says his sister also loved to travel and took time out over the years to cruise to New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines and Hong Kong and later took her mother and sister Betty to Victoria, BC. In 1987 she toured Austria, Germany and Hungary. In 1999, a year after her retirement, she moved to Salmon Arm and enjoyed watching Bill with his new nursery in the Salmon River valley opposite Mt. Ida. Following her death, Bill named a series of small ponds he had setup to drain some of his land with the names of the places she had worked.
A travelogue of one woman’s career: La Ronge, St. Francis, Great Bear, Fort Franklin, Sandy Bay, Deschambault Lake, God’s Lake, Sarcee, Rankin Inlet, Frobisher, Albany River (James Bay), Igoolik, Woolaston, Southend Reindeer, Spiritwood, Chitek Lake, Witchekan Lake, Pelican Lake/Big River. Bill says she also loved music and was a fan of Salmon Arm’s Roots & Blues Festival. Mary was interred in the Mariahilf Cemetery in Saskatchewan.
William (Bill) Douhaniuk – June 18, 2015
William (Bill) Douhaniuk passed away June 18th, 2015 following a motor vehicle accident in the Melville area of Saskatchewan.
He was born on December 3, 1931 to Jacob and Johanna Douhaniuk in the Mariahilf District of Saskatchewan. He received his education at Mariahilf then Yorkton Collage then when on to a University Degree in teaching.
Bill taught school for a few years at local prairie schools before his career with the Department of Indian Affairs. Bill started and ran a tree nursery in Salmon Arm prior to retirement. Bill was an avid reader, especially subjects concerning his ancestry and many facets of history in general.
He was also a Blue Jay fan and regularly spent mornings at the A&W for coffee and visits with friends. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Salmon Arm and an active parishioner of St. Josephs’ Roman Catholic Church where a memorial service was recently held for him. Bill was predeceased by his parents Jacob and Johanna, brothers Joe in infancy and John, sisters, Betty Szaroz, Rose Ottenbreit, Anne Boehm and Mary Douhaniuk. Members of his family in Saskatchewan will hold a separate memorial and burial service at Mariahilf Cemetery in Saskatchewan.