It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Heribert (Harry) Wukowitsch, loving husband, dad and grandpa, more affectionately known to his family and friends as, “Papa”. Born November 28th, 1928 to a farming family in Raiding Austria, Papa passed on at 5pm on June 15th, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox B.C.
Leaving behind family in Austria, Papa immigrated to Canada in 1950 with his friend, Joe Haas, whom he had met on a construction site in Salzburg in 1948. Having scraped together $290 each, the two young men hopped on a vessel known as the Fair Sea, a ship referred to as a cattle ship which was used for transporting troops.
Landing in Montreal, Harry then jumped on a train headed for Lethbridge where he had a job lined up. Finding Alberta’s 40-below weather less than welcoming, he and Joe boarded a nice warm bus and took off to Fernie where they worked together in a cozy mine. After a few years working in Fernie, Papa finally moved to Campbell River where he drove a huge loader for the next 30 years at the Crown Zellerback pulp mill.
Aside from employment, the outdoors had likely drawn Harry to Canada since hiking and cross-country skiing on Mt. Washington became two activities he dearly loved. In fact, he often referred to Mt. Washington as Hawaii. Most weekends he’d arrive early to the Martindale home, banging on the doors, saying, “Come on, let’s go to Hawaii and get a tan!”. Granny and Papa spent much of their younger years on that mountain and Lord only knows what they did up there besides hike and ski, but we’re guessing his passion for red wine gives us a clue. “Have a schlook of iron”!!!
When he wasn’t enjoying the garden, Papa was digging for clams, picking blackberries or making his famous smoked salmon. He was wild about the game of cribbage, loved kids, adored dogs, and loved to repeat the same corny joke. If you’ve ever been cornered by a rugged older man with a thick Austrian accent asking, “Do you know why them gorillas have big nostrils? … Big fingers.”, then, you will have undoubtedly met this beloved man we will never forget.
Harry is survived by his loving wife, Shirley Martindale, his family Norine (Morgan) and Wanda (Gary), Sandy, Deani (Rikhi), Gail, Brian (Priscilla), Pib (Rob), and his sister, Reisi (Heinz). The many grandchildren who loved and will miss him tremendously include Toni, Rob, Holly (Matt), Roy, Corrie, Sam, Bo, Holden, Kai, Madison, Ivan, Serena, Ryan (Sarah) and his great-grandchildren, Nyla, Oakren, Nixon, Kayne and Nevaeh.
We all love you Papa, Rest in Peace.