It is with heavy hearts we announce the sudden and peaceful passing of Hilliard Emil Sawchuk, at the age of 79 years, on Monday, June 1, 2020. Hilliard will be lovingly remembered by his wife Eileen of 53 years; sons Jason (Michelle) and Jeff (Keri); grandchildren Carter, Brooklyn, Brenna and Caden Sawchuk; brothers Leonard (Loretta), Wesley (Mary) and Ed (Wanda); sisters Christina (Mel) and Rosemary (Ken); and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents Emil and Helen Sawchuk, parents-in-law David and Mary Federowich, sister Adeline Sawchuk, brother David Sawchuk and granddaughter Carlyn Sawchuk.
Hilliard was born September 22, 1940 in Dauphin, Manitoba. Hilliard was the oldest child of eight. He graduated from Gilbert Plains Collegiate, and went straight into teaching on “permit” at Duck Hills School. Attending Teacher’s College at Tuxedo (Winnipeg) in 1960-61, Hilliard returned to teaching at Drifting River School for three years, and then one year at Wolodimyr School in the Gilbert Plains district. Hilliard then moved to Rivers in 1965 and while teaching at Rivers Elementary, completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at Brandon University by taking night and summer courses. Hilliard was a vice-principal at Rivers Elementary for 10 years but eventually went back into the classroom and retired from Rivers Collegiate in 1995. Hilliard was a highly respected educator and coach. Fastball and volleyball were Hilliard’s favorite to coach and provincial championships were won with Hilliard at the helm.
In 1966, Hilliard married the love of his life Eileen Federowich. They resided in Brandon and continued to live in Brandon until the day of his passing. Hilliard cherished his life with Eileen and they enjoyed many holidays together including trips to California, Las Vegas, Florida, Hawaii, Jamaica and Mexico. Going on cruise vacations was a favorite for Hilliard, especially when they went to Alaska. In the summertime, many trips were made with the motorhome to all parts of Canada and the United States, however, Clear Lake was also a favorite destination of Hilliard’s.
Being heavily involved with St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, Hilliard was the project coordinator responsible for overseeing extensive exterior and interior renovations. The work began in 1988 and was completed in four phases over a span of thirteen years. Hilliard spent countless hours monitoring the work progress of contractors and by 2011, refurbished domes beautified the church along with a new exterior, new foyer and entrance, new fencing and landscaping, new stained-glass windows, new pews and confessional, interior painting and a restoration of Leo Mol’s ceiling murals. Hilliard also served on the executive council of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church for many years and was the Treasurer for the Ukrainian Reading Hall until his passing. Hilliard had a passion for working at the Ukrainian Reading Hall. This was his second home and spent countless hours volunteering, bar tending, cleaning, fixing, and most recently, catering. Hilliard especially loved working with his good friends Nelson Baranyk, Lawrence Kristalovich and Nestor Zemliak.
Hilliard was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Canadian Ukrainian Men’s Club, and the Glen Lea Golf Club. Hilliard had many interests including hockey, music and golf. However, Hilliard’s real passion was his family. He traveled extensively to watch grandsons Carter and Caden play hockey; winter storms or poor road conditions did not stop Hilliard from attending the games. He always offered the boys advice on hockey and provided encouragement. Hilliard also enjoyed listening to granddaughters Brooklynn and Brenna play their violins and sing. He attended many of their performances and always had special requests of music for the girls to learn and play. Hilliard also attended many of the girls’ volleyball games, offering coaching tips and support.
A sincere thank you to all who have sent condolence messages, cards, Mass offerings, phone calls, food, flowers, and visits. It has been very comforting to the family that they are surrounded by many kind, caring, and compassionate people. Thank you to those who lined up outside the funeral to offer support during the procession to the cemetery. It was a very touching moment for the family. The overwhelming support will never be forgotten. Thank you to staff at Glen Lea Golf Course, Hilliard’s golfing friends, the Brandon Paramedics, BRHC emergency room staff and Pastor Joe Ball for their efforts during Hilliard’s final moments. God Bless you all. Thank you to Greg Hildebrand and the staff at Memories Chapel for the arrangements, services and wonderful care.
Prayers for Hilliard were held at Memories Chapel on Thursday, June 4, 2020 and the funeral service was held at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on Friday, June 5, 2020. Father Michael Tkachuk officiated with cantor Stella Fedeniuk and organist Elsie Makwaychuk. Lawrence Kristalovich provided a special prayer on behalf of the Knights of Columbus and Canadian Ukrainian Men’s Club. Interment followed at Rosewood Memorial Gardens, where Hilliard was laid to rest near his granddaughter Carlyn.
God came to get you quietly.
Golf clubs, friends and sun.
He said, “Come with me, Hilliard
Your task on earth is done.”