Loving Kindness

Lindsay Lewchuk Announcements 4 Comments

If I were to use two words to describe my Gedo (grandfather on my dad’s side) they’d be loving kindness.

Nicholas Lewchuk

December 9, 1924 – July 14, 2015

Nicholas Lewchuk (1924-2015) immigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada as a toddler with his large Ukrainian family. Never one for school, he told me he much rather preferred ditching and spending his time traveling the Canadian prairies picking wild berries instead of sitting in the one room school house. Nick served as a pilot in the Canadian Air Force during WWII, after which he became a tool and die maker.

Gedo with his first Ford 1938

Gedo with his first Ford 1938 at age 14. Who needs school anyway?

Nick 1940 in Air Force uniform

1940 Air Force

Nick Tool & Die Class 1944

1944 Tool & Die Class. Gedo is in the middle, front row. His engaging smile was one of his most distinguishing features consistent throughout his life.

He married his sweetheart, Vera, in 1946 and they began a life together in Windsor, Ontario. Nick built their first home by his own hand over time. He told me that each paycheck meant another item would be purchased for their family home on Meldrum Ave. A year after their first son was born they moved in to Nick’s custom home. Several years later, construction was underway on what became their family home for over 50 years. Though only serving as a member for the construction team instead of being the construction team, Nick was instrumental in the construction of his second home for his growing family. I can still find it on google satellite due to his beloved white birch trees that he spent many a happy hour ensuring the survival of (there used to be more). With his strong work ethic and personable countenance, he progressed in his chosen industry from maker to special projects manager to Vice President at International Tools, Ltd.

Wedding photo 1946

1946 Wedding bells rang out celebrating Vera and Nick’s union.

Gedo building his house

Hand built his first family home!

Gedo's house today

…and it’s still standing strong!

Gedo's 50 year family home today.   Wasting not a single scrap of usable material, Gedo would bundle up the bags the insulation came in and used them as fire wood back at the Meldrum house.  My dad (age 6) recalls eagerly waiting for Gedo to come home from the construction site with the huge bundles of insulation wrapper.  He'd throw them on the fire causing all sorts of yellow colors to glow to the delight of my dad and uncle and exasperation of my Baba.  Dad recalls her calling out from the kitchen that he was going to burn down the house!  But Gedo wouldn't let anything useful go unused so continued to delight his boys with the fire show each day after working on their new home.

Gedo’s 50 year family home today.
Wasting not a single scrap of usable material, Gedo would bundle up the bags the insulation came in and used them as fire wood back at the Meldrum house. My dad (age 6) recalls eagerly waiting for Gedo to come home from the construction site with the huge bundles of insulation wrapper. He’d throw them on the fire causing all sorts of yellow colors to glow to the delight of my dad and uncle and vexation of my Baba. Dad recalls her calling out from the kitchen that he was going to burn down the house! But Gedo wouldn’t let anything useful go unused so continued to delight his boys with the fire show each day after working on their new home.

Gedo at work 1980

1980 Gedo at work in the Tool & Die industry

Tinkering and puttering, Gedo was never one to let a moment be idle. He always had a project going on and kept a stash of odds and ends just in case they could ever be utilized, from scrap wood to odd shaped screws and tools. He used his clever handiness not only in his home maintenance fixes – to the occasional exasperation of my Baba – but also to better the lives of others. Nick designed and created a stand-up wheel-chair for children with polio drawing upon his years of experience in the tool and die trade. Curiously the boy who despised the school room, himself became a teacher after his first (of many) retirements, teaching others the trade that had provided well for him and his family over the years. Working as a consultant to the Technical University of Nova Scotia, he helped develop a tool and die program and then stayed on as instructor for a few years after the program’s launch.

I first met Gedo in 1982. From the beginning we shared something special! I was third in line of “Nick”s being dedicated, Lindsay Nicole Lewchuk.

There were a few things every Lewchuk grandkid learned early in life. Gedo loved Jesus, his family, eating, hockey, the outdoors, and euchre. Sunday church was a staple when visiting Baba & Gedo’s house. Afterwards, the women would head for the kitchen and the men for the den… except me. I always snuggled up on Gedo’s lap and “hung out with the guys” watching the Blue Jays – baseball – or Maple Leafs (shh sometimes it was the Red Wings given the proximity to Detroit) – hockey. I considered myself an honorary ‘one of the boys’ due to my namesake and Gedo was more than happy to have me as an appendage. When the call to the table rang out, little unsuspecting kiddos were sat next to Gedo at the family dinner table. With speed and depth of movement our plates were cleaned either with or without our knowledge. In order to get a bite in edgewise, one had to eat fast or else Gedo would all too kindly devour your dinner for you. This was great when it came to food you’d rather not eat, but those delicious pirogues and kielbasa were also in danger. To ensure enjoyment of the tasty, one learned to eat with one arm up as a guard and eat as fast as possible. After all, Gedo didn’t believe in waste, nor would he want one of his beloved grandchildren to be curbed for pushing undesired food away. Another rest bit and then the afternoon walk. Just a short walk away a pedestrian bridge spanned the highway subdividing the residential street. I don’t remember why the fascination with this route in particular, but it was the one we always took. Whether playing in the fall leaves, snow, or puttering around the pool, the rest of the afternoon was spent outdoors. Tea and dinner called us back inside, followed by games of euchre by the fire (weather permitting).

1984 Gedo, me, and Jennifer

1984 Gedo, my older sister – Jennifer, and me headed outdoors in search of adventure.

1986 Gedo and grandkids

1986 Gedo with all his grandkids (2 more came along several years later).

Gedo with all the grandkids at wedding

Gedo with all the grandkids at my aunt Lisa’s wedding.

While illness dims many memories, I do remember one Christmas being sick in bed and Gedo bringing me up soup. He lovingly fed me while the rest of the family enjoyed the festivities and even calmly cleaned us both up after an unexpected stomach eruption caught us off guard. Tucking me back in bed, he returned to feeding me until I fell asleep. His loving kindness was a reflection of his love for Christ and an enduring memory of his special character.

1993 Gedo and me

1993 Gedo ‘n me – 2 peas in a pod. Another enduring aspect was those pocket protectors. Gedo always carried his glasses, a pen, and a hair comb. As a little girl he allowed me to style his hair for him using that comb he kept on him at all times.

My last conversation with him was in the hospital a few weeks ago. Dad’s cell phone did not work in Gedo’s room, but one day I called anyway. To my delight I actually got through. Dad put Gedo on speaker and I heard the joy in his voice as he recognized mine. He joyfully told me that Puddles picture was proudly displayed hanging on his wall above his bed. All the nurses commented on Puddles size! Though our conversation was quick it was a blessing to hear him, to know he recognized me, and to share our love and prayers one more time. He passed into the glory of God a few weeks later, an unseen Puddles picture waiting in my dad’s bag.

2009 family photo

2009 our last photo together (though not our last visit!) – Baba, me, dad, and Gedo.

Throughout my life Gedo supported, cared for, and encouraged me in a myriad of ways, which will always remain a blessing and reminder of his loving kindness.

Nicholas Lewchuk

December 9, 1924 – July 14, 2015

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