With deep sadness, the daughters of Raymond Wasylenki announce the passing of their beloved father on December 30, 2023 at 92 years of age. He will be dearly missed by his daughters, Mary Ann Diosi (Charles, deceased) of Sudbury and Kathryn Peet (Lennard) of Oro-Medonte Township.
Ray was predeceased by his cherished wife Helen (nee Runnalls), with whom he shared his life for nearly 66 years before her passing in April 2023. He was predeceased by his parents, Walter and Annie (nee Chorney) Wasylenki and his older brother Dr. Morris Wasylenki (Patricia, deceased). He is lovingly remembered by his brothers Dr. Eugene Wasylenki (Barbara) of Albuquerque NM and Stanley Wasylenki (Sandy, deceased) of Mississauga; his sister, Orysia Weedmark (Howard; Bob Chalmers, both deceased) of Waterloo as well as his brothers-in-law Oliver Runnalls (Barbara) of Manitoulin Island and Bill Runnalls (Olga, deceased) of Narol, MB. Uncle Ray will be missed by his nieces and nephews in Canada and the US.
The son of Ukrainian immigrants, Ray was born on October 12, 1931 in Coniston, Ontario. Growing up, he loved the outdoors and spent his youth exploring the bare Coniston hills, picking blueberries and swimming at Baby Lake. He greatly enjoyed gathering with friends and singing at the Ukrainian Hall. Ray was an accomplished student, a natural athlete and a very hard worker, earning money to supplement his family’s budget by picking blueberries and working summer jobs at CP Rail, Ontario Hydro and Inco.
Following a year at Queen’s University, Ray attended and graduated from North Bay Normal School in 1952; he later completed his degree at Laurentian University. He was a gifted, dedicated educator. His entire career was spent in the public school system in Sudbury, beginning at Elm Street and Wembley public schools as a teacher then advancing to Vice-Principal and finally to Principal at Prince Charles Public School for the majority of his career. He later became the Principal at Jessie Hamilton Public School in Lively until his retirement in 1987. He truly enjoyed seeing students connect to concepts and strived to create a positive learning environment. Meticulous and a perfectionist, Ray instinctively engaged in reflective practice before it was popularized in mainstream education: he would constantly examine his delivery of lessons to see where he might change his approach to improve the student learning experience. He led various extra-curricular activities to help students thrive, sharing his passion for music, sports and the outdoors.
Ray and Helen built their camp on Lake Kagawong on Manitoulin Island in the mid 1960s. Mary Ann and Kathryn remember fishing with their parents on lazy summer afternoons, singing around the bonfire while Dad strummed his guitar, and racing full speed off the end of the dock into the water, dog Pepper beside them, after bursting out of the sauna that Ray had built. Both parents inspired in their girls a lifelong love of the outdoors through ice-fishing, snowmobiling, hiking and camping trips across the country.
Ray and Helen enjoyed playing bridge and having parties with their wide circle of friends in Sudbury and beyond. For 24 years, they spent winters at their home at Sweetwater Golf and Tennis Club in Central Florida, where they made dear friends and were involved in many activities. Ray was a member of various community groups over the years, including the Kinsman Club, the Rotary Club, the Northern Echoes Choir, and the Sweetwater Social Committee. In their later years, Ray and Helen happily resided at Southwind Retirement Residence in Sudbury. More recently, Ray resided at Oak Lodge in Sudbury and St. Gabriel Villa in Chelmsford.
Of his many accomplishments, Ray was perhaps most proud of donating a kidney to daughter Kathryn in 1989, allowing her to end dialysis treatments. Now, nearly 35 years later, his transplanted kidney continues to provide Kathryn with the gift of life.
The family would like to express its sincere gratitude to the kind and caring staff of the Whitson wing of St. Gabriel Villa and to Oak Lodge (North Bay Regional Health Centre) for their exceptional care of Ray.
Cremation has taken place; a private gathering to remember Ray will be held at a later date. Should you wish to honour Ray’s memory through a charitable donation, please consider the Kidney Foundation of Canada (www.kidney.ca).