Richard (Dick) Lorne Duczek

DUCZEK – Richard (Dick) Lorne left this world peacefully on April 30, 2008, ending his three-year journey with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He is survived by his beloved wife Carlene (nee Collins), his treasured children David Richard and Jennifer Robin (Erik Weissengruber), and his dear sister Marion (Dave Toews). Richard is also survived by nephews Jason (Ashish) and Everett (Andrea) Toews, Andrew (Jennifer), Colin and Chris Leask, and nieces Jessica, Kelly and Katie Leask. Richard was predeceased by an infant brother, his parents, and his wife of twenty-nine years.

Born on May 6, 1942 at home in Grayson, Saskatchewan to Henry and Julia (nee Hornung), Richard spent his childhood in and around Grayson. He completed high school at St. Joseph’s College in Yorkton and graduated from the University of Saskatoon with a BA in Economics and Political Science (1964). While in Saskatoon, he met and married Jean Leask, and together they raised two beautiful children.

Richard embarked on what would be an interesting and challenging career in Human Resources Management, starting with Federated Cooperatives Limited in 1964 and ending in 2000 as a management consultant with CIDA. In between, he worked for Dome Petroleum, Encor Energy Inc., Canadian Oxy Petroleum, and Price Waterhouse Coopers, each in progressively senior positions and in locations from Saskatoon to Calgary, Yemen, Cyprus, Islamabad and Afghanistan. Although he had a rewarding career, Richard derived his greatest satisfaction from his aid work in Afghanistan and his volunteer work on various boards, including the Canadian Cancer Society, Business Against Drugs, Calgary Aboriginal Awareness Society, UNICEF, and the ALS Society of B.C. Richard particularly enjoyed his years of volunteering as a Cub Scout leader and a Little League baseball coach. After absorbing the initial shock of his diagnosis of ALS, Richard became tireless in his outreach to others with ALS. Until the loss of mobility and speech stopped him, he ran a support group in Kamloops and was instrumental in the success of several major fundraising initiatives for the ALS Society of B.C.

Richard’s enthusiasm for sports started at a young age and never left him. In his youth he played baseball for teams in Melville, Grayson, and Saskatoon; he was an avid and talented curler from his university days right up until ALS took the strength from his legs; he was a fervid golfer who golfed in 22 countries throughout the world, the pinnacle, of course, being St. Andrews’ in Scotland. For twenty-five years, a highlight was golfing in the annual “Northern Tour” with his cousins and friends. During the last two years of his life, Richard’s passion for sports remained undiminished as he became a wheelchair spectator at every sports program that satellite T.V. had to offer.

Even though the ALS promise held true (“ALS takes everything…your mobility, your speech, your money and ultimately, your life”), it did not diminish Richard’s passion for life in spite of the many challenges it put in his path. From his initial aggressive approach at keeping the disease from progressing, to his acceptance of the inevitable, Richard embraced every day and looked for the most productive ways to live as full a life as possible. His grace and positive mental attitude throughout his journey with ALS were inspirational to all who knew him, and whether he realized it or not, this became his greatest achievement and his legacy.

Sincere thanks and appreciation to all Richard’s cousins for their love, unwavering support and encouragement; to Dr. Jill Calder and Dr. Wood, the ALS Society of B.C. (especially Lisa and Wendy), Shuswap Community Care Health Services, the Provincial Respiratory Outreach Program (PROP), and the wonderful care aides, whose support and assistance made it possible for Richard to be cared for at home. A memorial service will be held at the Shuswap Lake Estates Lodge on Friday, May 9 at 3:00 p.m. and in Calgary at the Calgary Winter Club on Monday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m. Inurnment at Eden Brook Cemetery in Calgary. In lieu of floral tributes, Richard requests that donations be made to the ALS Society of B.C., #208-1600 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., V6J 1R3.

Arrangements entrusted to FISCHER’S FUNERAL SERVICES & CREMATORIUM LTD., (250) 833-1129, fischers@sunwave.net.