August 12, 1935 – March 14, 2023
In Loving Memory ~
It is with great sadness the family of Osvalds (Ozzie) Spagis announces his passing on March 14th, 2023, at the age of 87 years old.
Ozzie was born on August 12th, 1935, in Usvete, Russia. He was the middle child of seven – four boys and three girls.
In February 1950, Ozzie’s mother packed him up along with his two younger sisters and they fled Europe. They took a long journey to Canada on a ship and landed in Halifax, NS. Ozzie was just 14 years old. They travelled across the country as far as Picture Butte, and then made their way to Canmore, AB, where the family settled.
Ozzie would eventually reunite with his siblings, but he never saw his father again.
It was in Canmore when Ozzie met Elaine. Ozzie was taking accordion lessons from a man who was living in the shed behind Elaine’s family home when they first laid eyes on each other. Their courtship was swift and they married on September 4, 1954. Ozzie and Elaine had their first child, Melanie, in 1955, and Gerry came along four years later.
The family moved to Creston, B.C. when the opportunity arose in 1969. Ozzie became a grandfather at just 40 years old, and he enjoyed many years with five grandchildren and 7 great-grandkids.
Never afraid of hard work, Ozzie held some tough jobs in his career. Ozzie was a great storyteller, and he shared many harrowing tales from his working years. From coal mining accidents, close calls with dynamite, fires at the motel, and mishaps at the mill, Ozzie would recount his adventures to anyone who would listen with a chuckle and a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
When he wasn’t working, Ozzie was always busy and spent a lot of time outdoors. He was up on the mountain chopping wood and snowmobiling in the winter, and he liked camping and spending time at the lake with their rowdy group of friends in the summer.
Weekends were filled with card games and beer and plenty of laughs. He was a fixer, tinkerer, and gardener. And he was a formidable builder. Ozzie was often teased for using a full bag of cement and 24 screws for a one-nail job. No one ever accused him of making something that wasn’t sturdy!
Ozzie was cared for by his wife all through his days. Elaine fixed his lunch bucket for him every day before he went off to work. And she obliged his simple tastebuds too for his dinner. When asked what he wanted to eat, his reply was always, “Potatoes.” Later on, he discovered Royal Red wine and would buy it by the literal gallon, explaining how good of a deal it was and how it didn’t have to be expensive to taste good.
And when Tim Hortons came to town, Ozzie became their number one customer with their daily visits. Why try something new when the coffee was so darn good?
Over the years, no one would deny Ozzie loved his family, but consistently a large part of his heart was reserved just for his animals. He attempted to keep up a tough guy exterior, but you knew that was just for show when you saw him with any of his pets. The pups especially always got the best bite of steak and the last lick of ice cream.
Ozzie never had a meal out without wrapping some of his dinner in a napkin and sneaking it in Elaine’s purse to take home to share with his favourite four-legged friends. He rescued and cared for many pets, each more loved than the last.
They were constant companions – on his adventures, leisurely walks, and especially in the quiet moments spent surveying the comings and goings out his picture window from his rocking chair.
Ozzie lived his life as if he, like one of his cats, had nine lives. He was bold and headstrong. Brave and proud. Kind and generous. Always and to the end, his family’s well-being was top of mind. Fitting that Ozzie left peacefully once those closest to him were by his side.
Ozzie will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered by his wife of 68 years, Elaine; children Melanie (Len) Skerik and Gerry (Wendy) Spagis; grandchildren Keri (Nick) Blakeney, Kristi (Ed) Harper, Caili (Kyle) Strom, Jaina (Ivy) Spagis, and Braden (Colleen) Spagis; great-grandchildren Logan, Carter, Luca, Jakzen, Maguire, Elijah and Navy; his sisters Valja “Mary” Juravleff and Julia “Julie” Reynolds; and his best furry buddy, Rocko.
He was predeceased by siblings Alfons Spagis, Ermine Spagis, Janis Spagis and Tony Schpakowski; and parents Peter Spagis, Zelma and Josef Schpakowski.
The family would like to thank the Dr’s and Nurses of Creston Valley Hospital, for the wonderful care Ozzie received. Ever so grateful for our family and friends for providing food and support during this difficult time. Be Blessed.
A Celebration of Life to take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations made in Ozzie’s name to Creston Pet Adoption & Welfare Society (PAWS), 2805 Lower Wynndel Rd., Creston, B.C., V0B 1G8.
Condolences for the family may be offered at www.crestonvalleyfuneralservies.ca
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