John Holash

Obituary of John Terrence Holash

John Terrence Holash December 16, 1932 - March 21, 2020. A beloved and elegant Saskatchewan gentleman left us this week, his presence to remain now fondly in the hearts of his family and a community across Canada that embraced and admired him for all of his 87 years. John’s career in public relations associated him iconically with Molson Breweries over seven decades, and gravitated a naturally humble, sincere and respectful family man into an inspired dedication to the development and promotion of sports, arts and community building. His presence and energetic commitment to any event, celebration or enterprise contributed, all at once, a dignity, a spirit of fellowship, a mischievous wit and a reverent sense of community occasion. John acquired over his lifetime a unique and universal celebrity, achieved by the warmth of his gift for personal connection, a genuine affection and caring for every soul he encountered, his meticulous attentions to the value of detail, and a recognition in him of personal qualities and values worthy of emulation. His involvement in any gathering, personal or public, bonded people, defined the community around him. His presence in your life inspired you. John was predeceased by his wife, Ethel, son Craig, parents Mary and John Holash, brother Emil Holash, in-laws Adam & Katherine Macht, Art & Kay (Dolly) Braun, Wendel & Alice Kuntz, and George Bultitude. Centering his life in his family, John celebrated the joys and successes of his children Derek (Dee) of Worcester, MA; Craig (deceased 1982); Mitchell (Sheila) of Prince Albert; Heather Solie (Greg) of Saskatoon; and Ronalee Guidinger (Greg) of Eatonia. He was blessed to share an abundance of laughter, love, faith and lasting friendships with his grandchildren, their families, their special friends, and his great-grandchildren: Nathan; Chad, Meghan, Owen and Brennan; Dillan and Erica; Conor and Hailee, Brenner, Kienan; Adam and Alyssa, Samantha, Connor and Leeya, Jacob, David; Kasia, Jonathan and Kelsey. He embraced with great affections his relationships as Uncle John to numerous cherished nieces, nephews and their families. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan to John and Mary Holash, John attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School, and through his high school years at Balfour Collegiate (graduated 1952) he worked evenings into the late hours at the Hotel Saskatchewan to contribute to the support of his parents’ household. He was a strong academic, and active and quietly dominant in competitive sports, particularly in basketball, football and tennis. His credentials encompass his own team’s provincial basketball title, as well as eight city championships coaching the senior and junior women's basketball teams for Sacred Heart Academy. It was from the basketball court that he met, coached, and later married Ethel Macht, with whom he shared the joy and laughter of 39 years, and a loving home with five devoted children. Over the years from 1957, family residences and lifelong friendships were established and enjoyed in Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. John and Ethel centered their family’s values in a quiet and profound faith in God, and an inspired example of generous service to others. Throughout the province, John was an active and devoted volunteer. For over 50 years, John was a recognizable builder in the Saskatchewan sports community. He served as a Director of the Regina Rams football club through several years of national dominance, and as a long-term Director of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was a pivotal founding member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame, and contributed to the establishment of both the Saskatchewan Baseball and Hockey Halls of Fame. In curling rinks around the province, John served in key organizational capacities for the Bessborough Classic Bonspiel, for Canadian mens, womens and mixed provincial and national championships, and for the Silver Broom World Curling Championship. He made contributions to the early development of regional downhill ski events and competitions, and ultimately to a World Cup competition in Whistler, B.C. His organizational abilities were sought in the hockey sector for the World Junior Hockey Championships, the Air Canada Cup Midget Hockey Championship, and the Centennial and Memorial Cups. John, as an agent for Molson and as a volunteer, helped launch and sustain the Prince Albert Raiders junior hockey club through several years of championship success. Perhaps John’s greatest reach and impact in sport was in the golf world, where he is recognized for his contributions to many provincial and regional tournaments, to the Canadian Junior Golf Championships, and most notably for his 40 year association with the Waskesiu Lobstick Golf Tournaments where he became a beloved and celebrated ambassador. John was named Prince Albert Sportsman of the Year in 1997, has been inducted as a builder in the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame, and was named the first lifetime member of the Waskesiu Lobstick Golf Club. His life remained always centered by his deep faith and devotion to Christian beatitudes. He undertook leadership roles on parish councils, as a financial officer and adviser to the Diocese of Prince Albert, and as a Trustee of the Rivier Academy school board. In his retirement, he attended daily mass. John was a pioneer through his life in the promotion of tolerance and respect for diversity in religious and secular beliefs and lifestyles. Throughout his life he made quiet but meaningful differences in the lives of new Canadians. He advanced prisoner rights and reform opportunities as Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Council for the Prince Albert Penitentiary. He reached out to provide support and compassion for parents who, like him, had suffered the incomprehensible loss of a child. He prayed each night for those he knew who had encountered challenges in their own lives. He cared for everyone touching his life. He prayed with family in his last moments of life. On John’s behalf, his family would wish to extend to Dr. Stan Oleksinski and his staff (Barb especially) for your many years of personal and compassionate service, to Angie Kopera and the caring professionals at the River Breeze retirement home, and to the attending EMTs from Parkland Ambulance, eternal gratitude for all you have done for him. John will be remembered with love in the hearts of his children and grandchildren and by all who knew him for his sincere and personal warmth, his humour readily shared, his faithful service of others, and his many, many kindnesses. The consummate gentleman, he will be greatly missed by all whose lives he so meaningfully touched. John will be laid to rest alongside his beloved wife, Ethel, and his son, Craig, at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Saskatoon in a private family mass offered by the Most Reverend Bishop Albert Thevenot. A public memorial service for John will be arranged and announced when public health protocols safely permit. In lieu of other tributes, contributions in John’s memory may be made to Prince Albert’s Rose Garden Hospice Project. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.grays.ca. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Gray's Funeral Chapel, (306) 922-4729.
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