Obituary of Wally Batlowski
BATLOWSKI: Walter Joseph Batlowski of Brandon Manitoba died peacefully at Fairview Home at the age of 81 years on Monday, December 19th, 2022 with family by his side. “Wally” grew up in the North End of Winnipeg and attended Sisler High; he enjoyed playing lacrosse and hockey with the St. Boniface Braves, and shared many good times with family and close friends, Roman Odwazny and Paul Humniski. Many memories were made around the kitchen table at the family home on Dufferin Avenue while feasting on his mother’s delicious, home-made pyrohy, pyrizhky, borscht, kielbasa, corned beef on rye from the local butcher shop, and Jeanne’s cakes for birthday celebrations.
Having a strong belief in the value of a good education, Wally worked to put himself through school, working as an orderly at Selkirk Mental Health Centre and at Eaton’s in downtown Winnipeg. It was during high school that Wally met the love of his life and life partner, Freda; the couple shared a life together for 65 years and were married for 58 years. After high school, Wally attended St. Paul’s College and The University of Manitoba where he completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1964, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Degree in 1968.
Wally and Freda welcomed the addition of their daughters Cheryl in 1966, and Charlene in 1971. After graduation, the family moved to Brandon where Wally connected with a great group of similar minded entrepreneurs, who co-founded Super Thrifty Drugs Canada Ltd., and where Wally began his career as a Pharmacist. This ever-expanding chain of stores continues to thrive and uphold the values of the original partners: John Allen, Greg Skura, Joss March, Tom Busch, Bryan Shaw, Dennis McMahon, and Wally.
Wally was passionate about his work, had a strong work ethic and went out of his way to meet the needs of his customers and employees, relating to each of them in a personal way. Wally was active in the community and was Past President of the Kinsmen Club of Brandon, where he developed many new friendships.
Although his physical stature was at times intimidating, he was a big teddy bear with a great sense of humour. Wally was a CB Radio enthusiast and was known by the handle “The Polish Prince.” Other pastimes included: fishing, golfing, spending time at the family’s Oak Lake Beach cottage, relaxing at home after a long day of “saving lives,” where he would catch up on local and worldly matters, read multiple newspapers and tabloids, do crossword puzzles, watch sports, and unwind with Freda, who always had home cooked meals waiting for him.
During his recovery from a car accident in his mid-40’s, Wally was treated by Chiropractor Dr. Allan Martin, who was influential in Wally’s decision to re-evaluate his career choice. Always looking for new challenges and opportunities, Wally moved to Toronto where he studied Chiropractic’s at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College for two years, until new opportunities presented themselves. Never giving up his love of Pharmacy, Wally completed the required training and entered the Canadian Armed Forces as Base Pharmacist at CFB Shilo, and, in 1986, moved with Freda and Charlene to CFB Cold Lake, Alberta where Wally worked as a Hospital Pharmacist. In 1989, the family moved to Calgary, Alberta where Wally worked at the CFB Calgary Base Supply Depot and developed an interest in painting nature scenes.
Wally retired from the military in 1991, moved back to Winnipeg with Freda to be closer to family and worked as a Pharmacist with Shopper’s Drug Mart on Main Street. They later moved to Brandon where Wally assumed the role of Pharmacist/Manager/Associate at Shopper’s Drug Mart in the Brandon Gallery and then at the 18th Street and College Avenue location. Unfortunately, the stress of the job contributed to a mental health crisis and Wally was forced to end his career and retire in 2002 at the age of 60. Freda and Cheryl were Wally’s main supports and caregivers until his dementia progressed to the point where he required 24-hour care and could no longer be safely managed at home.
Wally is survived by his wife Freda; daughters Cheryl and Charlene (Paul); grandchildren: Devan, Bryce, Sydney, Justin and Camryn; sister-in-law Ardith (Eugene); brother-in-law John; nieces and nephews: Carla (Ken), Nicole (Todd), Kyllan, Trenton, Julie, Dwight, Debbie, Dennis (Allison), and Darrel, as well as nieces and nephews in Bakersfield, California. Wally was predeceased by his father Samuel, mother Julia, father and mother-in-law Harvey and Violet, brothers Eddy and Ted, sister Irene and brother-in-law Vern.
The family wishes to thank everyone who helped care for Wally over the years, including Drs. Blythe, McIntyre, Lint and Vipul; the staff at Fairview Home 1st and 5th floors and the Day Program; and staff at the Centre for Geriatric Psychiatry (CGP) at Brandon Regional Health Centre. The family is grateful for the messages of condolence and support, and for the kindness shown by Michelle and the staff at Brockie Donovan Funeral Home.
A private family service will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Wally to the Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba, Unit 4B, 457-9th Street, Brandon, MB, R7A 1K2, the Canadian Mental Health Association, 930 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3G 0P8, or to a charity of your choice.
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