(February 17, 2021) -
With heavy hearts, we sadly announce the passing of a great man. Loving husband of Laura (nee Kochko). Amazing Dad to Caroline (Drew), Catherine (Jeff), and Claudia (late Paul). Cherished Deedo of Madison. He was a business owner of Rusty’s Radio & Sports on Dupont St., and a longtime employee of the Metropolitan Separate School Board (MSSB). Also a proud founding pioneer of St. Demetrius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Etobicoke. He will always be remembered by his cousins and many nieces, nephews and friends in Canada and the USA. Thank you to all the staff at the *Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre for all their support and care. No flowers please. In Rusty’s memory, donations to the Knights of Columbus Sheptytsky Council 5079 or to *UCCC, would be greatly appreciated. Private funeral arrangements. Online condolences at newediukfuneralhome.com
“Over and Out."
After his Father, but with his Mother, little Rusty arrived in Canada at the beginning of The Great Depression.
Born in the village of Klymkivtsi in Zbarazh, Ukraine, to Walter (Volodomyr) Osadchuk from the village of Kozari, and Marcella Dobrowolski from Klymkivtsi. He was their only child, whom they named after “Kniaz” Prince Rostyslav. His name means “to increase glory”. His Mom had to keep her eyes on her toddler because the sailors on board their Trans-Atlantic ship tried to convince her that they could raise him to be a strong sailor if she chose to leave him with them.
The family settled in West Toronto, in the Junction area. The Royce Avenue area was home to many immigrants coming from Ukraine. Rusty made many lifelong friends. Years later, several became Koomeh as Godparents to each other’s children. Many also became Brother Knights years later. He had fun with his friends, and made sure to stay away from the local gangs. He attended St. Rita’s Catholic School. With his parents, he attended St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral on Franklin Avenue, where he eventually married the love of his life, Laura. It was nice being part of a familiar community where “old country” culture and heritage were celebrated. Ukrainian dancing and Ukrainian school were part of growing up. The family moved several times until they bought their own home on Franklin Avenue. Eventually their home had to be torn down to make room for the new Ukrainian Catholic elementary school, St. Josaphat’s, to which he and Laura gifted a brand new television. With the savings ability of his Mother, they were able to buy a storefront property on Dupont St. This would become the home of Rusty’s own business. Rusty also helped his parents on regular drives, with his dog Puppy, to his parents’ farm where his Father kept bees and his Mother grew onions and garlic.
Growing up, Rusty would collect things, fix things, and take things apart, just to fix them. He once, like many other boys, placed pennies on train tracks. One of his bent pennies was actually under the wheels of a train car that the Queen was riding in. He got into mischief but he also had fun. Playing at a variety of local parks; swimming in Grenadier Pond and Sunnyside; going down a steep, ice covered slope at Christie Pits, while wearing skates (he didn’t do that again); tossing, on unsuspecting passersby, folded paper water bombs from the window of his Ukrainian school; playing softball and hockey, and so much more, kept him busy. Unfortunately for his parents, Rusty never got the hang of playing the violin. When asked why he didn’t play, he said “because I wasn’t good at it”. He loved fishing with his Dad. From Toronto, to Port Credit, for 25km/15.5 miles (one way), he would sit on the cross bar of his Dad’s bike, while his Father peddled. They caught fish, brought them back to his Mom, who would do her magic by turning those fish into a feast. She also helped her son by making him a pillow for the crossbar. He cried at how much his backside hurt from sitting. Rusty said that the pillow was great until all the feathers shifted to each side and he once again ended up on the crossbar.
Rusty joined the workforce at a very young age. He got paid to read and translate English letters into Ukrainian, from a soldier to his Mother. He sold a set of hubcaps to a young Pete Pastyr, who also became a Koom. He worked briefly at Kik Cola. He was there VERY briefly (one day), because he couldn’t toss the full crates of empty pop bottles up 15 plus feet, without the fear of them dropping. No one wanted to be responsible for crates of broken bottles. He was the pin boy at Dundas Bowling Alley. He had fun at that job and actually got to keep a bowling pin when he left. His next job was with PHILCO Radio at the age of 15. He was with them for many years. He got along with his coworkers. Rusty’s practical joke abilities were being honed at this time. He was working with a gentleman who witnessed, what he thought was Rusty jumping off the roof of the building. The poor guy ran to the edge, only to find Rusty looking up from a roof that was only a few feet down. Rusty said the guy turned as white as a ghost. Rusty also became a bit of showman at this time. PHILCO was hired to install the very first TV antenna at the Royal York Hotel. Rusty went up on the roof and did what he had to do. When he noticed the audience at street level, he casually removed his jacket and showed off his strong and lean physique. He loved it. The women on the street loved this view even more. We can proudly say that Rusty installed the antenna so that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip could watch the telly.
After PHILCO, Rusty ventured out on his own. The doors to Rusty’s Radio and Sports opened up. With Laura’s help, this rare combination of radio and television repairs and a large variety of sporting goods, the business kept busy. It quickly became a mini social club for friends, local cops and many Toronto Maple Leafs with whom he went on fishing trips. These Stanley Cup winners always signed hockey sticks which Rusty gifted to many people…forgetting to keep one for himself, including the full team of the last Toronto win of the Cup. He definitely made some kids very happy. The police officers he befriended invited Rusty to their practice shooting range. Rusty pinned a penny to the bullseye. He aimed and shot it perfectly through the center. Seeing what he did, several officers attempted to do the same. Some came close but Rusty’s penny was the only perfect shot, made from regulation distance of 60 feet. He kept the penny and gave it to one of his daughters.
Rusty agreed to a blind date, knowing who the date was going be. Mary set Rusty up with her younger sister Laura. A short courtship lead to nuptials in 1955, with a huge wedding of 600+ guests. The happy couple drove to Florida for their honeymoon. The trip included visiting many US Aunts, Uncles and cousins, on their way back home. Those amazing, fun and memorable family visits became, and remain a must, each time an Osadchuk crosses the border.
A couple years being married had Rusty and Laura welcoming Caroline, their beautiful first born. They then moved to Etobicoke. The arrival of Catherine, followed by Claudia, completed the family. With kids in the mix, Rusty continued to spread his love of laughter. The girls, and Laura, were not off limits when it came to joking around. Laura was made to believe she had won a large lottery after Rusty convinced a reluctant ally to go into Mom’s purse and copy the numbers from the tickets she bought. He had to come clean quickly because that joke went over like a lead balloon. His girls also fell victim to Daddy’s sense of humour. All three were told to name their new dolly “Latrine”. “It is such a pretty name”. Caroline presented a perfectly shaped rock to her classmates as a “Petrified dinosaur egg”. Catherine was told that Deedo, on Mommy’s side, was part Native Canadian. A number of times, he handed one of the girls a tiny frog or a praying mantas as a “close your eyes and open your hand” surprise.
Not too long after the birth of his youngest daughter, Rusty, with the encouragement of Monsignor Basil Filevich, closed his business and accepted a job with the Metropolitan Separate School Board. From technician to Supervisor of the department, Rusty made many new friends. They were his family away from home. The combination of personalities made for a friendly and fun atmosphere, usually filled with laughter and the teaching of Ukrainian words. One day, his boss brought in a beautiful, handmade canoe. The canoe was put on display so that people could admire Guy’s handy work. Rusty just couldn’t resist putting up a sign that stated lottery tickets were available for anyone who wished to try and win the canoe. Everyone had a good laugh. Twenty eight years after retirement, he remained in contact with many of them.
He, with Laura, made sure that the girls grew up with pride in their faith and in their heritage. Learning the language was a must. Driving them to dancing lessons, while missing the Mother’s Day concerts because he was away on fishing trips with Bill (another Koom) and Mike Popowich and their boys, was a regular thing. He and his scratchy 3 day beard were always welcomed home with a hug. He took the girls mushroom picking and taught them how to spot the good ones. Showed them how to tinker and use a screwdriver and saw. How to check the oil in the car, after they washed it of course. He let them cut the grass because they watched how Dad cut it and they could do the same. Seeing who could spit a cherry pit the farthest was a summer thing. He also taught his girls to ride their bikes, without training wheels. He didn’t believe in them. All three girls got to shave with Daddy. Brush in hand, faces lathered and a bladeless razor, allowed the girls to think they were shaving their faces. It remains a cute memory, with photo evidence. I am laughing as this is being typed. I can’t imagine our friends ever doing this with their Dads, unless they were a boy. Secretly, we are sure he wished he had a son. Many years later, he would introduce his daughters to any boy that may have been single, including waiters as we were all about to order a meal. We all wanted to become invisible at that point. Wanting to marry off his daughters, he eventually got his wish. He and Laura, the proud parents, walked their daughters down the aisle as they welcomed three great “sons” into the fold. First Jeff, then Paul, then Drew joined the family. Finally some testosterone in the mix. A welcomed granddaughter, Madison, that Rusty always called his Princess, was definitely the precious apple of his eye. He loved listening to her piano playing, even via video call. He also loved reading with and to her.
He and Laura enjoyed their family trips south. Driving to Florida was a thrill for all. A lover of seafood, he definitely had many feasts that we all laughed about. The trips were memorable and we thank our parents for these fantastic getaways. They also enjoyed trips with Pearl and Nick, Mary and Pete, Pat and George, Bud and Stella, Mary and Walter, Charlotte and Roman and others. Northern weekend escapes with the Kapusta family, or Koomeh John and Mary Ann, and Koomeh Anne and Dusty, were cherished memories for Rusty. Even cottage getaways with the Kochko inlaws, Blahuts with young niece Melanie and Rudyks were always enjoyed. Fishing with his nephew was a later in life experience. The French River and Lake Ontario allowed both Uncle and nephew to catch some prizing winning fish. Rusty caught a 30 pound salmon and John caught the biggest walleye that he has ever caught.
Rusty was a very dedicated church member. From inception with a very small committee at St. Josaphat’s Cathedral, Rusty was part of the planted seed as a founding pioneer of St. Demetrius Catholic Church. Before Fr. John Tataryn landed in Toronto, the church was being built. Prior to the pews in the present day church, he would participate in setting up and then putting away, chairs for Sunday Liturgy in the Youth Centre. He helped with church bingos by regularly maintaining the bingo machine. He and Laura hosted a number of fundraising events at their home. Rusty purchased pens that he sold to help raise funds for the church. He archived all the bulletins and even laminated them before handing them over to Fr. John Tataryn. He even kept, and presented the ground breaking shovel back to the church. He took photos of events in order to help keep a running history of the ever growing Parish that he was always proud of. His prayer book still includes all the milestone anniversary prayer cards that were given out to parishioners. If you wanted to rent the church hall, Rusty is who you would call. He was Church President for 3 terms. With Fr. John, Rusty assisted in the expansion of the St. Demetrius community to include a Ukrainian Catholic elementary school. He proudly enrolled his two youngest girls as the first students. He was also on the building committee of the St. Demetrius Seniors Residence, where his Mother became a resident.
Russ, loved collecting. Many people brought back Coca Cola bottles from all over the world. He was always amazed at the variety of countries that Coke was available in. He was happy knowing he could probably have a Captain Morgan’s dark rum and Coke if he had visited all those places. His collecting encompassed many things, including autographs and milestone celebration certificates from Canadian government offices. He got one from Queen Elizabeth. Autographs from people he met, such as David Copperfield, Donny Osmond, Eddie Shack and Robert Vaughan, just to name a few, were proudly displayed. He also met Mother Teresa of Calcutta, now a Saint. Out of respect, he did not ask for her signature. He even laminated a personalized letter he received from Ukrainian Canadian artist William Kurelek. Yes, Rusty loved to laminate.
A man of many talents, Rusty enjoyed refinishing antique furniture and building a variety of new items. Making decoupage plaques with a variety of themes, usually floral and religious. He had a keen eye for photography and captured unique nature photos as well as family photos and brilliantly coloured photos of Toronto International Caravan’s Kolomaya pavilion at the church. Photos, slides and films were often enjoyed by family and some lucky friends. He often pulled the screen from the nook in the basement ceiling (which he designed and installed), turned on the in-ceiling speakers he installed when he finished the basement, and then continued with his commentary. Many may recall that some photos were taken “hand held and available light”. His talents didn’t stop here. With precision, he cracked open walnuts. After eating the nut, he would glue the shell back together, with a hook installed. Famously spray painted in gold, he would add them to the already dressed Christmas tree. Those nuts are still a part of our trees. He even made wind chimes. One made with cutlery, another made with giant lobster claws, from the 125 lobsters he proudly dined on in one year. The claws, like the walnuts, got their coating of gold paint. Rusty should not have used the glue he used. Maybe that was a blessing in disguise as each claw eventually fell off?? Tusia was making jewelry, Rusty figured that she was using his equipment, how hard could it be…getting her to sell his pieces with her own, that was another story. They did sell. Rusty could draw, but didn’t do it often. He did do a few wooden sculptures and one attempt at sculpting a clay bust. That little bald head was actually well done. Caroline got him the clay from her art teacher who became a coworker of Rusty’s. Mario was impressed. His workshop, with the workbench from his store, was his escape from all the women in the house. He could be found fixing, sorting, creating, and listening to music amongst his many trinkets and pieces of memorabilia. Whatever type of screw or glue or nail that was needed, Rusty had it. Right to the end, he could tell you EXACTLY where to find whatever he/we needed. “Second shelf from the top, on the left, over 2 inches, the red book, in it is an article from The Star….” . He was always accurate in his instructions.
Rusty loved people. He talked to strangers at the plaza, or the casino, or anywhere. He assisted elderly neighbours with some chores or a middle of the night assist with a slip or fall. He loved being acknowledged. He was presented with The Good Neighbour award from the city of Toronto for all his hard work. He loved parties and celebrations. Canada Day was always fun when he and Laura would wear their matching t-shirts, joining the girls and their families who were also wearing red and white. He was good at trivia because he loved reading. He would cut out or mark articles with a name written on top. He often gave Claudia articles on David Bowie. He knew our interests and always thought of us. From Star Trek, to sharks, fishing and cooking, Rusty always kept the family in mind.
Our Superman, was our lifesaver when life took various turns. He was a teacher by opening the doors to a variety of subjects including UFOs and music. There was always music playing in the house. He loved classical music and could tell you the artist, song title and maybe a little story about it. While writing this, the classical station has been on. Montovani was just played. A singer that Rusty took Laura to see. His girls, including granddaughter Madison, all took up piano and almost all sang in a Ukrainian choir. He encouraged us to play songs he loved. Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago was one of his most favourite. His musical talents included loudly blowing the long plastic horn that was won at the CNE. He sang loudly in the shower. Although we would laugh, he was actually really good. He was also an amazing whistler and made sure his girls could whistle too. He did bird calls that were fantastic. In the recent past, he whistled and befriended a beautiful red cardinal. With his whistle and a multi daily offering of a peanut, Rusty had the cardinal eating out of the palm of his hand. His cockatiel Bo, was also privy to this type of treatment. He also had a whistle for his friends, who would whistle back with a response. I wish I could do it for you now but writing this is all that can be done at this time. His other talent was ripping the phone book in half, after he made a coin disappear and reappear from its pages. Yes, Rusty had strength and a love for magic and illusion. He would often use the reflection from his watch and have the girls chase the bright spot named “Magic Mike”. He, along with friends, like John Newediuk and Joe Lockwood and others, often “created pennies from heaven”. The children would be playing and not realizing that their Dads were secretly flipping pennies into the air. The kids were always excited to gather up their loot.
A proud member of the Knights of Columbus – Sheptytsky Council 5079, he looked forward to attending meetings. The best were the “Pyrohy Night” meetings where he feasted on those delicious Ukrainian dumplings. Rusty came up with an idea, and with the help of his Koom Bill Ross, designed and had approved the installation of the Andrew Sheptytsky monument at Martyr’s Shrine. He always encouraged people to visit the Shrine in Midland and stop by to see this beautiful monument. He and Bill even picked out the gorgeous spot where the monument sits. He did this because he said that the Shrine needed a Ukrainian presence. Mission accomplished.
A charitable guy. He would buy a meal or give clothing to someone who was on the streets and in need.
He and Laura kept a small garden in their yard. Although his large planting of garlic did not yield large cloves, their cherry tomato plants would often surpass 15 and a half feet. By the way, although tiny, Rusty did insist on eating the garlic that we often laughed at.
He would suggest interesting school project topics to the girls. The projects always ended up being a hit. Helping them build a Morse Code board and the potato battery were right up his alley.
Although not the best dancer, he loved dancing with his kids. Putting our feet on the top of Dad’s feet, allowed us to glide and giggle with each step. No fear of stepping on toes. Looking up to see his smiling face looking down at us was truly a magical moment with Daddy.
A good sport with an even better sense of humour, Rusty, couldn’t understand why Laura kept raving about how comfortable her dress was every time she wore it. He stepped up to the offer of trying on the stretchy fabric dress to appreciate just how comfortable the dress really was. Once on, he agreed with Laura. Encouraged by his daughters, he donned a bright red, wide brimmed hat and matching purse. The ensemble definitely showed off his shapely legs. The Knights of Columbus actually published one of the photos in their anniversary book. The family laughed so hard they were crying. Rusty sure could strike a pose. Anything for a good laugh.
Rusty loved bike riding when he was growing up. Freedom, breeze, speeding, was a thrill he enjoyed. As an adult, he and Laura were known to gift some young family members and friends’ children with bicycles of their own. He said that the looks on their faces were precious and unforgettable.
All the people you meet and all the things you believe, and all the things you do throughout your journey on earth, with family and friends and sometimes strangers, is what defines you. Rusty was a hugger. He always loved holding Laura’s hand. He loved his family beyond numbers. He said he would always love us. FOREVER. He and Mom taught us that we have to stick up for one another. An Osadchuk will always have an Osadchuk’s back. Thanks for all the love, encouragement, discipline, freedom, trust, support, laughter and smiles. Your hugs will be missed. Memories of the sound of your kiss, late at night, will always let us know we are home, safe and sound. Thanks for everything. We wouldn’t have traded you for anyone else. We wouldn’t be who we are without you. All of us, including Mom and Madison, will always be proud of the moniker “Rusty’s Girls”.
Rusty, with Laura by his side, created a stable, fun, loving and comfortable home for their family. A place friends of all ages liked to visit. Music, laughter, family meals and “I LOVE YOU” were part of daily life. He was a patriarch like no other. Hugs and kisses, a wink, a laugh, a Nu Nu?, will all be remembered and so terribly missed.
I could just keep writing. If I stop, that means that Rusty’s story has really come to an end. There is so much more we could share. After hearing of Rusty’s passing, a song played on the radio that had a lyric that was quite fitting for the moment and the emotions. The line was “I really have enjoyed my stay, but I must be moving on…”. With that, I will leave you with advice from Rusty. “If you aren’t in the room, shut the lights off.” Never say good bye to an older person. See you later. “Over & Out...and Under”.