Remembering Our Founder

Erast Huculak

It is with profound loss that we announce the passing of Erast Huculak who left us peacefully on March 2, 2013. Loving husband, adventurer and soul mate to Yarmila Delores (nee Buka), supportive father and role model to Roma (Victor), George (Elizabeth), Christina (Michael), Amanda (Adrian), and Samantha (Shaun); playful and proud Dyodyo to Katrina, Tiana, Taissa, Mia and Arianna. Predeceased by first wife Lydia and son Marchyk. Survived by his brother Lubomir, nieces Christi (Talal), Tamara (Erin); sisters-in law Lida (Trevor), Christine; extended family and friends in Canada, the United States and Ukraine whose lives he touched continuously through his inspiring acts, sense of humour and joie de vivre. Erast was born in Rivne, Ukraine in 1930.  He immigrated to Canada as a displaced person in 1948 with mother Maria, father Mychailo and brother Lubomir.  Erast graduated with a degree in Pharmacy from the University of British Columbia. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to become the founder, past President and Chairman of the Board of Medical Pharmacies Group Limited one of the largest providers of pharmaceuticals to Long Term Care facilities in Canada.  Erast has impacted innumerable lives through his leadership, generous societal contributions, philanthropy, charitable donations, visionary thinking and actions. During Ukraine’s proclamation of independence he served as President of Canadian Friends of Rukh for Canada. He wrote about this period in history in his memoire "My Wooden Suitcase." Erast was one of the founders and director of the Children of Chornobyl Candian Fund.  Since 2004, Erast has been the honorary Counsul of Ukraine in Canada.  His philanthropic activities were many.  He endowed a chair in the Ukrainian Canadian Studies at the University of Alberta.  The University of Alberta later awarded him with an honourary Doctorate of Laws degree for his humanitarian activities and advancement of Ukrainian studies. Upon the fall of the Soviet Union, Erast donated a building in Ottawa for the first Ukrainian Embassy in Canada. As a thank you to Canada for opening its doors to him and his family, he donated 550 acres of land for the East Cross Forest Conservation Area. Erast Huculak led by example and believed strongly in giving back to his country Canada, homeland Ukraine, and community.  He was a constant contributor to charitable organizations, schools, health institutions and democratic causes.  He purchased and donated the Huculak Centre for Plast Ukrainian Youth Association scouting, and community use. This humble man received many awards, certificates and official honours, some of which include:  Appointed to the Order of Canada in 2006;  Presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal;  Ukraine President's Medal of Merit 3rd degree;  Ukraine President's Medal of Merit 2nd degree; Medal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine; Prince Ostroh Gold Medal; Plast Orden of ‘Eternal Fire’ in Gold; Taras Shevchenko medal by the UCC. Along with his wife Yarmila, Erast has travelled to almost every corner of the Earth. Most recently he flew to Munich, Germany to receive his 3rd and final Honourary Doctorate degree.
Erast Huculak lived a remarkable life:  a life worth remembering.

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