Farming Rural 07

Elmer Bezborotko

July 16, 1942 ~ July 17, 2020 (age 78)


 Elmer's service will be livestreamed from Christie's Facebook page at 10 am on Saturday, August 1.  You do not need a Facebook account to view the service.  Go to Christie's website homepage and click on the Facebook icon.  The service broadcast will show up at service time.     

   Elmer Bezborotko and his twin sister Rose were born on July 16th 1942 on the family farm in the Parkerview district. Elmer being the strongest of the two survived, while Rose passed away. Rose was laid to rest at Saint John Suchava Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery. Elmer was the youngest of four children born to Nick and Dora (Marianchuk) Bezborotko. He attended Okno and Warren schools in the district with his older siblings Allen and Elsie.

     Elmer worked for neighboring farmers using horses to clear the brush cut logs for rails and cordwood.  His love of horses was evident in the stories he would tell. As farming became modernized he drove steel wheel tractors, used binders, hay rakes and plows. He worked for Highway transport, delivering groceries with his brother in law, William Gorelitza,  for one summer. Elmer drove semis on the open highway, however he felt that living out of a truck was not a life he wanted. He purchased a quarter of land, bought cattle and continued farming with his parents and brother.

      Not all was hard work, there were ukrainian celebrations with family and friends, country dances, draft horse competitions, hockey games on the slough, and at the Yorkton Arena.

      Elmer was one to help those in need, one time offering 40 acres of land to his uncle John Bezborotko, to help with his new start in Saskatchewan after relocating from Ontario. Elmer began delivering farm eggs and produce to Insinger. In doing this, he met a mother raising four girls Beverley, Donna, Shirley and Frances, single handedly, as she had no means to return home to her family in British Columbia. Elmer helped her as much as he could, even offering to cover her bus fare as a means to help her. This is how he met Rae, their life long story together beginning after she decided to stay with him in Saskatchewan  and not return home to British Columbia.

      Elmer’s most cherished memory was of Rae wearing a yellow sundress, picking prairie flowers the day she arrived at the farm. Three years later, on July 6, 1974, at the Theodore United church they were happily married. From that day forward, the two were inseparable, as they celebrated 43 years of love and devotion together. Elmer became a husband to Rae, and father to her four girls, loving each and every one of them unconditionally as his own.

     Elmer and Rae raised cattle, chickens, horses and rabbits on their grain farm, instilling the values of hard work and appreciation  for nature into their children as well as their grandchildren. His love and respect for nature was evident in his decision to donate 10 acres of his own land to become a wildlife preserve in Saskatchewan.

      After the girls had graduated and moved away from home, change was on the horizon. The farms was sold and Elmer, Rae, Allan and their father Nick moved to the small community of Theodore Saskatchewan.  Elmer had made was promise to his mother before she passed, that he would take care of family. His door was always open to visitors, especially his sister Elsie, her husband Mike and their children, as well as many Bezborotko, Hubelit, Hluchman and Marianchuk relatives. Elmer and Rae took care of Elmer’s father Nick after he had suffered a massive stroke, doing their best to care for him until he passed away.

      While living in Theodore, Elmer and Allan would work together, side by side, doing yard maintenance,  mowing lawns, trimming trees, and shoveling snow. Not only in the town of Theodore, but surrounding cemeteries  as well.

Elmer always loved to joke and tease family and friends, often stringing you along in conversation, only to pull your leg  with the punchline at the end. Theodore coffee row was usually a twice a day, daily constitution and conversation. He always attended community events, such as hockey games, spring teas, fall suppers, auction sales, mudbog days and any good time to be had in the area.

     Elmer’s love of nature was evident as blue jay’s and foxes would frequently stop by his home to say hello. He took great pride in his bountiful garden, always flourishing with fresh vegetables and vibrant flowers, exchanging vegetable seeds and sharing the bountiful harvest for the year with family and friends.

On April 11, 2017, Rae unexpectedly  passed away during the night, Elmer cradling Rae in his arms as she passed while waiting for help to arrive. Although this scenario is highly romanticized, Elmer later said that this was the hardest thing to bear. In May of 2020, Elmer was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer, for six weeks he maintained  his independence and remained in his own home.  He often stated “If I need help, I’ll ask.” In many daily phone conversations he would state he was “as good as can be expected" when asked how he was feeling. Now we must carry on as good as can be expected; this was Elmer’s last life lesson for his girls. Now we lay Elmer to rest, still so much to be said, so much more left unsaid. Elmer passed away peacefully on July 17, 2020 at the Theodore  Health Center, he was 78 years of age.

      Elmer was predeceased by his wife of 43 years Rae, his parents Nick and Dora Bezborotko,  his siblings Elsie(Mike) Byski, Alan Bezborotko, Rose Bezborotko; Rae’s parents Emil and Viola Olson; her siblings Leigh Olson, Carol Vieau, Donna Olson, brother in law Ed Magson, son in-law George James, great grandsons Jared Bellegarde and Rowan Bellegarde.

     Elmer leaves to mourn his passing and cherish his memories his four daughters, Beverley (Leo) Hubelit, Donna (Alvin) Allary, Shirley James, and Frances (Robert) Bernhardt. He will be missed by his grandchildren Bruce (Paula) Hamilton, Kelly Hamilton, Laura (Bobby Pollon) Hamilton, Raechelle (Francis Bellegarde) Allary, Tleesha (Devin Shick) Allary, Thomas James, Jeremy (Angie Goulet) Bernhardt, Zarysa Bernhardt, and his great grandchildren Skyla Cary & Kyra Hack, Simon Hamilton-Pollon, Francis & Paisley Bellegarde, Adriana & Dawson James. Elmer is survived by his sister in laws Joyce Magson, Shiela Olson, son in law Richard Hamilton as well as his nieces Grace Gorelitza, Adeline Gorelitza, Valerie (Don) Nerbas and nephews Eric Gorelitza, and Rick (Bonnie) Gorelitza, great grand nieces and  as well as many other cousins, family and friends.

Elmer's service will be livestreamed from Christie's Facebook page at 10 am on Saturday, August 1.  You do not need a Facebook account to view the service.  Go to Christie's website homepage and click on the Facebook icon.  The service broadcast will show up at service time.  

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elmer Bezborotko, please visit our floral store.


Private Service

Christie's Funeral Home & Crematorium
121 Palliser Way
Yorkton, SK S3N 4C6

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