Steve Frank Spisak was born on January 24, 1932. At 89 years young, he did not believe he fit in with the walker and cane set. To prove it, he survived cancer, sailed through multiple surgeries over the past few years, frequently fought and overcame numerous health issues and started a Facebook page. It was not age that defined his life nor natural causes that brought its end. Along with so many others, Steve was blind-sided by the deadly virus plaguing the world. Friends and family believed his strength and resolve would carry him through as it had before. Instead, he left us prematurely on February 10, 2021 after a 17 day battle every hour for every breath against this insideous and indefatigable enemy.
The heart of this strength undoubtedly was the courage and hard work of his parents as they forged a life in the harsh cllimate of rural Alberta while the economy collapsed under the Great Depression. Steve Sr immigrated from Hungary to Canada in 1928. It took almost 3 years hoeing beets before his wife could join him. After leaving her flourishing vegetable garden and walnut trees, Helen looked out at the flat dry bleak prairies of Medicine Hat and thought she had arrived at the end of the world. Steve Jr began his life in a frigid and drafty shack built for laborers near Picture Butte and the hard impoverished conditions of his newly immigrated parents. The Lethbridge hospital refused to admit Helen even though she was about to give birth to Steve as they did not have any money. Steve Sr had to leave her to find the funds needed to pay up front. Thankfully he was able to return with cash and in time.
And thankfully after many years of hard labor and with Steve Sr's natural talent as an entrepreneur, their circumstances improved. He recognized an opportunity to service farmers who could not afford to transport their crops to market during the depression. He purchased his first truck which he and Helen loaded with hay bales together. This busines grew with more trucks and hired employees until the economy changed and Steve Sr started his next enterprise on his own farm. Steve Jr left farm work for the city but maintained this spirit of entrepreneurship. After many jobs including car salesman at various Lethbridge dealerships, he started his own businesses; first a gas service station, a mechanic's shop and ultimately a successful tire franchise.
Just like his father, Steve worked hard to support his family. He met his future wife Leona, an immigrant from Poland with her own story, at the Trianon Ballroom. They were engaged within 6 months, had their first daughter 1 year later and their second daughter in another 3 years. Many thought Steve looked like Clark Gable. Pictures of them together could have been of Hollywood starlets attending a gala premiere. They held hands for almost 50 years until Leona passed after a long and courageous battle with cancer and other health issues.
Despite all of these hardships, Steve enjoyed life. He had a curiosity about how things were put together and dissassembled his first bike and later car engines. Eventually, he learned how to reassemble them, a talent that became useful in his mechanic's shops. He loved a good deal and was a regular at auctions. He had a passion for golf and formed lasting friendships with his golfing buddies. In addition to his loving daughters Denise (Vail) Johnson and Annette (Walter) Perrier Williams, Steve is survived by his sisters Margaret Eger and Irene (Colin) Turner and his grandsons, Timothy (Sylvia) Perrier and Stephen (Emiline) Perrier, nieces and nephews, their children and his lifelong friends.
A celebration of life will be held in Lethbridge on a future date when he will take his final place of rest next to his beloved wife, Leona.
To send flowers to Steve's family, please visit our floral store.