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Russell Letawsky

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Russell Letawsky

September 22, 1942 - July 7, 2019


 “Amor fati” – love your fate

It is with great sadness that the family and friends of Russell Letawsky announce his passing. After a long and colourful life filled with adventure, Russell passed away peacefully in his armchair at his home earlier this month. He was 76. Russell was born in Edmonton in 1942 to a Ukrainian farming family in Northern Alberta. He was in the middle of five kids, two boys and three girls. Together the siblings helped out with their parents on their wheat farm in tiny Skaro, Alberta, a dot on the map an hour northeast of Edmonton. When Russell left Alberta as a young man, he led a varied life as a salesman and photographer, which led him to Vancouver, Toronto, and finally to the Powell River area, which had been Russell’s home for over 40 years. To reach the coast, Russell hiked across the Coast Mountains in the summer of 1977, beyond any trail or road, accompanied by his girlfriend at the time, Audrey Syms. Soon after reaching Toba Inlet, and the Lund area, he fell in love with Desolation Sound, where he became known to many as “The Hermit of Desolation Sound.” For 10 years, Russell lived completely off the grid in a small, homemade cabin on the shore of a small cove in Malaspina Inlet, near Grace Harbour, during the 1980s. Russell’s time living in the bush has been documented in the book Adventures in Solitude by Grant Lawrence, on a CBC Radio series, and in the Powell River Peak newspaper. Russ’s good and helpful friend Brian Couche attempted and succeeded the same hike in 2012 with another man, following in the footsteps of his mentor. In the early 1990s, Russell moved back to town and landed a job with Powell River Taxi. Driving taxi became Russell’s career for over 20 years, which he called the best job he ever had. Many patrons and staff of the Lund Pub will always remember the bearded Russell as the pub’s resident barstool philosopher on Friday evenings, engaging those around him in intellectual conversation, friendly debate, outrageous stories, chess, pool, euchre, and playful flirting. His friendly smile, warm laugh and the twinkle in his eye with be sorely missed. Russell leaves behind sisters Gladys Waddell and Sheila Butler, brother-in-law Matthew Pongracz, husband of sister Gloria Pongracz (predeceased). He also leaves behind Jean Burk, his loving best friend and hiking partner for 21 years, and his beloved blue-eyed dog Sky, who was found by his side. At Russell’s request, there will be no funeral service. There will be an informal Beer O’Clock gathering for Russell at the Lund Pub Friday, July 19, at 4 pm for family and friends. On Saturday, September 7, at 2 pm, there will be a celebration of life for Russell Letawsky hosted by Grant Lawrence, also at the Lund Pub.


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From: Stubberfield Funeral Home

Stubberfield Funeral Home Ltd. Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Judith Culver
Relation: Special Friend

I will miss you my Dear Friend.
I love you.💓

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4712 Marine Avenue
Powell River, BC V8A 3B7

Nicole Quigley
5300 Yukon Avenue
Powell River, BC V8A 4H4

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