We Remember

MANDRUSIAK, Ernie

A man of honour, integrity and efficiency, Ernie kissed and hugged his little family (Iris, Kim and Tim, and golden retrievers Emma and Laser) and quietly slipped away on October 21, 2021, after only 2 weeks of rapid decline. A special thanks to home hospice nurses, Dr Khoo, Cancer Clinic staff, and Dr L. Bobyn for the past 8 years of faithful care.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Ernie grew up in Boyle, AB, where his father had a John Deere dealership. This gave Ernie a taste for business, detail and organization. With only grade 10 formal education, he absorbed know how from many jobs: TD bank, U I C office, northern warehouses, the DEW line and the beginning of IBM with their massive first computers who offered him a full scholarship to UBC and a company career. But restless Ernie declined, went to Dawson Creek, BC as Park Hotel accountant, and married Iris Lehmann in 1963. A longtime friend and mentor, Mike McGillivray, CA, invited Ernie to join him in the Prince George, BC office of Deloitte Accounting. Next was a stint with Ben Ginter construction, while daughter Karmel was born, and Iris quit her nursing career. After that, the family moved to Smithers, BC, and Ernie worked with Denny Moore at Northern Interior Forest Products. But, a chance to build a hotel in Fernie, BC meant 2-years of busy life for the family in this mountain town. The hotel sold, so finally they got a permanent home in Kelowna, BC, where Ernie built and operated the original Mainline Rental on Spall Road until it sold. Then he got back into hotels: the Klondike Inn, Whitehorse, Yukon – a wonderful success story in the 70s and sold to a cruise line; as well as having made investments in a Terrace hotel and the Simon Fraser Inn, Prince George.

With time to spare, Ernie turned to horses after daughter Karmel’s keen interest in riding. A trip to Spruce Meadows, a young Hanoverian purchase, and the ideas flowed. Soon Ernie built an impressive arena, barn, and residence on 15 acres in Winfield, BC called Westfield Farms. He flew to Germany, bought 6 young horses, hired a trainer and helper, and showing (complete with a 4-horse trailer) began. This was 1982 to 1984, and the whole economy crashed, ours included.

With nothing but 4 horses left and ourselves, we went to a broken down farm in Surrey, BC. Karmel went to college, worked, and trained.  And, Ernie did short stints at different Keg Restaurants as a troubleshooter. Finally, through friends, and RBC loans, he acquired PacDeck a remanufacturing plant in Maple Ridge, BC. Ernie worked hard learning and planning in this new industry, always relying on his business knowledge, until it became a success. He owned it for 30 years.

Ernie always made time, all his life, to travel: several times to Europe with friends and family, to Australia’s Gold Coast, and in recent years, cruises with friends. He also loved to ski, with past condos, at Big White and Blackcomb in BC. He also enjoyed years of golf in Scottsdale, Az.

Ernie was a charming, friendly man who loved one on one conversations and storytelling. He was always generous and loyal to his many friends near and far, and was a mentor to his extended family. A good bottle of red wine, a dear friend, and time made Ernie happy.

We miss his love, we are so thankful he was ours.

Ernie is survived by his wife Iris Anne; daughter Karmel Ivanna Thompson (Tim); brothers Joe Mandrusiak (Mary) and Ken Mandrusiak (Darlene); nieces Sharon Mandrusiak, Brandy Mandrusiak, and Kara Aspden (Jed); nephews Greg Mandrusiak (Sally), Grant Miller(Teresa), and Ken Miller (Melody); uncle Tony Czaban (Nina); and many other cousins, great nieces, and great nephews.

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