We Remember

WITZKE, Nicholas Kevin Jake

March 25, 1988 — April 29, 2021

It is with heavy hearts that the family of Nicholas Witzke announce his passing after a courageous and inspiring 18-month journey with colorectal cancer. He left peacefully on the morning of April 29, 2021, at the age of 33, with his parents and two sisters at his side. Left to mourn this loss are his parents Kevin and Rita Witzke; sisters Karli Holy (Lukas) and Justine Powar (Mike); nephews Dante and Oscar; niece Simone; grandmothers Armerinda Russo and Dorothy Witzke; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. He was predeceased by his grandfathers, Jack Witzke (d. 2002), Amedeo Russo (d. 2010) and by his uncle, Joe Iafrancesco (d. 2018).

Nicholas was born in Kelowna, BC on March 25, 1988. He was an athlete most of his life, playing soccer as a child, skateboarding as a teenager, and cycling as a young adult. Cycling became Nic’s passion. He particularly enjoyed uphill climbing on his road bike, a true testament to his physical and mental strength and endurance.

Nicholas graduated from Okanagan College with a Degree of Business Administration in 2011 and pursued another one of his passions – coffee. He began at 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters in Vancouver; then went on to work for Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters as their west coast rep, in addition to being a founding partner of Enroute Coffee and Cycling Service Studio.

His passions for cycling and coffee gave him the opportunity to explore places like Guatemala, Panama, Italy, Columbia, and California.

After his diagnosis, Nicholas decided to chase a long-time dream of living in Italy and moved to the small town of Ortigia in Sicily. He spent the last 9 months there sipping espresso, cycling, jogging around the island, eating tomatoes, and sitting at the beach with friends. Perhaps, the greatest gifts from Sicily came from the cultural connection he experienced and the loving friendships he made.

Nicholas’ family would like to extend a huge thank-you to the doctors and nurses in Sicily, specifically the cancer clinic in Avola and the palliative home care team in Syracuse. In Kelowna, we are grateful to the doctors and nurses on 2 South at KGH who all provided outstanding care for Nic. There are too many to name, but you know who you are. Also, to our friends and family, we thank you for your unfailing love and support during these last 18 months.

In light of current Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no large funeral service at this time. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the BC Cancer Agency. Thank you.

 

Condolences from Ortigia:

Dear Rita, my deepest heartfelt condolences to you and Kevin and your whole family for the loss of your beautiful son. He taught me so much and made my life a whole lot better. I’m glad to have had the privilege of walking with him for an unfortunately all too short while. I’m sure we will walk a road together on a better day. Now I can only give you a long-distance hug and hope your grief will soon turn to strength and health. All my love. Tony…

In questi momenti non ci sono parole, ci uniamo al vostro dolore con il cuore gonfio di lacrime, lui un anima bella restera sempre nel nostro cuore e’stato un privilegio per noi conscerlo, fatevi forza avete fatto tutto quello che era possible per rendere l suoi giorni felici. Vi vogliamo bene. Francesca e Antonio. (Translation) In these moments there are no words, we join you in your pain with a heart swollen with tears, he is a beautiful soul who will always remain in our hearts it has been a privilege for us to know him, take strength you have done everything possible to make his happy days. We love you. – Francesca and Antonio.

Nicholas was not always part of the island, of this small village, but someone so special who came, left a big message about life, then disappeared. – Marcello

Kevin, mi dispiace molto per Nic. Ti abbraccio forte. Non dimentichero mai il tuo meraviglioso figlio. Oggi tutte la sicilia piange. – Carlo. (Translation) Kevin, I’m very sorry for Nic. A big bear hug. I will never forget your wonderful son. Today all of Sicily weeps. -Carlo

Mio caro Nicola… Dal paradiso leggerai di sicuro queste poche righe. Volevo che sapessi che il tuo coraggio e la tua speranza mi hanno dato tanto coraggio. Tu el la tua dolcissima mamma mi avete riempito il cuore di serenità, la vostra forza nell’affontare la terribile malattia che ti ha divorato sarà ricompensata dall’abbraccio che ora starai ricevendo dalla Vergine Maria in Paradiso dove ora tutto il dolore che hai patito si trasformerà in gioia. Tua mamma troverà la pace nel saperti ora felice. E io ti voglio e ti ho sempre volute un bene immense, ti ritroverò nell mie preghiera per te… -Padre Flavio (Translation): My dear Nicola… From heaven you will surely read these few lines. I wanted you to know that your courage and your hope have given me so much courage. You and your sweet mother have filled my heart with serenity, your strength in facing the terrible disease that has devoured you will be rewarded by the embrace that you are now receiving from the Virgin Mary in Heaven, where now all the pain you have suffered will turn into joy. Your mom will find peace in knowing you are happy now. And I want you to know that I have always loved you immensely, I will find you in my prayers for you… – Father Flavio

 

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BC Cancer Agency Link: www.bccancer.bc.ca

 


 


Condolences

  • Dave Korzinski says:

    Sending love to Kevin, Rita, Karli, Justine, their families and the rest of Nic’s friends and relatives in this time of mourning. Few people in my life have treated me with such kindness and brought me such inspiration as Nic. He was an incredible person and I will endeavor to carry a piece of his determination and joy with me always. I’m thankful that, as sad as it is to lose him, I was able to tell him this privately and to thank him, and that he left this world amid so much love. I’m happy he was able to pursue and enjoy true beauty in his final months in Italy. Best wish to the Witzkes.
    DK

  • Norm and Celeste Sawyer says:

    Nick was a remarkable man. All our memories of him are of fun and laughter. He blessed our family with his wonderful personality. We are better people to have known him. Our condolences to his whole family.

  • Sheldon and Helen says:

    Kevin, Rita and family, it is with great sadness that we pass on our sincere condolences upon hearing about Nicholas passing away. Life can deal us some horrible things but the passing of ones child has to be the most devastating a family has to endure. Our hearts go out to all of you as does our love…Sheldon and Helen

  • Amanda Kearns. says:

    Dear Justine and family:
    So very sorry to hear this news.
    May you have some comfort knowing the Nicholas is no longer in pain.
    He seemed like an amazing person who touch so many hearts.
    God blew Nicholas and you all xx

  • Michael Wetherill says:

    Dear Kevin, Rita, Justine and Karli
    I haven’t seen Nic in a very long time but it still hurt to hear that he had passed. Such was his effect on people. He was always making us laugh, or making us skate harder. He was good friend, attentive, genuine and we looked up to him. I’m sure he took that light and determination into his later life too. Sending love to your family on behalf of myself and the Redridge crew (circa 2007)… Hoping this makes you smile in hard times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYhcDv9xO44 or his personal part, which stands the test of time in my opinion…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5KjSyUVwQA

  • Sandra Bitcon says:

    Dear Kevin and Rita,
    We are sending you our heartfelt condolences on the passing of
    Nicholas. We had the privilege of meeting Nicholas several times over
    the years, in particular during road trips between Vancouver and Kelowna. Nicholas was kind in spirit, athletic and enthusiastic about cycling, and in particular, coffee, a passion we both shared. We enjoyed passing the time on our road trips talking about coffee and discussing the industry.
    We know Nicholas will be greatly missed as he touched so many people’s lives during his short time with us.
    He will always be with you, forever in your memories.
    Sincerely Rick, Sandra and the Bitcon family

  • Jasna Stojanovic says:

    Dear Justine and family,

    My deepest condolences. May your brother and son’s soul rest in eternal peace and his memory be with you forever.

  • Wendy Beaudoin says:

    So sorry for your loss Rita and Kevin. My prayers are with you and your family as you mourn the loss of your beloved Nic.

  • Jodie Sieben says:

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. We are sending our heartfelt condolences. How special he was able to fulfil a dream to live in Italy. Sincerely, Jodie (Lien) and Scott Sieben

  • Greg, Sandy, Ian and Cameron says:

    Our heartfelt sympathies to you and your family. We are deeply saddened by your loss but admire his courage and perseverance over the past year. He was truly blessed to be able to follow his dream of living in Sicily and have such strong family support and love.

  • Neil & Jacqui Sproule says:

    we send our deepest condolences to you and your family Kevin and Rita
    sincerely Neil and Jacqui Sproule

  • MP Tracy Gray says:

    I am very sorry for your loss and wish your family strength during this difficult time.
    Tracy Gray, Member of Parliament, Kelowna – Lake Country

  • Tayah Almond says:

    My deepest condolences. I had the honor of interviewing Nick on my podcast and I was deeply impacted by the way he lived his life and the wisdom he shared. I am so happy our paths crossed and will never forget him. He was the kind of person that made the world better just by being in it. Thinking of you all during this difficult time.

  • Ian Young says:

    Kevin, Rita, Justine, and Karli,
    Our hearts are with you. Nic was someone who was so extremely special to us, he was nothing short of a brother. I can only imagine how difficult this has been for your family – you have my sincerest condolences.
    I am so thankful for every moment I was able to spend with him over the years. You know this of course, but it bears repeating. Nic was the kind of person who would drop everything and anything to help out a friend. The kind of person to instil motivation where you’d think it could never be found. His willpower, determination, and passion for life is something that I will forever live in awe of. I am a better person for having known him.
    I have too many good memories of our time together to fit them all in this space, but one I like to think about often comes to mind. The attached photo is of the two of us after a ride up Burnaby Mountain a while back. This was one of my very first rides. About half-way up I was completely exhausted. Nic? Well as you can no doubt imagine, he lapped me several times with minimal effort, but with each lap he would cheer me on – all the way to the summit. As I experience future mountains, both literal and metaphorical, I know I will forever hear that familiar voice in my head. Nic was truly the “King of the Mountain” in every way, shape, and form.
    Ana and I send all the love we have to give to your family. We look forward to sharing more of our memories of Nic with you all in person one day soon. Be well.
    -Ian and Ana

  • Carolyn Van Buuren says:

    Dear Kevin and Rita, I am deeply saddened for you and the loss of your son. Sincerest condolences at this difficult time.

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