June 4, 1940 – April 25, 2020
Born in Przewoloka, Poland, Gene lived a life full of self determination and the pursuit of freedom.
Coming to Ottawa at an early age, Gene had to adjust to a new language and way of life. He did just this, earning his pilot’s license and traversing across Canada with the mother of his three children, Emily Drzymala. Eventually the family landed in Whitehorse, Yukon in 1969 (likely the first person brave enough to bring a Mercedes Diesel sedan to the far north) where Gene made roots and connections that would last a lifetime.
Gene worked as a helicopter pilot with what was then called Trans North Turbo Air. He left as the Chief Pilot four years later to become the co-owner of his first helicopter, a Bell 47 and growing the business to owning three more. He later acquired a Red Hughes 500 that he flew until retirement. Captain garlic â€” known to love garlic and eat onions like an apple â€” was reputable as a fearless, practical and meticulous pilot, always safety first. He loved the freedom of flying in the Yukon wild and has shared many colourful stories of his time there.
Later, while he was in the northern Yukon, he met his beloved Sharon (Hawke, July 3, 1954 – February 14, 2020) with whom he would share the next 40 years of his life in perfect tandem living on Salt Spring Island, BC.
Gene eventually stopped flying and transferred his skill set to a life that alternated between summers in the north farming and boating, and many other intrepid traveling adventures. He and Sharon provided love and hospitality for each other, their family and friends. Included great pride in being a part of the Salt Spring Island Sailing Club.
Gene will be remembered for his many stories, good nature, mile-wide smile and love that swept over his friends and family. Gene passed away peacefully with a smile on his face as his dear Sharon “Dovie” welcomed him into heaven. When asked if he was a ‘believer,’ he answered “just in case” with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.
Gene was very proud of, and is survived by his three children Mitchell (Carrie), Julie (Cindy), Suzanne (John), his eight grandchildren Lydia, Hannah, Sephira, Merlin, Bowen, Harper, Riley and Cash and his great grand child, Norah.
Service information will be provided at a later date through Hayward’s Funeral Services.Obituary
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