September 8, 2022
It is with heartfelt sadness that we announce Leonard Arthur Gafka passed away at the age of 89 on September 8, 2022. He was predeceased by his parents, Wilhelmina (Hohn) & Adolph Gafka, his beloved wife Olesia (Babuniak) Gafka, sisters Glenna (Gafka) Paquette & Hazel (Gafka) Dandeneau, & brother-in laws Albert Paquette & William Dandeneau. Leonard is survived by his daughters Valerie (Don), Gail (Hi), & Karen (Richard), grandchildren Jenny (Eric), Freedom, Adam (Brianna), Jacob, Jack, Kate, & 4 great grandchildren Presley, Vincent, Jaxxon, & Logan, & nephews & niece Rick, Ralph, & Hazel Paquette.
Len was born to a farming family in Vegreville, AB. As a boy, he worked hard on the farm, although his sisters may chuckle & say he hardly worked. As a teenager, he quickly became one of Vegreville’s top hockey players that took him to a training offer with the NHL’s New York Rangers. As a young adult, he pursued a more stable career path & was hired as a telegrapher by Canadian National Railways (CN) in Edmonton in 1952.
There he soon met stenographer Olesia Babuniak – a beautiful, kind, & outgoing young woman who became the love of his life & they were married on December 3, 1960. They were married 58 years before her passing in 2018. Len’s advancing career with CN took him across Alberta then to CN’s Headquarters in Montreal where he retired after 37 years’ service. The warmth of BC’s west coast brought them to retire in Nanaimo, BC where they bought l& & built a home overlooking the Straight of Georgia. Len loved to golf, play darts, & garden. He invested countless hours researching our family’s ancestry & wrote a genealogy book which is a priceless jewel for generations to come. Len planned many trips; he & Olesia travelled across Europe, Canada & the USA. Both Len & Olesia joined the Nanaimo Bowling Club & played on teams with friends for many years, where Len was also an Umpire.
Len dedicated his life to the well-being of his family; no words can express how much he is cherished. Len was a social person who loved the company of family & friends. He always made his mark with his fantastic, dry sense of humour. Len’s smiles shone on his face & sparkled in his bright blue eyes. He loved music & rose to any chance to dance. Handsome beyond words, our father was brave, selfless, devoted, thoughtful, candid, witty, gentle & kind. While his passing signifies the end of a generation, we will strive to continue his legacy & ensure our family remains connected now & always.
Our family extends our sincere gratitude to the dedicated team at Avenir Memory Care in Nanaimo including all the nurses & aids who cared for Len, & to Dr. Fletcher & Dr. Juralowicz.
At Leonard’s request, a private celebration is being planned for a future date. Condolence cards for a Memory Book can be mailed to 4650 223A Street, Langley, BC V2Z 1M9
Dad, we will cherish you for eternity, until we’re together again. We love you – we love you – we love you.
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