Albert Edward Nyirfa was born to John and Pearl Nyirfa on February 12, 1935 at Scott’s Point on Wakaw Lake. He grew up on the farm five miles southwest of Wakaw and went to school at Dunafoldvar School. Dad met the love of his life, Enid Avery, at a hockey game in Prince Albert. They married in 1960 and together had six children, which they raised in the home they designed themselves near Dad’s childhood home. Dad farmed with his father for many years, and together with Grandpa and Mom, they built a successful mixed farming operation, and were especially proud of their cattle and horses. Dad’s work experiences also included income tax preparation for numerous farmers in the Wakaw area, working with a seismic survey crew and building the Pioneer grain elevator in Wakaw. Dad was actively involved in the Knights of Columbus serving the community in numerous functions that took him to Uranium City and New York City in the 1960’s. He attained the highest designation as 4th Degree Knight and served in numerous honour guards until recently. After losing Mom to cancer in 1980, Dad changed his life path to focus on raising his young family. He rented his farmland and worked for 10 years as Superintendant of Wakaw Lake Regional Park, managing both the park and Wakaw Lake Golf Course, a job he truly loved and for which he became very well known. Over the years, he organized multicultural park events and celebrations which drew thousands to the lake. Dad married Deanna Begrand in 2006. They spent many wonderful years together and travelled extensively throughout Europe. He especially loved visiting Budapest where he found his father’s birth place and original homestead. He was very proud of his Hungarian heritage and learned to cook Hungarian dishes. Dad enjoyed golfing, gardening and his farmyard, which he cared for meticulously. His greatest passion was downhill and cross-country skiing with his family, each year taking us on ski vacations to numerous Canadian and U.S. resorts. He was also a certified novice ski instructor for many years at Minatinis Ski Resort, and taught hundreds of school children how to ski. He carved out cross-country ski trails on his farm and competed in numerous loppets up to 60 kilometers.
Dad adored each of his children and his grandchildren. The entire family often travelled together and he was both a father and a good friend to each of us. He loved reading, especially history and biographies, singing, music, dancing and theatre. Family gatherings always included music and sing-songs with his grandchildren. Dad was concerned about social justice, equality and poverty. He received the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, bestowed by the Governor General of Canada. He also served on the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission’s Saskatoon Anne Frank Committee and various library boards and multicultural councils. On Canada Day 1971, Dad had the honour of introducing Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker at a celebration in Wakaw. He later received a personal thank you note from the Prime Minister of which he was very proud. He received a national certificate of appreciation for his support of Katimavik and led the development of the Chapel at Wakaw Lake Regional Park. Dad spent his final year and a half living in Saskatoon at Preston Park 2 Retirement Residences where he made many new memories and friends. He especially enjoyed the activities, weekly outings, happy hours, and sing-songs at Preston Park. You could often find Dad at McNally Robinson where he loved to sit and read, have coffee and dessert, and meet and talk to new people.
A cancer survivor, Dad ultimately passed away due to heart failure on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. In his last weeks and days, he was lovingly cared for by his children, the staff at Preston Park 2, and the wonderful staff and volunteers at Saskatoon Home Care and Prairie Hospice Society. He passed peacefully with all of his children, and his daughters- and sons-in-law surrounding him, with his favourite music playing in the background.
Dad will be lovingly remembered by his children and grandchildren including: Craig (Wanda); Darryl (Laurie), Jack and Robbie; Blaine (Michelle), Jordan and Amanda; Carolynn (Kelly Oleksyn); Leanne (Scott Kirchgessner), Payton, Noah and Ashleigh; and Wade, Shaelyn and Logan. He also leaves behind his sister Irene, his brother Bob and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents John and Pearl, his wife Enid, his brother Ernie, a sister Marguriette in infancy, a sister Violet, and nephew Michael Nerfa.
A Prayer Vigil was held Sunday, July 29th at 7:30 pm and the Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, July 30th at 10:30 am. Both Services were held at St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church in Wakaw with Rev. Fr. Phong Tran as celebrant. Following a luncheon with friends and family, Dad was laid to rest next to Mom at the St. Theresa Roman Catholic Cemetery. The family wishes to thank everyone who cared for Dad in his final months. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Dad’s name to Prairie Hospice Society Inc. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Marc Blondeau of Kushneryk Funeral Service, Wakaw, SK, 306-233-4403.