Obituary for Stephen Ian Hnatko
Steve passed away peacefully at the Edmonton General Hospital, in the warm embrace of his family, who were by his side, late Saturday morning.
Steve is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary, who was constantly by his side these past three years. He is also survived by his sons, Dr. Gary (Diane), and Randy (Dee); grandchildren, Stephen (Blake), Christopher, and Alexandra; two great-grandchildren, Holly and Kenley; brother Fred (Lillian); and numerous nieces and nephews.
Steve was born in Western Ukraine, immigrating to Canada with his mother at age nine to join his father who had arrived seven years earlier. His father's work on the railroad necessitated numerous moves of home and school, but Steve excelled academically in spite of these obstacles.
The family eventually homesteaded near Westlock where Steve helped break land for his father and neighbors. He left the farm to complete high school at Victoria Composite where he was active in sports.
Steve's University education included a B.Sc. and M.A. in bacteriology at the University of Alberta and University of Toronto respectively. Steve completed his medical degree at the University of Alberta in 1955. Additional training and certificates followed from both Canadian and American authorities. He was a Captain in the Canadian Medical Core. He supported his early education by working as a high rigger.
Steve was an avid learner, educator, and researcher. First and foremost he was a compassionate, dedicated and caring physician and a true advocate for patient care whether as a GP or consultant. From teaching newcomers English to establishing courses in medical microbiology at NAIT and the University of Alberta, he taught countless numbers of nurses, dentistry students, dental hygiene students, lab techs, medical students and residents. Steve was a highly regarded teacher and influenced many over their careers.
At the request of the Dean of Medicine, Steve became the Medical Director of the Misericordia Hospital in the 1960's. Subsequently Steve became the Medical Lead of bacteriology and infection control at the Royal Alexandra hospital, a position he held until his retirement. Throughout his career Steve was the Director of Bacteriology at Sam Hanson and Associates Laboratories. His published research focused on tuberculosis and infection control.
Steve was a dedicated theatre supporter, sports fan, baseball coach and bowler. He was a decades-long season ticket holder to numerous Edmonton organizations.
The family would like to extend its deep felt gratitude for the kind and compassionate care provided to Steve by Dr. Chris Lord and all of the staff on unit 12y at the Edmonton General Hospital. We also extend a very special thank you to Crystal, Katherine and Amy, Steve's Personal Care Attendants, for their loving devotion, companionship and gentle care over the past three years.
A Prayer Service will be held on Wednesday June 7 at 7:00 p.m. and a Funeral Mass on Thursday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. Both services will be held at St Basil's Ukrainian Catholic Church, 7007-109 Street, Edmonton. Interment to follow in St. Michael’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kidney Foundation or to a charity of your choosing.