News & Events

JOHN SHANSKI May 30, 1941 - November 2, 2022

In the 11th hour of the second day, in the 11th month of the year 2022, John David Shanski departed with love and courage on a wondrous journey. He leaves behind his adored and loving family, "My darling wife Maureen", daughter Kristin, granddaughters Odette and Celeste, daughter Karen, Robin Lee, and grandsons Juca and Zeca, son Jonathan and grandson Caio.
"Johnny Shanski has been a nice guy ever since he was nine years old. He turned up at a little league try out broadly exhibiting the infectious smile that is his particular trademark. Sure, he made the team. He stole everybody's heart before he started stealing bases.
The following winter he decided he was going to be a hockey goalkeeper. In 1954 he went with the first western peewee team to play in the Goderich Ont. Tournament. They had trouble getting the puck past our Johnny, and our kids won!
At an early age, John excelled in all sports, especially football and hockey. There is a suspicion that football is John's greatest love. Without football at West Kildonan Collegiate, he then discovered there was a juvenile league. From there it was a short step to the St. James Rods and two National Championships.
At the University of Manitoba, he won the Most Outstanding athlete in both sports. In 64/65 the Bison Hockey team won The Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union Championship. The team was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. The University of Manitoba has now run out of athletic honours that it can bestow on John Shanski. (Bison's Nice Guy Finishes First, Written by Vince Leah 1963 - The Winnipeg Tribune)
John was one of 4 Canadian college students that were drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Although his "season" with the Bombers was brief long-time relationships and life lessons about commitment, teamwork and ethics would be passed on in "John-isms" to his children.
After University John was asked to join the Bison football coaching team, they won the Vanier Cup in 1969 and 1970 and were later inducted into the Manitoba Football Hall of Fame. Between sports and the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, John made lifelong friends.
In business, John bought Sprague Distributors from his father John senior, and under his direction, he grew the business and it became the largest cedar wholesaler in Western Canada. The smell of fresh-cut cedar lumber and siding in the warehouses was so captivating you could not help but stop and close your eyes when you walked through.
John loved the lake. He bought a sailboat and named it "The Ridiculous" even before he owned a place to park it at Lake of the Woods. Many a Saturday afternoon was spent with Maureen and the kids on board the yellow boat sailing straight into the wind. Hands down John's favourite place with his family was at the cottage he would build for them. John loved packing his family into a van, a train, or a plane and taking them on an adventure anywhere in the world. John was very proud and loved to watch his children at sports, on the field, on the ice, on the snow, on the court, on the water, and on the track.
John was a very special man. He was quick to share and lend a hand wherever needed. When Michael Gobuty approached John in 1977 to become an investor to keep the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg he did not hesitate. The Jets went on to win two more AVCO Cups and in 1979 The Jets became an NHL franchise.
John progressed from locker rooms to board rooms ranging from the arts to education. He was a member of the Board of St Paul's College from 1999 to 2009 being its chair from 2001 to 2009. He was instrumental in establishing the Foundation and Chair for Peace and Justice. He established an endowment fund and Bursary in the faculty of Architecture and a Bursary in Fine Arts. John was president of Musique Baroque Ensemble for 12 years. Board member Royal Winnipeg Ballet, representing the RWB School, and a Board member of The Royal Manitoba Theater Centre.
Forever the volunteer it did not stop there. He was also: Chairperson of Balmoral Hall School Board, Board member of St. John's Ravenscourt School, Chair of The Duke of Edinburgh Award in Manitoba, President of Winnipeg Rotary Club, Paul Harris Fellow, President of Delta Upsilon Fraternity, Member of Winnipeg Football Club, John Travers Cornwall VC Sea Cadets, Commodore Zig Zag Yacht, and finally Board Member Manitoba Forestry.
The day that Maureen asked John to coach the Gamma Phi Beta football team, a bond was formed - 56 years of love and that smile.... three children, a few dogs, rabbits, cats, and the most amazing five grandchildren whom he loved dearly. This Shanski team will last forever.
John was predeceased by his mother Olga "Sparky" in 1990 his father John in 1993 his sister Patricia Ann in 2005 and his brother Donald in 2017.
The family would like to thank all of John's outstanding coaches and the Staff of Riverview Health Centre for their care and kindness for the past four years.
The funeral service will be held on:
Saturday, November 26, 2:00 p.m.
St. Paul's College Chapel
The University of Manitoba
70 Dysart Road
Free parking is available across from St. Paul's College in Q Lot.
Masks are mandatory
We kindly request that in place of flowers donations can be made to The John Shanski Bursary Fund, The University of Manitoba, or U-Turn Parkinson's (204) 510-4869 www.uturnparkinson's.
Publish Date: Nov 19, 2022