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April 1, 1944 ~ April 10, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old
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Russel Mawer April 1, 1944 – April 10, 2023
Born in Calgary, to Kay and Barton Mawer, Dad was predeceased by his father who was in service and did not survive to raise him. However, Kay and her son Russ, moved to Carnduff, SK where Kay was employed as a housekeeper. It was here that she met and married Chris Hansen. Dad’s siblings were Glen, Linda and Shirley – all of whom predeceased him. Dad grew up in Carnduff and attended high school there but ventured out to the University of Saskatoon to secure his Bachelor of Education degree.
This was the beginning of a long and dedicated career of being a math teacher. He worked in various schools in Pangman, Regina and Indian Head. This suited his personality well as he had a systematic, ordered approach in this occupation. He also was successful in breaking through the chatter of adolescent minds, with his deep voice and commanding presence at the front of the classroom. Many of his students grew to appreciate that he had managed to deliver the lessons successfully and many have come forward since his passing to express that once they got to know him better, only his exterior seemed gruff; that his hope for their success was the force that fueled his teaching style.
Dad’s first marriage produced two lovely daughters, Christie and Shari, who have been a source of pride to him for as long as I remember. He became my step-dad in 1975 when he married Gail and adopted more daughters; the two of us, Shanna and Melanie. When Melanie was diagnosed with the brain cancer that would take her from us so early, his support and grief was palpable, and I saw clearly, that he had a father’s heart for us. I started referring to him as ‘Dad’ (after 45 years!) rather than his given name. He recognized the significance of this gesture, and it moved him.
Russ enjoyed trap shooting, (which was readily available while living on the acreage in Wolseley) and liked hunting, fishing and curling. I was sometimes taken along on hunting trips to walk around the pond and scare the geese. We tried several times, but either I scared them too early – or they did not fly over his lookout point! He developed some close friendships with neighboring farmers and the teaching communities in the area. He thought he was poor at maintaining these relationships over the years, but could also pick up where he left off with the infrequent phone call among his friends and family. These touch-points really bolstered him, and I believe, also those he spoke with.
Many of you are aware that Dad struggled with an alcohol addiction for much of his life. This affected his relationships and some outcomes in his life journey, but he persevered to overcome and improve, resulting in periods of his life that were quite positive and others that were not entirely so. I mention this as a reminder that every individual carries their own personal burdens and I believe that Dad always had honorable and good intentions. I have heard over and over, that Dad had a gruff exterior but a soft heart. I believe that he did do the best he could, with what he knew and understood and he will be missed.