Ben Doliszny Death, Obituary: Benjamin Walter Doliszny died peacefully at his home in St. Catharines, Ontario on January 30, 2022, in his 99th year. Although he is loved and will be missed, Ben lived a full life and we want to share and celebrate his remarkable story. As a 6-year old, Ben crossed the Atlantic from his native Ukraine as an unaccompanied minor, to become a denizen of one of Toronto’s immigrant neighborhoods. He held summer jobs that shaped his sense of self, notably: serving as a kitchen boy at the Bigwin Inn; milking cows as a farmhand at a dairy farm outside Toronto; and, bagging groceries. He was an avid football player (and erstwhile student) at several Canadian universities. Despite a few false starts he ultimately became an excellent lawyer, known for his honesty and wise counsel. Throughout all his adventures, Ben focused on his family and his beloved Ukrainian community. He was a fun-loving, storytelling, generous soul with an encyclopedic memory for the interesting events that comprised his life, particularly his early years in Ukraine and Toronto.
Ben Doliszny Biography
Ben was born on April 3, 1923, in Yabloniv, then part of Poland, now in Ukraine. Following immigration to Canada, his family settled in the Junction Triangle neighborhood of Toronto. Here he attended Perth Avenue Elementary School and Bloor Collegiate Institute. He quickly developed his lifelong love and affinity for the Ukrainian Catholic Church and embraced his Ukrainian heritage. Ben loved his new life as a Canadian and took advantage of all it had to offer, remaining a proud Ukrainian Canadian for his entire life!
During his youth, Ben attended the Ukrainian school, “Prosvita”, and engaged in Ukrainian dancing, youth choirs, and theatrical groups. Gentle Ben, as he was known, was a 6’4”, powerful man with a gentle heart (unless you opposed him on the gridiron). He was a natural athlete, playing baseball, basketball, hockey and football on numerous high-school, community (1942 Toronto Oakwood Indians), and university squads (1947-48 University of Toronto Varsity Blues’ Football team, 1949-1952 Queen’s University Golden Gaels Football). He played squash and competitive handball and was passionate about golf. Ben was a long-standing member of the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club. When his playing days were over, he enjoyed watching any and all televised sporting events, especially CFL football.
Ben loved to dance and, as a young man, frequented Toronto’s numerous dance pavilions that included the Palais Royale, Palace Pier, and Sunnyside Pavilion. When he regaled us with stories of big bands, seeing Duke Ellington, you could almost hear the band play.
Ben enjoyed reading and started each day by perusing the sports and obituary sections of the Globe and Mail and the St. Catharines Standard. Even late in life he remained curious about and interested in the broader world.
Upon discharge from the Royal Canadian Army in 1946, Ben enrolled in Law at the University of Toronto, where his interest in academics took a backseat to his love of football. It was also in that year, at a Ukrainian Catholic youth conference in Winnipeg, that Ben’s life changed by an encounter with Mary Wityk, a nurse in training who was to become his bride. With Mary as his partner, motivator and guide, he enrolled at Queen’s and then Dalhousie University where he successfully completed his law degree. After being called to the Bar in both Nova Scotia and Ontario in 1955, he and Mary moved to St. Catharines, Ontario where he practiced law for 36 years. He became Queen’s Counsel in 1973 and later sat on the bench in Small Claims Court.
Between 1956 and 1959 Ben and Mary welcomed 3 children – Bonnie, Kathie and Gregory, who would become the centre of their lives. Through Ukrainian activities such as Saturday school (Ridna Shkola), dancing and Plast scouting, music lessons, sports and car trips to Florida, their family thrived in St. Catharines. In 1979, Mary opened a shop, Ukrainian Treasures, and Ben became an honorary sales associate and ambassador for the Ukrainian culture. He took every opportunity to inform shop visitors about Ukrainian culture, history, religion and politics.
Ben was a loving and supportive husband and father, a devoted dido to his grandchildren and respected and admired uncle, friend and colleague. His wisdom, counsel and guidance were sought by many.
Ben worked tirelessly for the Ukrainian community. He served in various capacities at the international, national, provincial and local levels. He was an executive council member of the Ukrainian World Congress, national president of the Ukrainian Catholic Council of Canada (1968-1971), long-term president of the St. Catharines branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, an active member and legal advisor for Sts. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in St. Catharines, president of the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of St. Catharines, as well as a member of the organization’s National Executive. Ben served as president of the Ukrainian Professional’s and Businessmen’s Club (Niagara Region) and a member of the Ukrainian senior’s organization, Myrhorod. He was the Branch Secretary for the Ukrainian National Association’s Branch 427 for many years. He was a founding member of the St. Catharines Folk Art’s Council and was on the Board of Directors for over 10 years. For these many contributions, Ben was awarded the Shevchenko Medal which is the highest form of recognition granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
Ben was not only a committed advocate for all things Ukrainian, he was also very involved in local, municipal and provincial community organizations, as well as various charitable and service organizations and clubs in the St. Catharines and the Niagara region. He was a long-standing member of the Knights of Columbus. In recognition of his contributions to the community, Ben received the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 1979 and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2003.
Ben Doliszny Cause Of Death
Ben was predeceased by his beloved wife of 57 years, Mary (Wityk) in 2007. He is fondly remembered by his loving children, Bonnie, Kathie (Stephen Archer) and Greg (Julie) and adoring grandchildren, Melana (Erik Reiersen) and Thomas Tysowsky, Elizabeth, Benjamin and Anya Archer and Matthew (Marianne Holovach) and Luke (Gabrielle) Doliszny, sisters-in-law Ludmilla Wityk and Judy Farrell, nieces and nephews, Michael (Kim) Kuchar, Jeanne (Philip Sissons, deceased) Kuchar, Laryssa (Yuri) Tarnowecky, Michael (Christine) Wityk, Sean (Kelli Adams) Wityk, Tim Wityk, David Wityk and grand-nieces and nephews. Ben was predeceased by his parents, his sister Patricia Kuchar, his brothers-in-law John and Peter Wityk and his nephew, Peter Kuchar.
The family wishes to express a sincere thank you to Ben’s care giver, Joan Longos, the staff at Linhaven Adult Day Program and the many PSWs for their care and compassion.
Visitation will take place on Thursday, March 24th, 2022 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm with Panachyda at 7:00 pm at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church. A memorial mass with ashes present will be held at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church on Friday, March 25th, 2022 at 10:00 am. Interment to follow at Victoria Lawn Cemetery. All guests must show proof of double Covid-19 vaccination to attend the Visitation, including photo identification in adherence with current Ontario Mandates.