Obituary – Donald “Don” Hewko

Donald “Don” Hewko

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Donald “Don” Hewko, a longtime resident of the High Prairie area.
Don passed away peacefully at home with his family surrounding on Jan. 14, 2022 at the age of 85 years.
Don was born June 7, 1936 in Edmonton, to the late Frank and Mary Hewko. He was the oldest child of four full siblings and later six half siblings.
At a very young age Don moved with his family to Vancouver, B.C. He attended a school for boys, he said they were very strict, but he enjoyed the learning. Don said back then if you got into a fight in the school yard the school master would take you to the basement where they had a boxing ring, and you would duke it out. He kind of laughed and said, “Don’t think they could get away with that these days!”
His family then moved to Victoria. B.C. as his father was a welder and worked in the shipyards. Don often talked about sneaking into The Empress Hotel in Victoria and selling newspapers for a dime to the sailors. He said it was good selling when the sailors just came in from the ships, they had money and were ready to spend it. He said he would get an extra dime or nickel.
In 1949 the family moved back to Edmonton as the shipping yards were closed. He attended school in Jasper Place.
His father, Frank, remarried in 1950. Don moved out of home when he was still 13. He lived with his grandmother on a farm near Spruce Grove. He attended a school for a short time at Golden Spike just south of Spruce Grove. To get around, Don rode an old two-wheeled bike he had found and fixed up, or he walked.
Still a kid, Don got hired on with a pipeline outfit in Devon, AB. Thus began his long career in the oil and gas sector. He was the last rig hand left from the famous Leduc #1 rig.
Don met Loretta Savill in 1956 when he was working on a drilling rig and his friend, Jim Savill, Loretta’s brother, brought her out to the rig site. This rig was on the land Don and Loretta later homesteaded. On Feb. 15, 1957 Don and Loretta were married, and together they had five children: Laurie, Mickey, Donald, Douglas and Holly. On Feb 15, 2022 they would have been married 65 years.
Don’s work had him moving all over Alberta. Loretta often told us that some years were very lean. Don supported his family and even though most times he had no vehicle, he would often walk to the next job to ask for work. She was very proud of Don and all his accomplishments. Don was also very proud of how Loretta raised five kids basically all by herself.
Don’s work took him overseas to places like Scotland where he was an offshore driller. He even moved his family to Oran, Algeria for just about a year. He worked for many oilfield companies and his name was well-known and respected in the oil industry. He tried to retire a couple of times, but oil companies kept calling him back. He finally retired in August of 2011 at the age of 75.
Don and Loretta did a bit of traveling in retirement, but mostly stayed close to home. Don spent most his time gardening and mowing the lawn. He and Loretta were very proud of their place. Don was so happy when his kids came to visit with the grandkids then later with the great-grandkids. He had so much love for his family. His very favourite saying to people leaving his place: “Drive safe! Watch for the animals!” Don was a very humble, kind, and loving husband. father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Don is survived by his wife Loretta, children Laurie [Dale], Mickey [Kevin], Douglas [Kathy], Donnie and Holly, and his coffee buddy, Allan, 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren that he loved dearly. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Don always described himself as a simple working man and at his request there will be no funeral ceremony.

In retirement, Donald Hewko mostly stayed close to home. He spent most of his time gardening and mowing the lawn. He and his wife, Loretta, were very proud of their home.

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