IACOBUCCI email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2002-12-24 published
'A decent and delightful human being' is laid to rest
HNATYSHYN remembered and honoured as a man full of laughter, warmth, culture
By Jeff SALLOT Tuesday, December 24, 2002, Page A6
Ottawa -- Ramon HNATYSHYN's family, Friends and country celebrated his life yesterday with laughter, bidding him farewell in state ceremonies on Parliament Hill, during a solemn military march through the windy streets of the capital, and in an ancient Ukrainian funeral rite.
"We lost a decent and delightful human being, and we lost him far too soon," his friend and golfing partner, Peter MANSBRIDGE, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news anchor, said in a eulogy.
Mr. HNATYSHYN, 68, the grand_son of Ukrainian immigrants who rose to the federal cabinet in two Progressive Conservative governments and then went on to serve as governor-general from 1990 to 1995, died last Wednesday of complications of cancer.
Mr. MANSBRIDGE recalled that Mr. HNATYSHYN never seemed to worry about slicing his ball into the woods when Royal Canadian Mounted Police bodyguards accompanied him on the golf course.
A helpful Mountie would locate the ball. Somehow it always seemed to have come to rest in a spot that gave Mr. HNATYSHYN a clean shot toward the green, Mr. MANSBRIDGE said.
The congregation roared. "He would have liked to hear your laugh and the sight of your smiles," Mr. MANSBRIDGE said.
Humour was an important part of Mr. HNATYSHYN's life. On another occasion, at a dinner in a fine restaurant, Mr. HNATYSHYN tasted the wine and pretended to choke and fall out of his seat before grinning at the distraught waiter and giving the "okay" sign.
"He would do almost anything for a laugh" and it was often corny, Mr. MANSBRIDGE said. His wife, Gerda, would roll her eyes and "you could almost hear her say, 'I don't believe he's doing this.'"
Mrs. HNATYSHYN smiled at the recollection.
Another family friend, Senator Yves MORIN, said Mr. HNATYSHYN, usually known as Ray, was a man without pretense and was "full of warmth" for others. He was also a "man of culture," Dr. MORIN said, noting that the Governor-General's Performing Arts Awards were initiated during Mr. HNATYSHYN's time at Rideau Hall.
Archbishop Yurij KALISTCHUK, who presided at the Ukrainian Orthodox funeral rite, said Mr. HNATYSHYN was proud of his heritage.
Even as others of Ukrainian background changed their names to sound more "Canadian," the archbishop said, the aspiring Progressive Conservative politician joked that "he changed his name to HNATYSHYN to get elected in Saskatoon West."
Although the funeral rite was Ukrainian Orthodox, sung and chanted in both English and Ukrainian, the ceremony was conducted in Christ Church Cathedral. The Anglican Cathedral has been a traditional unofficial home church for previous governors-general. Members of the Royal Family have worshipped there when in Ottawa. Prayers were offered by clerics from several other faiths.
About 500 dignitaries, family members and Friends filled the old stone church and others watched the ceremony on a large television monitor in an adjoining hall.
In a written tribute, Governor-General Adrienne CLARKSON referred to Mr. HNATYSHYN as "this beloved Canadian."
She said a photo exhibit at Rideau Hall includes a memorable picture of Mr. HNATYSHYN's beaming face, "showing his understanding and enjoyment of people. He was a decent, fair-minded person, proud of the Canada he served so well."
Ms. CLARKSON, who as Governor-General is commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces, was en route to the Middle East to spend the holidays with the troops serving there.
The HNATYSHYN family urged Ms. CLARKSON to continue with the trip rather than remain in Ottawa for the funeral.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLACHLIN, the deputy governor-general, represented the Crown.
Prime Minister Jean CHRÉTIEN and former prime ministers Joe CLARK and Kim CAMPBELL attended the ceremony, as did former governor-general Roméo LEBLANC, who succeeded Mr. HNATYSHYN in 1995.
Honorary pallbearers included members of Mr. HNATYSHYN's law firm and Supreme Court Justice Frank IACOBUCCI, who had been a senior official under Mr. HNATYSHYN when he was the federal justice minister.
Among the mourners were members of the diplomatic corps and the lieutenant-governors of four provinces, including Lynda HAVERSTOCK of Saskatchewan, Mr. HNATYSHYN's home province.
Politicians from all political parties attended, including several former cabinet colleagues from the Tory governments of Brian MULRONEY and Mr. CLARK.
Former Saskatchewan New Democratic Party premier Allan BLAKENEY wiped tears from his eyes. "We knew each other as lawyers. Saskatchewan is a small place," he said.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, riding black horses, led the funeral procession from Parliament Hill through the streets of downtown Ottawa to the cathedral. Members of all three branches of the Canadian Forces accompanied the hearse at a slow march. Bagpipes played laments. A bass drum marked the cadence.
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