Lloyd loses a saint, heaven gains an angel

By Geoff Lee

August 23, 2016 12:00 AM

Top: Bill Rekrutiak, pictured with his wife Julia at the 2009 Cancer Relay for Life walk in Llloydmister, will be remembered for his volunteerism on dozens of local boards and causes following his passing earlier this month. Another recognition (bottom) for Rekrutiak.

No doubt, Bill Rekrutiak is already a volunteer guardian angel in heaven with the best possible references.
In life, he will be fondly remembered as a pillar of Lloydminster for his volunteerism and leadership on countless boards, organizations, service clubs and fundraisers.
That’s how a lot of people who attended the funeral services last week for the 92 year-old spoke about Rekrutiak and his legacy.
“He was the inveterate volunteer,” said Vic Juba, in his role as president of the Lloydminster Lions Club,
Rekrutiak’s commitment to the community ranged from his volunteer leadership roles in 4-H and a director and chairman of Federated Co-operative Ltd., to a director of the Lloydminster Health District.
“The way I’ve known him is a very caring individual who I guess, just wanted to help his fellow man— that was the kind of man he was,” said Juba.
Juba also recalls Rekrutiak being named citizen of the year by Lions a few years ago, recognizing he was an all around volunteer who deserved the accolades.
Rekrutiak also had a strong interest in community health, and took the lead as the director of the Saskatchewan Health Care Association and director of the Lloydminster Regional Health Board, among many others influential positions.
Wendy Plandowski,  CEO of the Lloydminster Health Region Foundation, says Rekrutiak will be dearly missed as a pillar of health in the city.
“Bill was absolutely instrumental in many of the health care programs, services and facilities that we currently experience in Lloydminster,” said Plandowski.
She recalled Rekrutiak being on some of the very first boards that really had an impact on building home care services, for example, and building the new hospital.
“It’s really remarkable when you think about what an impact he did have,” she said.
Plandowski said she’s known Rekrutiak for many years and he was actually going to be next spokesperson for the health foundation’s Give Hope Campaign.
“He would regularly stop into the Health Foundation and talk about the different things that we were doing,” she said.
“He was pleased we had stayed true to the original intent of the Health Foundation.”
Rekrutiak was also a director of the Northwest Regional Health District and the director of the Twin Rivers Home Care as the list of those he’s helped rolls on.
He leaves behind his wife Julia and two daughters, Connie (Blaine) Cullen, and Donna (Stirling) Lehner, four grandchildren and a great granddaughter.
Rekrutiak was born in Mundare Alta. and moved to the Lloydminster area in 1926 to farm.
He married the love of his life, Julia Kulczycki, in 1953.
After retiring around 1980, he sold his farm to Husky where the upgrader stands today.
That’s a memory from his pal Ed Andersen who also recalled Rekrutiak being one of the first board members for the Slim Thorpe Recovery Centre while he was its first chair.
“Bill was a great guy; he was very thorough; he was very thoughtful, he was principled,” said Andersen, a retiree from Kitscoty.
“I don’t know what else you could say, he was just one fine guy.”
As for what may have motivated Rekrutiak to get so involved, Andersen puts it down to wanting to give back to communities.
“He wanted to be involved in just helping people,” he said.
Plandowski attributes Rekrutiak’s motivation to volunteer as his core passion for community in its purest sense.
“When he thought about community, he thought about it in how he could help others,” said Plandowski.
“I think he felt like he was connected to something greater.”
Rekrutiak was also a life member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.
Elks member Gordon Roebuck, general service manager at Agland, said Rekrutiak was a volunteer member of the service organization for more than 54 years and filled every position including president.
“He was a man of charitable thoughts and he wanted to make sure that he did his part,” said Roebuck.
“He wouldn’t say no to helping out —if you need something done, ask Bill and he would definitely do his part.”
Rekrutiak liked to fundraise for all different types of youth clubs, such as Girl Guides and Boy Scouts, as well as seniors’ causes as an Elk.
In his spare time, Rekrutiak’s hobbies ranged from woodworking to curling, golf and travel with camping and fishing trips with his family as his favourite pastimes.
While Rekrutiak waits for his angel wings, his volunteer credits continue to roll: junior grain club leader, municipal councillor and reeve of Wilton, founding director of Sandy Beach Lake Regional Park director and chairman of the Lloydminster Figure Skating Club, to name but a few.

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