Egon Zevelis


Egon Zevelis passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his daughter, Karen Haukedal and his caregiver, Analyn DeCastro on Monday, March 26, 2018 at the age of 87 years.

Egon lived his life with gentleness and kindness and will never be forgotten by those who knew him. He will be forever cherished and loved by his daughter Karen and son-in-law Jerry Haukedal; his granddaughter Andrea Blais (Nathan); his grandson Evan Haukedal (Jennifer), and his great-granddaughter Mae. Egon was predeceased by his wife, Rose.

Memorial Service will be held at Mill Woods Assembly (2225 66 Street) Edmonton on Friday, April 6, 2018 at 1:00 pm. Cremation has taken place.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Egon’s honour may be made directly to Mill Woods Assembly (2225 66 Street, Edmonton, AB T6K 4E6) or to a charity of your choice. Karen would like to extend a thank you to the staff at the Misericordia Hospital who cared for Egon during his time there.

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Memorial Service
Millwoods Assembly

2225-66 Street Edmonton AB T6K 4E6 CA

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Karen Haukedal

Papa by Evan Haukedal

Let’s go back to when I was 19. I was a young fellow inexperienced with life and I had just gotten my first vehicle — a 1991 GMC Sonoma. Just like every other 19-year-old I knew, I enjoyed listening to loud music while I was driving.
Obviously, the tiny, old, decrepit speakers in my tiny, old, decrepit truck just weren’t cutting it. So, I did what any other normal and sane human being would do in that situation — I purchased speakers that were worth more than the vehicle itself. And of course, I only had enough money for the speakers themselves, nothing left over to install them.
I had no clue what I was doing. I was just an excited kid wanting to listen to loud music. I was in way over my head with all this equipment. However, I knew speaker boxes were made of wood. And I knew my papa was well versed in creating things out of wood. I called him up, bought some materials, and went over to his house.

I learned a lot that day. Both about myself, and about him.
He had an incredibly amount of patience. Not just with the precise measurements required before cutting up the wood. Not just with chopping up the materials themselves. But with me as well. He showed me what he was doing and took the time to teach me along the way.

He had an incredible amount of passion. He absolutely loved creating this useful everyday object from nothing more than a sheet of MDF and a bunch of screws. And he absolutely loved doing it WITH me, not just for me.

He had an incredible amount of love. Anyone that could put up with a excited 19 year old enough to actually accomplish a task like this takes love. A lot of it.

The world is now short a great man. A talented man, a patient man. A loving and caring grandfather. A giving and passionate great grandfather. Today, we will all remember him. And tomorrow, we will not forget.

Karen Haukedal

Papa by Andrea Haukedal Blais

Grandparents are very special people. They love us with a special enthusiasm and forgive us readily. I feel that I had a special and different connection to each of my grandparents and with Papa I very much felt that we connected deeply on many levels. He was such a kind and gentle man and I think all who knew him will tell you that. I have never heard him say anything negative about anyone and he was always eager to listen to me talk about my life with an interested smile and his full attention.

He was a great artist and “tinkerer…I don’t know how to define his gifts; More than an artist, he was also a creative problem solver. We had that deep connection and it gave me the support I needed to do what I do which is pursuing a career built on my creativity.

As a child Papa would set me up with paints and pastels and I would create with those from his very well stocked art supply collection. It was very fun as a kid to discover all his art tools which ranged from every type of pencil on the planet to airbrushing tools and a light table.

As an adult, I always felt 100% supported and encouraged by my Papa. From the very start of my metalsmithing career he made me feel creative and brilliant as a jeweler and artist even when I didn’t necessarily feel these things from others. I could easily have a good technical conversation with him too. Even until the end when he was in the hospital we talked about how I had constructed him the last gift I gave him and we talked about how my husband Nathan and I were getting our renovations done. I would like to think I inherited and absorbed a bit of his artistic and creative problem-solving talent.

I felt also that we shared a bit of the same spirit. I think we could be among the quietest people in the room and maybe at times overlooked but always with minds and thoughts racing. I think of us to be on the introverted side; internalizing things and maybe not outwardly engaging but feeling more refreshment from a genuine one on one conversation with more meaning and depth. It was good to know that papa seemed to possess the quiet approach to things I also have.

I have so much love for Papa and I will never forget coming over for pizza with our dog Henry who he was always thrilled to see or how happy he was when I brought him cupcakes for his birthday last year. I will remember how he loved his backyard in the summer with his fish pond and the beautiful flowers he would line up for at the farmer’s market before it even opened. Mostly I will remember a kind and gentle man who loved me very much for exactly the person I am.

Karen Haukedal

Anecdotal Snippets by Karen Haukedal

Dad was an only child. His father was an only child. I am an only child. There are no other Zevelis’ in the world. I have never found this surname in a Google search other than our immediate family. Dad said it used to be spelled Sēvelis.

Dad was an athlete and a gymnast in his youth.

Dad was a boy scout and boy scout leader in Lübeck, Germany. He loved being a boy scout.

Mom said that one thing she really liked about Dad when she first met him was the fact that he was clean. When he bent over to clean her machine at the cotton mill, Mom could see the waistband on his underwear was white—not the usual grey.

Dad was 10 years younger than Mom. He was 21 when they got married; Mom was 31.

In the Norwood house, Dad installed a swing for me in the basement from the rafters. Mom made him take it down immediately.

Dad calmly put the fire out when I dropped a box of matches in the kitchen of the Norwood house. Mom and Granny apparently not so calm.

Dad built a boat in his garage. He also rebuilt a piano.

Dad punched and fired an employee at Acme Novelty who made a derogatory comment about his surname. I don’t think he raised his voice, however.

Dad waterskied once to prove he could—and got up the first time. He never waterskied again.

He was the kind of Dad to teach his daughter to drive although she didn’t have a learner’s permit and not get angry when she hit another car and took its door off.

Egon was kind-hearted and gentle. He never raised his voice. He always supported his family and friends with affirmation and encouragement.

Dad loved to show others how to do things. He was a patient teacher.

Dad never criticized others.

Dad never complained. He could not stand complainers.

Dad would lend you his chop saw or any tool you could think of, and if it hadn’t been returned by the time he needed it, he’d buy himself another one so you wouldn’t have to give it back.

If Dad needed a tool or machine to do something, if it didn’t exist, he would invent it.

Dad kept three packages of Havarti cheese in the fridge at all times. I always thought it was because he liked it so much. Turns out, he kept it on hand because I liked it.

There’s an unopened Easy Bake oven in Dad’s basement. I think it was supposed to be for Andrea. Guess it will be for Mae.

As a child I believed my Daddy could fix the moon when it was broken (i.e. not full). The day before he passed away he said, “I can fix the moon—I will tonight.”

The night before he passed away, Dad said, “I am not afraid,” to Ana.

Karen Haukedal

My father, Egon Zevelis was born in Riga, Latvia on May 26, 1930—the only child of Viveja Pavlovna Aksenova and Edgars Zevelis.

Dad was christened in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Riga, Latvia. His father Edgars was a painter and decorator by trade, and an accomplished flutist and conductor of a national band. Both parents worked, so Dad’s paternal grandmother took care of him as a child. World War II broke out in Europe when Dad was only 9 years old. He recalled one day coming home from school and finding an unexploded bomb on the living room couch—and a hole clear through the roof. Fearing for their safety, the family fled Riga October 19, 1944 and took refuge in a DP (displaced persons) camp in Lübeck, Germany. Conditions in the DP camp were deplorable and they were always hungry. Tragically, Dad’s father died only six months later—in 1945. Left to support himself and his mother, my Dad went to work at an early age—his occupations in Lübeck included vehicle mechanic, wood carver/turner, cabinet maker and silversmith. He was confirmed October 5, 1947, at age 17, in St. Gertrude’s Church in Lübeck, Germany.

Dad and his mother (my Granny) never returned to Riga or connected again with family. After the war, England was looking for DPs to work in the cotton mills. Dad and Granny seized the opportunity and immigrated to Britain in 1948.

Dad met my mother Rose in 1950 at Marsden cotton mill in Bolton. Dad was a “set carrier,” and he was assigned to service the machinery Rose was working on. Dad and Mom both spoke German and conversation started—leading to dating. They were married in Bolton, England June 28, 1951 and honeymooned in Llandudno, Wales. After the honeymoon, they set up house in Bolton, Granny included.

The cotton mill closed a year later and there were no jobs available. Dad, Mom and Granny chose to immigrate to Canada. Dad sailed first in 1952, arriving in Halifax and taking a train to Edmonton. Someone picked his pocket aboard the train and a very tired, hungry and broke 22-year old Egon arrived in Edmonton. He contacted the Latvian Society in Edmonton and met a very kind Mr. Dobelis, who helped him find a place to live and employment as a house painter. Mom and Granny arrived in Edmonton in 1953.

Dad worked as a painter up north on the DEW line for six months to make “big money” for a down payment on a home. In 1954, the Zevelis’ bought their first home—a real fixer-upper—in Norwood. Dad was very handy and completed the renovations just in time—I was born in 1955, completing their family. Dad, Mom and Granny became Canadian citizens on October 10, 1958. That same year, they bought a house in Mount Royal. My parents made many new friends and loved to have people over for parties and dancing. They were both accomplished dancers. Many fun times were shared with the Plumites, the Powers, the McPhails, the Cyncars, and others.

Over the years, my Dad had a variety of occupations and businesses—he opened a photography studio in the early 1960s, then worked as a commercial artist at Hamly Press, and eventually headed the art department at Acme Novelty. When Acme Novelty went out of business, Dad and his friend Dennis started a graphics design and photography studio—Degon and Associates. Several years later, Dad and Jerry partnered to start up a graphic design and production studio—Hallis Graphics Ltd.

An extremely talented artist and craftsman—creative and inventive—my Dad mastered everything he set his mind to. In retirement, he pursued his passions full-time! Home renovation, pond building, oil and watercolour painting, wood burning, model ship building, wood carving…to name a few hobbies. He was always interested in learning a new skill, finding a new hobby, or coming up with a new great idea or project to tackle.

Dad’s favourite place was the cabin at Gardner’s Cove on Lake Wabamun. Many weekends, summers and Christmas holidays were spent out at the lake with the whole family—Dad, Mom, Granny, myself, Jerry, Andrea and Evan.

Dad, Mom and Granny moved to their home in Primrose in 1975. My Dad took care of Granny until her passing in 1995. He then took care of my Mom until her passing in 2012. It was a big adjustment for Dad to be living alone, but he managed. We talked daily and enjoyed family dinner at Dad’s home every Sunday after church. He especially enjoyed those times when Andrea and Nathan, and Evan, Jen and Mae came over too. Dad loved to be with all his family.

My father was clever and sharp right to the end, but his body was deteriorating with arthritis and mobility issues. Dad wanted to stay in his home and keep busy with his latest hobbies and projects. It was a blessing to him when Analyn moved in as his full-time caregiver 2½ years ago. She took wonderful care of him—Ana made him happy and the house was filled with love and laughter.

Our last Sunday family dinner together was February 18. Dad was having trouble catching his breath and was taken to Emergency at the Misericordia—the diagnosis was congestive heart failure. He was expected to recover, but the doctors were not able to stabilize him with medication. At the end of seven weeks, Dad was too weak to fight anymore. He held on long enough to go home. Three days later, Dad passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his two “angels”—his caregiver Analyn and myself.

I’ve always been Daddy’s girl. As a child I believed Dad could fix the moon when it was “broken” (not full). The day before he passed away he said to me, “I can fix the moon—I will tonight.” My Daddy was a kind-hearted, gentle man. He was loved and will be missed—may he rest in peace.

Plumite Family

We will remember Egon as a special family friend who blessed us with kindness, thoughtfulness and his vast creativity. He will always have a place in our hearts.

The Plumite Family

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