Morris Mike Kostiuk
Morris Kostiuk’s eight decade journey took him from humble beginnings on the Canadian prairies, to commercial worksites and projects across Alberta and Saskatchewan, and finally to the land of the midnight sun, where he contributed to the expansion and development of Yukon’s tourism and RV industry.
Morris started his work life in the wheat fields and barns of his father’s farm near North Battleford, Saskatchewan. At 19, he attended the Saskatchewan Technical Institute where he earned his Journeyman electrician’s license. Upon completion, he settled in the border city of Lloydminster in the early 1960s. After gaining his Master Electrician’s ticket, he started his first business, Superior Electric. Over the course of the next three decades, he established and grew several businesses across a variety of industries: Kostiuk Holdings Ltd., Superior Electric, and Meridian Trenching. Morris was closely involved in Lloydminster’s rapid growth in those days, and oversaw the operations of mobile home trailer parks, gas stations, car washes, as well as laundromat services and real estate developments. In the late 1970s Morris’ business interests turned north to the Yukon. Kostiuk Holdings was instrumental in the dismantlement of the Clinton Creek asbestos mine and townsite from 1978 – 1983. This venture led to his involvement in Yukon’s tourism industry with the purchase of Pioneer RV Park in 1979. Over the next four decades Morris transformed the park into one of the largest commercial RV parks in operation on the Alaska Highway and operated Yukon Alaska Tourist Tours. Morris was especially proud of the deep bond and camaraderie amongst the coach drivers and the professionalism they brought to this transportation arm of the company.
To save time commuting between Lloydminster, Edmonton, and Saskatoon business meetings, Morris obtained a private pilot’s license in 1973. Although he initially took up flying for practical reasons, he quickly developed a passion for aviation and it became his preferred mode of transport for business and family outings. In June of 1983, on a routine trip from Whitehorse to Lloydminster, the flight encountered severe weather which led to a tragic crash near Summit Lake, Northern BC. After spending a night on a mountain, suffering from hypothermia and broken legs, with no rescue in sight—he took matters into his own hands and started crawling his way down the mountainside. Although dramatic, this experience serves as a testament to Morris’ strength and determination and is only one of many instances when he beat the odds stacked up against him.
With a work ethic from a bygone era gripped firmly in hand, Morris approached his businesses with a resolve and dedication that was greatly admired by associates, employees, customers, and clients alike. Always a tenacious advocate for independent businesses, he was known for his honest, straightforward, pragmatic, and adventurous spirit.
Morris is survived by his loving moya malen’ka divchynka / wife, Greta Espinosa Kostiuk, his daughter; Vivienne, his three sons; Gregory (Emily), Malcolm (Nao), Christopher (Jennifer); and three grandchildren; Riley, Nathan, and Vincent; Greta’s mother (Laida), brother (Ithamar) and six sisters (Masa, Joselita, Elita, Hannah, Joela, Simonette – with special mention to Hannah who joined Greta at his bedside during his last hours); Greta’s two nephews, Mark Cesan (Sharon), Jingo (Lily); and Greta’s great nephews Jan Mark, Ceron Eli, and great niece Arabella ‘Bella’, as well as numerous extended family members in the Philippines. And not to be forgotten, Morris’ faithful four-legged companion, his beloved dog Sammy. Morris is predeceased by his parents John and Pearl, his sister Shirley Rogers, and Greta’s father Jose Espinosa.
Greta provided unfailing support to Morris in the final years of his life, helping him face declining health with courage, and tirelessly respecting his wish to be home whenever possible. Mark, mentored and inspired by Morris’ work ethic, has been the vital right hand at Pioneer RV Park, ensuring its smooth operations and management.
Morris’ daily routine always involved a morning coffee, followed by making the rounds of the park in his golf cart with Sammy in tow. Together they made sure everything was in good order and running smoothly, and to anyone familiar with the park, this routine was a common and reassuring sight. Unknown to most, Morris had a soft spot for children and was a doting, spoiling babysitter especially to ‘the charmer’ baby Bella. He would place Bella on his walker and off they would go—Morris pushing Bella around the house, much to both of their glee and enjoyment.
In the parade of life, Morris was not an onlooker, he was a full-fledged participant. He did not merely sit on the sidelines, he actively performed. Many will note his passing, but many, many, many more people were impacted by his life. With his intelligence, it and deep sense of humor, he touched all of us. Morris had a heart of gold directed to the less fortunate, people with disabilities, and animals. He instilled in us the expression “there is no overnight success” and showed us and the whole world, the true meaning of hard work. Morris was loved and respected by his family and was popular with the old folks and the young crowd in Pooc, Santa Fe, Cebu, Philippines—known to one and all as “Uncle Morris”. Despite his impressive accomplishments as a businessman, pilot, and mentor, Morris remained modest and humble. Mother in-law Laida couldn’t be prouder and happier with Morris’ accolades and the love he shared with her daughter and the Espinosa family. Morris will be missed deeply.
A memorial service and celebration of Morris’ life will be held in September 2022.
Details to follow at a later date.