Maurice John ByblowJune 23, 1946 - February 11, 2020
Maurice Byblow was born to parents Steve and Anne (nee Spelchen) and raised on a farm near Parkerview, Saskatchewan along with his nine brothers and sisters.
His farm upbringing was steeped in rich Ukrainian tradition, a strong work ethic, and a commitment to community sharing and generosity, values that guided his life choices in years to come.
Maurice attended Chiselhurst, a one room country school three miles from the farm for his elementary years, and graduated from Ituna High School in 1964. He took a year of Teachers’ College, acquired an Interim Teaching Certificate, then taught a Grade Five class in Melville, SK at age 19.
Not quite ready to settle down to a teaching career, Maurice worked various jobs throughout western Canada and the North. In 1968, he returned to university, married Lin Ash and together they moved to the Yukon. Following a couple years of teaching in Whitehorse, Maurice and his family, now consisting of sons Michael and Bradley, moved in 1971, to the newly established mining town of Faro.
In the years that followed, Maurice not only established himself as a reputable teacher, but as an outspoken community advocate. In addition to teaching duties, Maurice found time to edit a local newspaper, The Raven, serve on Municipal Council, and head up numerous boards and committees. He also became the majority owner of the Faro Hotel.
Summers were spent by the family in Saskatchewan, where in 1975, Maurice achieved his Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts degrees.
In 1978, Maurice ran successfully as an Independent for the Territorial Legislative Assembly in the first election along party lines. He spent seven years in Opposition, representing Faro, and lobbying popular causes. During that time, he established and chaired a Yukon Education Task Force that visited every Yukon community. The final report paved the way for broad education reforms and a new Education Act in later years.
Following Opposition years and now a single parent, Maurice did not run for office for a term, but served as Executive Assistant to Minister Piers McDonald. He ran successfully again in 1988 and served as Minister in various portfolios for the Penikett government. It was also, during this time he met his soulmate Janet. Maurice and Janet built a life in Whitehorse filled with love, nurturing and caring for each other and for the community.
Leaving politics in 1992, Maurice went onto two more decades of active business life. He managed a Canadian division of an American oil company, expanding a network of gas stations throughout the Yukon, investing directly in a number of them. One of his significant investments was in the Capital Hotel on Main Street, which he also managed for a decade.
Maurice enjoyed life in the Yukon with friends and family, summers at the family farm in Saskatchewan, and substitute teaching at various schools in Whitehorse. Diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Maurice continued teaching, travelling, enjoying the company of his four-legged companion Tyrone, and visiting family to the end.
Maurice leaves to mourn his wife, Janet Pauch, his sons Mike (Shannon) and Brad (Jennifer); brothers Harvey, Stan (Christine), Bob (Joanne), Tom (Florence), Terry (Iris); sisters Hope Sutton, Julie Brooks (Louis Bartley), Betty (Philip Rowat), Sylvia Dymterko, grandchildren Carson, Rowen, Kaia and Phoebe; brother-in-law John Pauch (Rhonda Marshall); ex-wife Linda Pye; and other family members including many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Maurice was grateful for the exceptional care provided by Dr. Sally MacDonald, Dr. Meagan Schenke, and Homecare staff, in particular, Eva.
A service in celebration of Maurice’s life will be held on Friday, February 28, 2020 at 2:00 pm at Sacred Heart Cathedral.