Remembering Al Kachkowski

Albert (Al) Kachkowski, a revered figure in the Ukrainian community and a source of inspiration for countless individuals, peacefully passed away on May 4, 2024. The Ukrainian Museum of Canada, along with the entire Ukrainian community, is deeply indebted to Al’s lifelong commitment to service, culture, and education. It is with profound sorrow that we mark his passing and extend our condolences to his entire family, including his wife of 60 years, Cecilia (Cec), children Taras and Marusia, son-in-law Markian, grandchildren Lev and Lusia, goddaughter Nadya, and to all his many friends who loved him dearly.

Born to immigrant parents, Al’s journey was marked by resilience and a profound commitment to his roots. From his early years in Manitoba to his enduring impact on Saskatchewan’s – and Canada’s – Ukrainian community, Al’s legacy is deeply ingrained in the preservation and development of Ukrainian culture in our nation.

A lifelong teacher, Al served as Administrator of the Mohyla Institute, where he founded the Ukrainian Immersion Summer School program in 1972. Alongside his dear friend George Foty, Al founded the Saskatoon Vesna Festival, which marks its fiftieth anniversary this year. Together with his close friend Slawko Kindrachuk and members of All Saints Parish, Al also initiated the Karpaty Ukrainian Pavilion for Saskatoon Folkfest. Al and Slawko went on to establish Ukrainian Day in the Park, held annually in Saskatoon to this day. Additionally, Al launched the King of Kovbasa event in Saskatoon.

Al spent 12 years working at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, first as a development coordinator and later as the Director. Staff who worked under Al recall that he led the museum with passion and conviction, and that he was personable, compassionate, and encouraging. Attention to detail was one of Al’s strengths, and he treated his staff as equals. During Al’s tenure, the museum flourished. Following his time as the museum’s Director, Al worked in fundraising for the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko, and he also held the director position across Canada for the Ukrainian National Association.

A lifelong learner and teacher, Al’s influence reached far and wide, touching the lives of students, colleagues, and friends alike. His love for the Ukrainian language and his unwavering commitment to its preservation inspired all who had the privilege of knowing him. In the last few months of his life, he volunteered his time teaching the Ukrainian language to the current Executive Director of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, as well as to new immigrants from Ukraine who came to Canada speaking the colonizer’s language of Russian.

In honouring Albert Kachkowski, we celebrate not only his achievements but also the profound impact of his kindness, generosity, great sense of humour, and unwavering spirit. May his legacy continue to shine brightly, illuminating the path for future generations to embrace and celebrate their Ukrainian heritage.

Вічная Пам’ять! Memory Eternal!