Published in the May 22, 2013 issue of the Interlake Enterprise, by Teresa Carey…
The RM of Armstrong will be holding a bi-election the first week in August to fill the seat of long-time councillor Diane Woychyshyn, who passed away on Apr. 26 in Arborg at the age of 71.
As per the rules of the Municipal Act, public notice for receiving nominations is required to be sent out 63 days before an election, in this case on Jun. 5. The closing date for receiving nominations will be Jun. 26; Voting for the more than 500 Ward 3 residents will take place at on Aug. 7 at Silver Hall if more than one nomination is received.
Until a new councillor fills the vacancy, either by election or by proclamation, the three other Armstrong councillors will be dividing up the duties for Ward 3.
Woychyshyn sat as Ward 3 councillor for Armstrong from 1998-2013. She was active to the end in the community and sat on many boards throughout the years, including approximately 10 years with Community Futures East Interlake (CFEI) , where she also sat on its Investment Review Committee. She sat on the Arborg Hospital board before it was amalgamated, then continued after Interlake Regional Health Authority (IRHA) took it over. She also sat on the boards of the ambulance and fire department in the region, and was instrumental in establishing a new EMS centre, which officially opened in Arborg in June, 2011. Other boards she sat on include the Fisher Armstrong Planning District and Emergency Measures board.
Woychyshyn had a background in the medical field. She worked at the Arborg Personal Care Home and taught Red Cross first aide courses in the Interlake. Prior to that, she was the head of the Housekeeping department at the Arborg & District Health Centre for 16 years. During that time she was also in charge of ambulance calls, sharing the duties with head of Maintenance, Wally Goldau. Woychyshyn, who was trained as a first responder, even went on emergency calls.
Until recently, she worked at the family business, Zan’s Family Inn, on the out skirt’s of Arborg.
Woychyshyn was known as a very hard working, community minded person with an infectious sense of humour.
“She was a wonderful volunteer. She was very dedicated to the community,” said Tammy Djiadek, General Manager of CFEI.
In fact, Woychyshyn kept up most of her activities right to the end, despite an illness she kept secret from even her closest friends.
Her passing came as a complete shock to everyone, although some noted that she wasn’t her old humorous self since about a year ago. The only clue she ever dropped of any health issues was to her cousin, Bernice Kochan of Poplarfield, who remembers Woychyshyn’s recent comment, “You’ve got sugar and I have a salt problem”.
“Maybe she just felt she didn’t want to upset anybody,” said close friend and former colleague, Evelyn Stocki. “How she hid it from so many people, I’ll never know. I cannot believe she was that strong. She had stamina.”
“She was a very public person, but in the end she was a very private person,” Stocki added.
Woychyshyn will be sorely missed around the Armstrong council table.
“There’s a hole in the council right now,” said Armstrong Reeve Garry Wasylowski. “Her knowledge of the area and her input will certainly be missed.”
“She spent 15 years on council. She certainly was enthusiastic about being there…We’re all going to miss her, and I think the people of Armstrong are going to miss her too,” Wasylowski said.
According to a friend, Woychyshyn was admitted to the Arborg & District Health Centre on a Sunday. She passed away days later, on the following Friday. Rumour has it that Woychyshyn planned her own funeral and purposely kept it low key, but that detail could not be confirmed at time of publication.
“All that we know is that she went into the hospital and that was that…We will miss Diane terribly,” said RM of Armstrong CAO, John Livingstone.
Woychyshyn had one son, Randy, who resides in Winnipeg. She was predeceased by her husband, Joe Woychyshyn, who passed away around the time of her election to council.
Prayers were held on Apr. 29 at the MacKenzie Funeral Home in Arborg. The funeral, held on Apr. 30 at the Arborg Christian Fellowship Church, was attended by close to 200 people.