“Hiking is a bit like life: The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other… again and again and again. And if you allow yourself an opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way.”
Henry loved hiking. Whether it was with his boys, the Scouts, his friends or alone, in the bush or on the Bruce Trail, Henry always enjoyed being surrounded by nature. There was also his daily pilgrimage to the Grocery Store, then back home for lunch before heading back down the hill for the remainder of his day. Henry was always on the move and usually on foot!
Henry George Paliga was born in Toronto on June 22, 1952 to parents George and Valentina. The Paliga Family immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1948 and soon settled in Toronto. George met Valentina, who had emigrated separately and they were married shortly thereafter. George worked as an industrial plumber and Valentina as a housekeeper. Henry’s younger brother Michael joined them in 1953. After completing public school Henry attended De La Salle, a private catholic high school, where he completed his secondary education. He then enrolled in a geology program at Brock University for the next two years.
During his youth, Henry spent his summers with his grandparents Dom and Gertrude Paliga at their farm outside of Flesherton. It was here that Henry’s strong work ethic was truly developed, as was his love of the rural setting, in which he later chose to live. He built a close bond with his Uncle Michael, with whom he was very close to in age. This bond exists today.
Apart from a paper route and his work on the farm, Henry took his first full time job with Chrysler in Mississauga where he worked in the parts department for two years. He then took a job with Bruno’s Fine Foods doing deliveries. Henry would be on the road daily to the food terminal in Toronto and on occasion travelled as far as New York City for seafood. Before long he was introduced to meat cutting. He was 22. As they say, the rest is history as this was the beginning of a long, successful career as a well-respected Butcher.
Henry met Joanne Elizabeth Tangney at a party in Walkerton. The mother of the host spent time with Henry’s Mom in Poland and was probably the initial reason for the visit. As you can imagine Henry took an immediate fondness for Joanne and they began dating. They were married on August 18, 1979 and soon welcomed Ryan in 1981, Adam in 1988 and Christian in 1992. The Paliga family remained in the city until 1988, whereby Henry left Bruno’s. Henry wanted to provide his boys with a good upbringing and felt that a more rural environment would be a better fit. Apparently there were many potential landing spots, but his Father-in-law helped him secure a job at the Grocery Store in Chesley. Here he continued to perfect his trade, acting as a valuable resource for the Grocery Store and our community. Henry would have never told you this but he had International customers, who looked to him and Chesley for their supply of meat. Imagine that!
The Paligas soon called 5th Avenue home and Henry began to immerse himself in the community. He saw the potential of Scouting as a great opportunity to bond with his young sons and Henry soon became a leader and acted as a mentor to not only his children but other youth in the community. His loves and passions very much aligned with the Scouting model and he remained active in the organization for almost 30 years. He attended several Canadian Scout Jamborees all over this beautiful country and loved the annual winter camping trip to Owen Sound.
In 1992, Henry also joined the Kin family. He was a proud and active member of the Kinsmen Club of Chesley. Henry’s commitment went above and beyond the club level as he was twice a District Governor of Zone J and very active in a variety of other roles. His passion within the club was Cystic Fibrosis, CF, Kin Canada’s national charity and always did what he could to help support this cause. Henry also dabbled a bit in acting, performing in several Chesley Community Players productions. He always played his character to a “T” and enjoyed these opportunities.
In 2001, Joanne and Henry separated. However their first priority was always their sons. In addition to Scouting, Henry and the kids enjoyed year round fishing trips to Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching among others. There are many stories from these outings. Just ask Ryan about the “Polish Pike Master.”
Henry was a committed Star Wars fan, watching all the movies and reading all the books over the years. In addition to Star Wars, Henry enjoyed any books written by Clive Cussler or Stephen King. He enjoyed NCIS, as well as its spins offs, and who could forget the Big Bang Theory. He had an eclectic taste in music and would listen to anything depending on his mood.
Henry used to say that vegetarian was an old Indian word for bad hunter! Henry was certainly a carnivore, renowned for his stuffed pork chops, ribs, sausage, pot roasts and chili, just to name a few. To be honest, Henry took great pride in anything he prepared.
In 2010, Henry asked Linda Feuchuk to join him for a hike on the Bruce Trail. This beautiful, yet tiring day began a very special relationship. In time, they became best friends and partners sharing in both the good and difficult times. They were there for one another and supported one another in all of their endeavours.
Henry loved to get a rise out of people, make them laugh and of course throw in his fair share of puns! He was caring, loyal and stalwart to the point of being stubborn. He never wanted the limelight for himself and always tried to do his best behind the scenes. Henry taught his sons to be self-sufficient and appreciate everything life has to offer.
In 2017, at the age of 65, Henry retired. However, he loved his job, his daily interactions with people and his colleagues too much and continued to work part-time. He was a staple behind the meat counter and in our community and will be missed by many of us.
Sadly, Henry George Paliga passed away suddenly after a good day with family, friends and his Kin family, on Sunday, November 11, 2018 in his 67th year.
Beloved father of Ryan and his wife Sabrina Parent of Nepean, Ottawa, Adam and his girlfriend Heather Morency of Windsor and Christian of Amherstburg. Loving grandfather of two month old Claire and brother of Michael. Henry will be dearly missed by his best friend and partner Linda Feuchuk as well as his sons’ mother Joanne Paliga. Henry was predeceased by his parents George and Valentina Paliga.
A memorial visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Friday from 4 - 8 p.m. A celebration of Henry’s life will be held at Klages Mill, Chesley (11 1st Ave. N.) on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Canada or the Bruce Trail Conservancy would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend