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Eugene Stifter passed away in North Battleford, SK on November 19, 2023. Eugene is lovingly remembered by his siblings Norman (Rita) Stifter, Helen (Vic) Mearon, Linda ( Wayne) Rendall, Gene LaFrance, numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Anton and Elizabeth; siblings Margaret and Maynard in infancy; Beatrice Stifter,
Raymond Stifter, Doreen LaFrance, Allan LaFrance, and Doug Rendall. A Funeral Service for Eugene will be held Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 1:30PM at St. James' Roman Catholic Church in Wilkie, SK. Tributes may be directed to The Canadian Cancer Society or The Wilkie and District Health Foundation. For those unable to attend, livestreaming may be viewed at:
Arrangements entrusted to Gerein Funeral Service.
Eugene Stifter Eulogy
Eugene Paul Stifter was born June 28, 1955 in Wilkie, Sk as the youngest of 9 children to Anton and Elizabeth Stifter. Right after birth, Eugene was transferred to hospital in Saskatoon where he spent about 6 weeks in the incubator and during which he was given his last rights. Obviously, Eugene survived and you knew then he was going to be a fighter. Eugene was very detail oriented and had documented every job he worked by date, position and company. To summarize, Eugene completed his grade 10 in 1969, then began his work life journey has he entered the work force. Eugene’s first job was with CP Rail, where he left and came back to a couple times over his career, ended up spending about 30 years of his career. After losing his dad, Eugene spent about 2 ½ years as an autobody mechanic at Western Autobody in Wilkie, taking his first year autobody mechanic training at STI in Moose Jaw, and his second year training at Kelsey Institute in Saskatoon. Eugene couldn’t see himself as an autobody mechanic for the rest of his career, so in 1977 he moved on to try it in the oil patch as a roughneck and in the construction industry as a trucker, spending time in Edmonton and Calgary over the next year or so. In the fall of 1979, Eugene started up with PortaTest as an oil and gas tester around Edmonton, which also took him to the Arctic, NWT (Tuktoyaktuk), northern BC and over 80% of Alberta. Eugene did venture away from PortaTest for a couple years where he played his hand at sandblasting and painting oil tanks and rigs, truck driving for Bauml Construction, CP Rail then back to PortaTest. In the spring of 1983, Eugene moved back home to Wilkie for good to live with and look after his mom, getting back on with CP Rail working as a sectionman, breakman and conductor.
Over his working career, Eugene worked with a person from every province in Canada, including NWT and the Arctic. Eugene lost 7 close friends on the Ocean Range. Eugene was given 5 opportunities to work overseas but he never went. In Canada, Eugene held 5 foreman jobs, one job with a truck run, ten offers to work in Territories, and three offers on drilling rigs. Eugene lived in Calgary once, Edmonton 4 times, Lloydminster twice, and Saskatoon twice. Eugene also toured every state in the western US. Eugene was a person who worked hard and always did his job. He didn’t look for excuses, if he messed up, he would clean it up as that’s what he knew was expected of him and people he worked for always asked him back to work. Even in his later years with his physical challenges, he still managed to outwork some of the younger generation. Throughout his career, he drove truck many times off and on for Fred Wangler Construction, later to be Wangler Construction, where Fred, Brock and Randy became a second family to Eugene.
As we all know, Eugene had his accident while working for CP Rail in June, 2003 when he slipped on the track while train was backing up and was drug for about 50 feet. Eugene would have been run over and have not survived if it wasn’t for his strength and determination as he grabbed the ladder rung on the side of the railcar for dear life. For a couple years, Eugene went through surgeries and rigorous rehabilitation to rebuild his damaged left leg and right shoulder, which was never the same and had to live with for the rest of his lift. After the accident, Eugene went on retirement from CP Rail at age 56 and stayed on Workman’s Compensation until he officially retired at age 65. Through all his pain and physical challenges, Eugene still managed to work yet again for Wangler Construction for the next 14 years as a part time driver during summer months until he officially retired November 7, 2020 after 48 years of working career.
In 2016, Eugene received the shocking news that he had Colon Cancer. He had surgery in June to remove part of his colon, then proceeded with chemo treatments that fall, finishing in February, 2017. In March, he was cleared as being cancer free.
Early in 2021, Eugene was diagnosed once again having been detected with cancer, only this time as a spot on his Liver. He started chemo treatments yet again in March which continued until end of 2021. Eugene went through very rough times as his body and immune system broke down from chemo treatments and he became much weaker over time. Early in 2022, he had surgery to remove 40% of his liver. In April, he was once again cleared as being cancer free, or so we had hoped. In June, as doctors attempted to start another round of chemo sessions for precautionary reasons, his blood platelet levels began to drop. Doctors tried 3 sessions of chemo treatments through the summer, while monitoring his blood platelet and white blood cell levels, then decided to stop the rest of treatments as his body was not able to handle anymore.
After a couple rough years, it appeared Eugene was on a road to recovery as he started up his love of playing golf by joining men’s night at the Wilkie Golf club, and socializing with all his friends. Eugene sold his house in July that was in the Stifter family for over 50 years, and moved into the Manor in Wilkie where he made a few more friends. On August 20, 2023, Eugene got sick and spent all of 3 months in hospital, about a month in Saskatoon, then North Battleford until his final hours as he passed away on November 19, 2023.
Eugene had a tendency to speak his mind and was a person who told it like it was. Eugene had a saying and wanted to make it known, people who didn’t walk in his shoes, didn’t get to see the real things he did and all his challenges he faced in his life. It was his choice to be a wonderer, to be single, and wished all the best to those who chose to get married and settle down. He lived his life his way and only answered to himself.
I reminded Eugene that he had lived his 9 lives, even though he thought he still had a one or two left (then he would have a little chuckle or a smirk). Eugene loved playing cards like crib and kaiser, games like rummicub, sequence, dice and yatzee. He loved playing poker with his buddies and going to the Casino. Eugene was an early riser so he enjoyed going to coffee row every morning and stirring the pot by harassing those who would listen. I remember when we were kids living on the farm at Leipzig, we were always so excited when he was coming to the farm for a visit. When uncle Eugene would show up early in the morning on a weekend, he would make sure we were up. Or if his visits were late at night and we were already in bed, he would get us up again. You knew he was in the house with his deep loud voice and usually the odd profanity word spewing out now and then. When he was driving his blue camero (or the blue bullet), we would have to shine it up for him (as he did with all his vehicles) to give us a ride in his car. When he left the farm, all you could see was a trail of dust as he flew down the grid road in the distance. If you were ever in one of his pick-up trucks going for a joy ride, he would rather take the back country dirt road or the trail through the ditch, and since we didn’t wear seatbelts back then, there was a good chance of hitting your head off the roof from bouncing around.
Family and friends meant a lot to Eugene, he would take the time to make a phone call (for sure not a text) to every family member on their birthday and anniversary dates. On his trips to Alberta, he would make sure to make stops at Camrose and Hay Lakes to see his brother and sister, as well as a few nieces and nephews. Eugene would then venture off to stay in Edmonton where he also had a couple sisters and he enjoyed hanging with the LaFrance clan. Eugene loved his local Wilkie Outlaws, especially when they beat the rival Unity Minors. Even though he was a Chicago Blackhawks fan (I was not), him and I both cheered for the Dallas Cowboys so that made it all better (we even watched the Cowboys win together on the Sunday of his last day). Eugene was a lot of things…loud…to the point…straight forward…no sugar coating, but he loved his family and he was our uncle. Even a couple of nieces called him “uncle blue jeans.” He was our childhood hero.
Eugene appreciated the visits in the hospital during his last moments from his sisters Helen and Linda, along with his big brother Norman, of whom he always looked up to as his big brother. Being I am the oldest of our family, Eugene was the older brother that I never had. Rest in peace big brother…you did good!
On behalf of the family, we have many thanks to those who helped Eugene as his physical abilities and health declined over the last few years, from doing his yard work, clearing snow from his driveway, checking up on him from time to time and driving him to many of his medical appointments when he couldn’t do it anymore. Thank you to all his CP Rail buddies, especially those who were able to be here today as honorary pallbearers. Eugene had picked out his own music for the funeral Mass, thank you to Cathy and the choir for squeezing in his music. Eugene had overwhelming support with visits from many friends and family while he was in hospital over the last 3 months as that meant a lot to him, so a sincere thank you! God bless you all and safe travels home!