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Michael Anton Holyk

December 5, 2012

born November 18, 1936, died December 5, 2012

From humble and hardworking beginnings on a family farm near St. Michael, Alberta to a successful business man, Michael became one of the longest actively serving pharmacists in Canada when he entered his 54th year of practice in early 2012. He was a creative thinker and a maverick amongst pharmacists. He continually challenged himself to improve the business and provide greater excellence in patient care.

Michael attended the University of Alberta from 1956 and was granted a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1959. His career in pharmacy began at a community pharmacy in Camrose, Alberta, where he met Kathryn Bott, who was to become the love of his life for the next 51 years. In 1961 they married and moved to Edmonton where Michael became manager of the Co-op Pharmacy and their first child was born. In 1963 the family moved to Westlock, Alberta and Michael opened Holyk Drugs, marking the start of nearly 50 years of pharmacy ownership. The couple welcomed three more children while in Westlock.

With his focus and diligent work ethic Holyk Drugs prospered. Michael doubled the size of the pharmacy and made it one of the largest and most modern drug stores in Northern Alberta. He was an out-of-the-box creative thinker who embraced change and risk in pharmacy throughout his career. These progressive qualities led Holyk Drugs to be the first pharmacy in Northern Alberta to incorporate a computer into pharmacy dispensing.

Michael was a very active member of the community and while in Westlock served as president of the local Kinsmen and Chamber of Commerce, sat on the board of the Alberta Pharmacy Association, was elected as town councillor and served as the local police commissioner. He was also a Mason and served on the Board of Stewards for the Westlock United Church.

Kathryn and Michael dreamed of one day living in Vancouver. In 1981, Michael purchased Kerrisdale Pharmacy, which he had visited many times while on vacation, and a year later purchased a home in Kerrisdale and moved the family to the West Coast. In 1997, he made the bold business decision to move Kerrisdale Pharmacy from its existing location on 41st Avenue to a newer and more prominent address where it remains to this day. He transformed the site into a modern and efficient pharmacy. In 2001, Michael and his son Colin (also a pharmacist) acquired Hollyburn Pharmacy in West Vancouver. True to Michael’s desire to provide the best care to his patients in the best setting, he moved the pharmacy to its new premises in the Hollyburn Medical Building. After completing the Hollyburn Pharmacy move, Michael envisioned an expanded Kerrisdale Pharmacy that would be unique amongst pharmacies with its soothing, natural, West Coast style. In 2008, after a year of floor-to-ceiling renovations, he realized his vision. He had a bright, artistic eye and his artistic expression was best seen with the renovations of the pharmacies and his homes.

He and Kathryn loved running and developed many lasting friendships through the sport. He was full of enthusiasm and had an endless supply of energy, completing many running races, and finishing five marathons in his mid to late 60’s. He was strong willed, tough as nails and met any challenge in life with an unmatchable work ethic and a drive to succeed. Michael loved his wife and family, his career, his home, his cars, his running, and spending time at his Qualicum Beach retreat. He was an epic man, a self-made, successful man who never stopped tackling new projects and new things. He did this with an unwavering level of support and love from his beloved wife. And…he loved a nice tie, an elegant suit, and a great gin and tonic.

Michael is survived by Kathryn, his wife of 51 years, sons Bryan and Colin (Christine), daughters Karyn (Daniel) and Michelle, his brothers Bill (Vicki), Joe (Dorothy), and sister-in-law Mary. He was predeceased by his sister Rose and his brother Harry.

The family would like to thank Dr. Luke Chen, Dr. Michael Knight, and Dr. Howard James for their outstanding quality care and personal touch. They would also like to thank all of the staff at the Hematology Apheresis Unit of VGH.

A service was held Wednesday, December 12th at 1pm at Ryerson United Church 2195 West 45th Ave, Vancouver. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Condolences may be offered to the family at Kearney Funeral Services 604-736-0268

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