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Edward GYURKI

Edward John Gyurki, a beloved father, unexpectedly and suddenly passed away on September 25, 2023, at the Woodstock Hospital. Edward is survived by his children, Stephen and Joanne, as well as his cherished grandchildren Jonathan and Emily. His wife Helen, brother John, and his parents Anna and John had predeceased him. Edward, born on December 22, 1937, in Kitchener, Ontario, grew up in Woodstock and dedicated 33 years to working at the Oxford Regional Centre, starting as a medical photographer and later transitioning into staff training and development. Besides his notable work achievements, Edward also possessed remarkable musical talents.

From the young age of 7, Edward embarked on a journey in classical violin, eventually becoming a founding member of the Woodstock Strings. Motivated by his musical prowess, he switched to playing Old Time fiddle and participated in the Canadian Open Fiddle Contest in Shelburne, Ontario. Edward triumphed in several years, winning the competition in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1970 and 1974. His flair for music allowed him to perform as a guest on renowned shows like the Don Messer Show, the Tommy Hunter Show, and Polka Time on CKCO-TV with Walter Ostanek. He even recorded three albums, showcasing his own compositions. Recognizing his immense talent, Edward was acknowledged in 1984 when he was inducted into the esteemed North American Old Time Fiddler’s Hall of Fame and invited to participate in and later judge the Grand Masters Fiddle Contest in Nashville.

Apart from his love for fiddle music, Edward had a deep passion for opera. He traveled extensively to The Metropolitan Opera in New York, Vienna, and his ancestral Hungary to witness his favorite performances. In addition to his musical pursuits, Edward enjoyed numerous other activities. He shared 35 delightful winter trips to Mexico with his wife, Helen, and frequented Polka festivals. Renowned as a skilled fixer, he was known as “Mr. Fix-it” for his ability to repair almost anything. Edward also relished spending time outdoors, whether it involved reclining in his hammock, tending to his vegetable garden, cooking traditional Hungarian dishes, engaging in winemaking, reading, or partaking in walks and jogs.

In 2016, Edward’s life took an unforeseen turn when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury due to a fall. Despite relying on a power wheelchair, he never relinquished his belief that he would regain the ability to walk. Fondly remembered for his strong-willed Hungarian nature and unconditional love for his family, Edward’s final years were enriched by his special bond with his morning caregiver, Denise Thompson. The family extends heartfelt gratitude to Dr. George and the compassionate nurses who provided dedicated care to Edward.

The family will receive visitors on September 29, 2023, at the Smith-LeRoy Funeral Home in Woodstock. A funeral mass will take place the following day at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, followed by a celebration of life in the Parish Hall. In memory of Edward, donations can be made to Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, Holy Trinity Church, or a chosen charity. Personal condolences can be expressed on the Smith-LeRoy Funeral Home website.

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