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KOWALCHUK, Micah Aaron

April 24th, 1975 – November 10th, 2018

After a tenacious battle with an aggressive inflammatory disorder, our much beloved and beautiful son, Micah Aaron Kowalchuk, took his last breath on November 10th at the Intensive Care Unit, Foothills Hospital, Calgary, Alberta. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan on April 24th, 1975, Micah is the only child of Dr. Vicki Schwean (Dr. Don Saklofske), London, Ontario and the eldest of three children of Larry Kowalchuk of Regina, Saskatchewan.

From birth, Micah was an extraordinary gifted child. He read the newspaper at two years of age; sang “Solidarity Forever” in the grocery store in response to what he perceived as an unfair action against the workers; was a voracious Star Wars fandom; buried himself in science fiction books; and, presented as an early innovator and adopter of information technology. Soccer and hockey from the perspective of both a player and later as a fan and blogger were integral to his overall happiness. School often played “second fiddle” to these other pursuits.

Following completion of high school, Micah entered the University of Saskatchewan where he pursued studies in Engineering, Computer Science, Commerce, and finally Law, his ultimate love and pursuit, with a specialization in Employment and Labor Law. His brilliant legal career started with his dad at Kowalchuk Law Office where he articled at their Regina office in 2012 and continued at their law office in Saskatoon until joining Taylor Janis LLP in Calgary in 2018. Micah and his father continued working on Saskatchewan files together. Micah’s legal work touched millions of lives: from the win at QB in Regina constitutionalizing the right to strike for all workers in Canada to a precedent for all transgender youth and adults regarding gender identity in Saskatchewan and Canada, to filing an historic climate change lawsuit on behalf of New Brunswick environmental and Indigenous groups. His ability to conceptualize legal concepts and support people seeking justice, equality, and respect was inspiring. Work was his love and occupied most of his time, including supporting his colleagues and fellow lawyers who valued his input. Even on his last days, Micah continued influencing and inspiring his clients, family, friends, and colleagues.

Micah and his mother shared a particularly close and loving relationship – she will mourn the loss of her precious son throughout her remaining life and today can’t help but live the words of C.S. Lewis – “No one ever told me that grief feels so like fear” – profound fear of never having the opportunity to talk directly with him, to support and help him, or to hug and kiss him again. Micah’s life was her life. Micah is also survived by his father, Larry Kowalchuk and his Kowalchuk siblings, brother, Lucas Matthew Kowalchuk, and sister, Katherine Holly Kowalchuk (Boston) and, paternal grandmother, Olga Kowalchuk. He also leaves to mourn his loss his Maternal Aunt Karen (Bart) Lardner Schwean and Uncle Michael (Tanis) Schwean, as well as Paternal Aunt Susan (Ron) Jasper, Aunt Kathy (Kim) Hinkson, and, Uncles Michael Kowalchuk and Brian Kowalchuk. Micah is also survived by many cousins with whom he shared his life, He held particular love for his cousin Jessie Harrison, particularly Jessie Harrison. Micah was preceded in death by his Grandfather (Victor Schwean), Grandmother (Margaret Thorburn Schwean), Aunt Emy Craven (Schwean), and Uncle Jory Schwean, as well as paternal Grandfather (Mike Kowalchuk).

A celebration of Micah’s extraordinary life will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 14th at 2:00, McInnis & Holloway Crowfoot Chapel, 82 Crowfoot Circle N.W., Calgary, Alberta. A reception will follow.

In celebration of Micah’s life, the family are establishing the Micah Aaron Kowalchuk Scholarship for LLM students in Labor and Employment Law, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. Please contact Dr. Vicki Schwean (vschwean@uwo.ca) for contribution details.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Stephan Lebrun :

    This is awful news. With my condolences, I want to say that my experience with him is most likely the same as those who knew him well; that he was brilliant, passionate, generous, and cared about others. We shared a mutual love for hockey and his knowledge, understanding and insight was unparalleled among some of the most die hard Oilers fans in Edmonton and area. Rest peacefully, Micah.

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  2. Jim and Marcy Emberger :

    While our personal time spent with Micah was brief, he displayed many of the wonderful qualities that were attributed to him in his obituary. In addition, we found his serious demeanor was accompanied by a fine sense of humor, as we all (dad Larry too) sat around eating lobster sandwiches and having a beer, while taking a break from the important legal work he was doing for our organization, and for us personally.
    Our hearts are heavy for his family, Larry whom we know, and his mother and siblings. Losing someone like Micah leaves a large hole in one’s life, and we hope that the love you give each other, and get from folks like us, can begin to fill it.

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  3. Hi Larry,
    Just a note to say I’m thinking about you and sending positive energy to help get you through this terrible loss.
    Lots of love.
    Roy Ries

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  4. This loss is unbelievable and unnatural, for the family and for the world. My sincerest condolences to everyone..Micah showed me Fredirik Pohl, 50’s sci fi novels and every kind of ethnic cuisine and foodie paradise. He could fix a computer, fix a car, turn around and explain calculus or faster than light speed travel. He was generous and kind. It is so unfair that he is no longer with us.

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  5. Vicki, Don, and families,
    I am heartbroken over your loss. Vicki, the way you would light up every time you recalled a funny story about your precious Micah were a testament to the very special person he was. I hope you find some comfort in your families and friends during this difficult time. George and I are thinking of you.

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  6. Betty Anne Younker :

    Dear Vicki and family – What an extraordinary loss for each of you. The accomplishments by Micah in such a short period of time are significant, and the loss will be felt every minute of every day. No words can provide comfort nor can they fill the gap of the loss but I do hope that you feel the strength and support of friends, family, and colleagues; and that the reflections and memories provide moments of joy of what was and sadness and grief of what is gone.

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  7. I had the privilege of knowing Micah as a fellow member/admin of an Oilers fan page. He was a very highly respected member of the page. So many members would wait in anticipation of Micah’s posts. They were always really well researched. Even though I never had the opportunity of meeting him in person, I am glad that I took the time to have conversations privately with him.

    The Edmonton Oilers fan base lost a tremendous member.

    I cannot fathom the amount of grief his family especially his mother has to endure. Please find strength in knowing that Micah was able to touch and inspire so many members within the Edmonton Oilers community.

    I offer my family’s condolences towards his family. He will be missed by all. RIP Micah my friend.

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  8. Shannon Stewart :

    Dear Vicki, Don and family,
    Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. It is just an unimaginable and painful loss. I hope that you find solace from the wonderful memories and times that you had together as well as the support from family, friends, colleagues and loved ones through this very difficult time.

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  9. Denise Melanson :

    Dear Larry, I,m so sad for your loss of your brilliant son. Please entend my sympathies to all his family and Friends.

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  10. Layneyale Main :

    Hello,

    I am truly upset at hearing the news over Micah’s passing. I’m going to miss chatting with him about our love for hockey, and in particular the Edmonton Oilers. Truly a shame, he is gone far too soon. I want to share my warmest condolences with the family and offer this piece of advice, lean on the comfort of others when it’s hard to comfort yourself. Together you can make the days ahead easier as you reflect on all the good times in Micah’s life.

    Gone but never forgotten.

    Rest easy, Micah.

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  11. Colin Couchman :

    Vicki, Don, and all families and friends,

    Words cannot due justice to this loss. Our hearts and thoughts go out to you during this unimaginable time. Take solace in your memories. Vicki – in all of the ways you spoke of Micah over the years, a clear picture of the extraordinary man he was emerged.

    Colin and Elan

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  12. Micah was a kind, respectful, gentle and intelligent person. He was passionate about his chosen career as a labour lawyer and I enjoyed my encounters with him on opposite sides of files. My sincere condolences go out to his family on his tragic loss.

    Kevin Wilson

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  13. Darlene Porter :

    I feel such sorrow for all the friends and family this wonderful young man’s life had touched. In particular for my dear friend Vicki, he was and is your greatest achievement. Even when you locked horns (decorating?) how you admired his fierce independence. There is no replacing the brilliant light of this shining star that faded too soon, how I hope with time the memories will become a soft glow that will remain to comfort you.

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  14. Dear Vicki,

    My heart is heavy with sympathy and goes out to you in your time of sorrow.

    I can not imagine a pain deeper than losing a child. I hope you find strength to help you get through this awful tragedy.

    Please accept my sincerest condolences

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  15. Melanie Molnar :

    Vicki and Don,
    My heart aches for you. I am so sorry for your loss. May the many happy memories carry you through this sorrowful time.
    Melanie Molnar

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  16. My heart truly broke for all those who knew and loved Micah, and of course especially for his beloved family, when I learned with utter shock and disbelief of Micah’s passing Saturday morning. Micah only joined Taylor Janis LLP in March 2018, moving from Saskatoon to Calgary, but in that short time becoming a much admired colleague and friend to all, a net contributor in every way to the betterment of our firm, truly taking and inspiring our firm to the next level, both in all of our love for the law, and in all of our commitments to advocate and to fight tenaciously to advance the rights of our labour and employment clients – and to do so armed with the law that Micah so amazingly knew and so willingly shared with all of us. Micah, words cannot express how much we will miss you, and what a loss your passing is to the legal community and to all those whom you worked so hard in service to. Micah, it will be a privilege and honour for Taylor Janis LLP to contribute to the scholarship fund being set up in your memory at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. Micah, you will always be remembered, and you will always serve as an inspiration to us.
    Conan Taylor
    Taylor Janis LLP

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  17. Barb MacQuarrie :

    I am so sorry for your loss Vicki.

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  18. Brent and the Debassige family (Candace, Brayden and Ashton) :

    Dear Vicki, Don and family.
    Through the many stories shared with me by you, Vicki, about your wonderful son, Micah, I learned about an extraordinary individual. Micah’s legacy lives on in his contributions to the law and now will live on in all of us.
    Our deepest and heartfelt condolences,
    Brent and the Debassige family (Candace, Brayden and Ashton)

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  19. I have no words to adequately express my feelings, so I must rely on those of Thomas Campbell who said, “To live on in the hearts of those we love is not to die”. Please accept my sincere sympathy on the loss of your son, Vicki.

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  20. Rosie Triebner :

    Vicki, words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. I know Micah was a shining light and was taken much too soon. Giving you strength and love during this time of sorrow and grief. My heartfelt condolences to you, Don and your family.

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  21. Although I never had the opportunity to meet the “apple of your eye”, Vicki, I know, by the way you spoke about him, that the love and bond you have with him is unbreakable. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child, but what I do know, is that the memories are great, and the achievements many for this bright, young man. He is a testament to the teachings around his neck lovingly taught to him by his parents. May his memory shine brightly during this incredibly difficult time for everyone who is feeling his loss.

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  22. Juan Luis Suarez :

    Dear Vicki,
    I hope you feel our love and support as you remember and celebrate all those moments with your beloved son.
    A big hug.
    Juan Luis

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  23. Dearest Vicki, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. The love and support you have for your son truly shines brightly through your words honouring his legacy and passion for equity and justice. We have lossed an true Angel. May your many fond memories together help you to find some semblance of peace and calm.

    My sincere regards,

    Erin

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  24. My sincere condolences to his family in this sorrowful time. Micah was a dedicated lawyer and a fearless advocate. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the law, hockey, cars – any subject that caught his interest. He was always available to share a joke or impart some wisdom. I am grateful for the time I had getting to know him. He will be greatly missed.

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  25. Julie Byrd Clark :

    Dear Vicki and family,
    I am so very sorry and devastated by this news. Please know that Steve and I send you our heartfelt thoughts and prayers. Take time to be with your families and take care of yourselves. I’m sure Micah would want that. Most of all, please know you are not alone.

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  26. My deep condolences to the family. May God’s affection be of comfort to you at this difficult time.-John 5:28,29

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  27. Words can’t express the shock and heartbreak I feel right now. I had first met Micah back in December 2017 when he had interviewed with Taylor Janis LLP, and shortly after he joined the firm I felt a sense of us being kindred spirits. Micah had a great sense of humour, a sharp legal mind, and was always someone that I could go to talk strategy on my files and gain insight from, particularly on labour law matters. We enjoyed talking about our files, politics, sports, travel, food, and joking around about our lives outside the office. Micah always had an interesting perspective and take on issues, and I enjoyed our intellectual sparring matches and debates. I can’t believe that he will never pop his head in my office doorway again to tell me about the latest “legal epistle” he received from opposing counsel, and that we will never get to share a meal or a drink or a joke again. It is still all so surreal. We were colleagues first and then we became friends, and his absence will be deeply felt in my life.

    It is a universal law that matter cannot be created or destroyed, and although Micah is no longer with us I will cherish the fact that he is still a part of this world as well as our hearts and our memories. My heart breaks for his family and for all of his friends. He will be deeply and truly missed.

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  28. Dear Vicki and Don,
    My heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy on your loss of Micah.
    Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.
    Hugs,
    Isha

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  29. Colin Flannigan :

    Dear Family,

    I’m very sorry for your loss. Micah was a great friend and a trusted confidant. Please know how much he meant to everyone and that he will truly be missed.

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  30. Joel Fairbrother :

    For Micah.

    I lost my friend.

    I could say I lost a colleague-
    And its true and I do

    I could say we all lost a great lawyer-
    And its true and I do

    I could say we all lost a man who was passionate about his work, and who cared about the weak and dejected-
    Its all true and I do

    But what matters to me is that my friend is lost and its true.

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  31. Emily Korpatnicki :

    My deepest sympathy and condolences to Micah’s parents, siblings and extended families on their loss. May he rest in peace.

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  32. What a terrible loss for all of us on both a personal and professional level. Our firm was so fortunate to have spent the past several months with such a wonderful person and lawyer. We will truly miss Your enthusiasm for life and the law, your upbeat and positive attitude that you shared with the office everyday. We will never forget you.

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  33. Dear Vicki and family,

    I am so very sorry to hear this sad news. Micah sounds like a truly remarkable person,and I can only imagine ow devastating his loss has been for all whose lives he has touched. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

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  34. Samantha Robinson :

    Micah was a chivalrous badass.

    I thoroughly enjoyed knowing, joking and working with him. He had my back on more than one occasion and he never shied away from being a dark knight, a second opinion or an ear to a ridiculous story. The shock and sadness of his passing will stay with me and soften over time, but the memories and the word ‘epistle’ never will.

    My thoughts and condolences to his family. I truly hope that this page of memories and truths about what a wonderful person he was bring them some comfort.

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  35. Adele kereliuk :

    Although I never met Micah, I am so saddened by his passing.My condolences to his mother Vickie, and especially to Larry, whom I do know well, and your siblings.
    May God be with you Micah.

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  36. Sorry for your loss of Micah. Far too early for someone with so much more yet to do. Deepest sympathies. This is never easy.

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  37. To Micah’s mother and family, please accept my condolences. My heart goes out to you, on the loss of your son and brother. Micah spoke of his family often and the pride and love he felt was easily apparent.

    Micah was a unique and intriguing individual and I will cherish the memories of him that I am privileged to have as his legal assistant. I always looked forward to the stories he would tell when he returned from his travels, because he loved adventure and fun. Kind and generous with everything he had – including his time and his valuable knowledge, Micah fit in immediately with our Taylor Janis team and we were lucky to have him and will miss him so very much.

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  38. Julie McMullin :

    Dear Vicki,

    Words cannot express how sorry I was to learn of the loss of your beloved son, Micah. My deepest sympathies are with you and your family.

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  39. Vickie,My profound condolences for your loss. I can`t imagine the grief you are feeling and I hope we can meet, at an appropriate time. I am here for you , Joe Rea

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  40. Katina Pollock :

    Dear Vicki and Family,
    It is difficult to find the words to convey how sorry I am to hear of your son’s passing. I just want to express the deepest sympathy and sorrow I feel in my heart for you and your family. …. Jim and I are thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

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  41. Meredith Fisher :

    For Larry,
    Although we only met your Micah one time, the work that you both have done together to help others as they attempt to appeal to the “greater good”, will always be remembered with sincerest gratitude, appreciation and admiration.
    Peace.
    Meredith Fisher

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  42. Susan and Ron Jasper :

    Micah…………Our dearest, most beautiful, most deeply loved
    You are forever etched…..your essence sustains….

    “So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near—
    ‘Ah’, said the fox, ‘I shall cry.’
    ‘It is your own fault’, said the little prince. ‘I never wished you any sort of harm, but
    you wanted me to tame you…’
    ‘Yes, that is so’, said the fox.
    ‘But now you are going to cry!’, said the little prince.
    ‘Yes, that is so’, said the fox.
    ‘Then it has done you no good at all!’
    ‘It has done me good’, said the fox, ‘because of the colour of the wheatfields.'”
    – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

    Dearest Vicki, Don and Dearest Larry – we love you so much, we are here always
    Our hearts ache
    Susan, Ron, Ainsley and Austyn xoxoxo

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  43. Dear Vicki, Don and family,
    Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. It is just an unimaginable and painful loss. I hope that you find solace from the wonderful memories and times that you had together as well as the support from family, friends and colleagues through this very difficult time.

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  44. Fred Perehudoff :

    I didn’t know Micah personally. I am apart of a Edmonton Oilers fan page he was a moderator of. I have been in numerous discussions, sometimes heated debates lol, about the team, their future, their needs etc with him over the years. He had a very statistical approach and would throw numbers at me to the point I couldn’t argue because Micah had done so much research into so many statistics that I dont follow and i would get confused or lost and exit the debate lol. His analysis of hockey and the oilers really stuck with me because of his knowledge, the ability to control his emotions and temper on the site, and use his research to prove a point and not an opinion based on an emotion.
    My condolences to all his friends and family. Just wanted to share my connection to Micah. Even though i had never met him, he left an impression.

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  45. Karen Korchinski :

    I am so very sad for the loss of Micah – so young and vibrant. My heart goes out to Larry, Vicki and all of the family.

    May he rest in peace.

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  46. Vangie Castillo :

    Dear Vicki, Don and family,
    We are so sad and still shocked by Micah’s passing. Our deepest sympathy to you and your family at this time of sorrow. Vicki, I know how you unconditionally loved Micah from your many stories of him and we can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now. May our prayers help comfort you during this difficulty time.
    Vangie and Ed

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  47. Hello Larry and Family,
    We are saddened to hear of Micah’s passing. He will be dearly missed by many. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
    Korchinski family

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  48. I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the loss of your son. I cannot imagine how you are coping with this terrible loss. My thoughts and payers are with you at this time.

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  49. He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

    from “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden

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  50. Marianne Larsen :

    Dearest Vicki,
    My heart is full of sorrow for you and Don and all others in your family who are mourning the loss of your beloved son, Micah. I know that he fought the good fight to do what is right in his life, and kept up the struggle in his quest to live, right up to the end of his life. I know also that you were there with him, supporting and loving him, firmly believing that he would make it through. He did not and I know you must be grieving terribly. May your memories of him sustain you through this time of despair.
    Marianne

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  51. Dear Larry, we are so sad to hear of Micah’s death. Though we didn’t know him, we know you and hope you can be well and continue somehow. Judy and Larry Haiven

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