After a short, but courageous battle with cancer, Steve passed peacefully at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre, Yorkton, SK on February 15, 2014. Steve was born on June 21, 1949, the only son of Peter and Dorothy (nee Strukoff) Chernoff in Grand Forks, BC. He grew up in Grand Forks and attended school in the same city graduating from high school with honours in 1967. He pursued his secondary education at SAIT in Calgary, and graduated as an Architectural Technologist in 1970. Steve began his design career in Calgary returning to Grand Forks in 1978 to establish his own design studio. During this time he rekindled a romance with Rita Tabish that had began in their teenage years and the couple were married in 1982.
In 1985 they relocated to Manitoba then moved to Yorkton in 1991. Failing health forced Steve into semi-retirement in 2003 at which time he and Rita moved to the farm near Sheho where he enjoyed being a “Gentleman Farmer” watching Terry and Ron do all the work. However, when his health allowed he continued to design beautiful homes throughout the Parkland area. Steve travelled extensively throughout Western Canada and the United States to glean architectural innovative ideas but his two most memorable trips were to Japan in 1970 and Mexico in 1981.
Steve was an active volunteer with a number of causes including the RDKB and the USCC. After he and Rita moved to the farm he joined the board of the Tuffnell Hall and was proud to have designed the hall. Steve loved music and played both the guitar and mandolin. He shared this love for music by becoming an active member of the Tuffnell Circle Jammers and volunteered for the Tuffnell Fiddle & Guitar Camp each summer. While he was an avid fan of all good music, his favorites were gospel, folk, country and the special jazz style of Rita’s friend, Dena Taylor.
As a young man, Steve was an avid sports enthusiast. He played, coached and refereed hockey and had many trophies to show for his excellence in the sport. When he was only 15 he qualified for a senior Men’s baseball team and later coached that sport as well. Throughout his life, he was a dyed in the green Rider fan, an obsession that he shared with Rita. Steve loved fishing and being outdoors and he and Rita travelled throughout the Duck Mountains and North Eastern Saskatchewan to try out new lakes. Steve’s other hobbies included leatherwork, photography and pencil sketching. Steve shared Rita’s passion for animals and was a staunch advocate against puppy mills, animal abuse and B.S.L. legislation in Canada and abroad. He had many pets over the years, but their yellow lab, Abee, held a huge place in his heart and was a loyal, faithful companion.
Steve was predeceased by his grandparents, Sam & Tanya Strukoff and Peter A. & Anna Chernoff; his uncles and aunts, Nick & Ann Strukoff, Fred & Elizabeth Chernoff, John Faminoff and George Semenoff; his cousin, Natalie Soukoroff; parents-in-law, Paul & Nellie Tabish and his brother-in-law, Matt Kopan. He leaves to mourn his passing and cherish his memory, his loving and beloved wife, Rita; his parents, Pete & Dorothy Chernoff of Grand Forks; his sisters, Fay (John) Malins of Grand Forks and Irene (Jim) Walker of Victoria; his niece, Sara (Paul) Findlater and their children, Bryce & Jaeden of Grand Forks; his sisters-in-law, Shirley Kopan and Geraldine (Andy) Proulx as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, many friends, neighbours, co-workers, and clients.
During the last few months of his life, Steve took some time to contemplate his life and put down some words regarding his life that he felt were important. This is a quote from Steve: “Steve followed his chosen career path and in 42 years moved from drafting, to design, to construction manager, to managing his own business. His plans for retirement were to be filled with time spent playing the guitar and mandolin, doing leatherwork, painting with oils and maintaining his and Rita’s beautiful yard, and spending more time with family and friends in BC. Steve would like us to remember him for his sharp wit, his sense of humour and willingness to jump in and help who ever and whenever a hand was needed.”
A Service of Remembrance was held on Saturday, February 22, 2014 from the Chapel of Christie’s Funeral Home in Yorkton, Saskatchewan with Kathy Novak serving as the Funeral Celebrant. Tributes included a letter from Steve’s niece, Sara Findlater, read by Ron Kolodziejski, a Prayer written by Amy Havens Hines, read by Brian W. Tourney and a poem, “Here’s to the Man” read by Clarence Reed. Members of the Tuffnell Circle Jammers played music before the service. Special taped music selections included, “Otche Nach (The Lord’s Prayer)” sung by the Victoria Doukhobor Choir; “God of the Mountain” sung by Lynda Randal; “Through The Years” sung by Kenny Rogers; “The Church in the Wildwood” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and “How Great Thou Art” and “Besame Mucho” sung Dena Taylor. Following a reception in the Gunn Reception Room at Christie’s Funeral Home, a private family cremation committal took place at the Yorkton City Cemetery Columbarium with Rita Chernoff serving as the urn bearer.
A Service to Celebrate Steve’s Life will be held in Grand Forks, BC at a later date.
Friends so wishing may forward their condolences to the family by visiting www.christiesfuneralhome.com. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Christie’s Funeral Home & Crematorium, Yorkton, Saskatchewan.