With heavy hearts and great sadness we announce the peaceful passing of Hank. Cherished husband to Kay, devoted father to Danny (Christine), Dana (Paul), Kathy (Rob) and proud grandpa to Nicholas, Benjamin, Leah, Jamie and Sydney. Hank also leaves behind brother Edward (Carolyn) sister Rosemary (George) and many nephews and nieces.
Hank was born during hard times in the midst of the Great Depression to Polish immigrants Sofia and Stefan Nowak in South Vancouver. The Nowak family was very active in the Polish community, Hank growing up playing accordion and dancing in many festivals at the local hall.
Hank made lifelong friends at Sir Sandford Fleming Elementary & John Oliver High School. He was very athletic and excelled in boxing, baseball and track. It was a different world then and allowed for plenty of mischief with his ‘partners in crime’. There were many stories of log rolling on the Fraser River, broken noses and naughty pranks.
Standard Building Supplies was the family business and Hank and his siblings worked hard to build the great reputation it has today. He drove the pick-up truck to school (which made him popular with the girls) but when Hank met Kay Morrison through friends at King Edward High School, she became the love of his life and wife of 61 years. Tragically, in 1967 they lost their beautiful little boy Randy at 6 years old. Devastated, but with the support of their wonderful family and friends they carried on raising their family in Burnaby.
Hank was a motorcycle enthusiast (daredevil) and many a trip was made with his closest friends to Utah to ride amongst the arches and desert canyons. Also, unforgettable adventures on snowmobiles took place in the Okanagan. He and Kay later bought a motor home and became snowbirds travelling throughout the States. Eventually Hank purchased a home in Palm Springs with his brother Eddie’s family. Many happy seasons were spent in California hosting family and friends around the pool. When not down south, Hank & Kay were either cruising around the world or watching their grandkids playing hockey, soccer or lacrosse, sometimes 3 games a day!
Forever the entertainer and always ready for a good time, Hank was a joker and wheeler-dealer. Many will remember his signature ‘Numbers Game’ played at innumerable dinner parties. He valued his family and friends, his accordion, an old-fashioned lumberman’s handshake and a good glass of scotch. An astute and successful businessman, Hank was active with his brother in developing his beloved Standard Lumber into one of the most renowned companies in the field.
Hank will be lovingly remembered for his welcoming demeanor, his mischievous wit and wonderful dry sense of humor and will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Sadly at this time, we are not able to have the celebration of life for him that we would like. There will be a graveside service at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Burnaby, Saturday, August 15th at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Hanks name to Children’s Hospital.
The family would like to invite anyone that may not be able to attend the burial to view the event online here: https://vimeo.com/450265337
To send flowers to Henry (Hank) Benjamin Nowak's family, please visit our floral store.
BC Children's Hospital Foundation