Memorable Manitobans: George Nicholos Heshka (1933-2021)
Born in Winnipeg on 6 December 1933, son of Rose Pistun (1912-1993) and Fred Heshka (c1895-1963), he graduated from St. John's High School then spent two years working for the Canadian National Railway before attending university where he received degrees in Physics and Education.
He began a life-long teaching career at Shevchenko School (1960-1962) before returning to Winnipeg to teach at Transcona Collegiate (1966-1972). He served as teaching Vice-Principal of Springfield Collegiate (1972-1973), as Coordinator of Urban Education at the Manitoba Department of Education (1974-1975), and as Principal of Argyle High School (1976-1977) and Dufferin School (1977-1980).
In 1980, he became the Principal of Sisler High School, staying in the position for a remarkable 41 years. Known for his innovative school programs, treatment of education as an agent of social change, and inspirational leadership, he remained Principal until he died. In recognition of his vision, commitment to education, and decades of service to the inner city, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Winnipeg (2013), was inducted into the Order of Manitoba (2013), and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).
He died at Dugald on 25 March 2021. He is commemorated by George Heshka Park.
Marriage registration [Rose Pistun, Fred Heshka], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Fred Heshka], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 October 1963, page 35.
Obituary [Rose Martyniuk], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 October 1993, page 40.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 April 2021.
We thank Kristin Heshka for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 December 2021