Obituary of Paul Kozicki
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Paul Kozicki, on Friday, March 22, 2019. Paul was born on July 15, 1933 to Dmytro (Mike) and Kataryna (Katie) Kozicki, whose families emigrated from the Ukraine in the hope of finding a better life in Canada. Mike’s father, Lawrence, acquired a small plot of land in the Kindersley area and turned it into a successful farming operation. Even as an adult, Paul returned annually to the farm to help his parents with seeding and harvesting. Paul acquired his traits of hard work and tenacity from his parents and grandparents.
Paul and his twin brother, Peter, were the eldest of Mike and Katie’s five children. The importance of an education was always stressed by his parents, especially his mother. Paul and Peter each obtained degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in 1956 and upon graduating both began their careers with the national consulting firm B.B. Torchinsky and Associates Ltd.
While attending university in Saskatoon, Paul met his life partner, Jean Gajewski. They were married on January 26, 1957. With toddler in tow and another child on the way they moved from Saskatoon to Regina in 1959; were off to Toronto soon after, then Montreal. A Westerner at heart, Paul returned to Saskatchewan and later, faced with another transfer East, chose to found his own engineering consulting firm, Ground Engineering Ltd., in December, 1971. This firm is still in operation today as Ground Engineering Consultants Ltd.
As a geotechnical consultant, Paul was responsible for the foundation design of several of the towers that form Regina’s skyline, including the SaskPower Building, Roberts Plaza and the Delta Hotel, as well as large industrial developments like Ipsco (Evraz), the Co-op Upgrader expansion and the Dominion Bridge Steel plant. He also provided foundation designs for structures located outside of the province. If he had a professional regret, it was that residential construction, for the most part, never adopted the use of proven foundation systems guaranteed to perform for the expansive clay soil conditions of Regina and instead persisted in using systems destined to cause problems due to differential movement.
Always the entrepreneur, Paul started other companies, Avonlea Minerals Ltd., which mined and processed bentonite, Ground Sealant Systems Inc. which constructed earthen seepage containment liners for applications such as uranium ore tailing ponds, PFI Pile Foundations Inc., a foundation piling company and GE Ground Engineering Ltd. which owned and continues to own and lease real estate. Paul was often called as an expert witness in cases involving foundational and geotechnical issues due to his knowledge and expertise in the area and represented the provincial government in conferences in Norway, South America and the Ukraine. It was on one such trip to the Ukraine that he met, by accident, relatives of his parents. They kept in contact for many years thereafter. Even after he sold his engineering company and so called “retired”, Paul continued to provide advice to individuals requesting it on foundation, soil and water issues.
Though passionate about engineering, his greatest passion was reserved for his family, all of whom he was “damn proud” of. Every Saturday was steak night at the Kozicki household where the family (including grandchildren, when they started to arrive) watched Paul grill steaks over a raging fire, played croquet and other lawn games, when weather permitted, and then had vigorous discussions/debates about all subject matters well into the night. He celebrated his children’s and grandchildren’s academic and sports achievements, travelling across the country to attend convocations and numerous sporting events, always the enthusiastic fan and supporter.
Paul was also a very good athlete in his own right. In his youth, he played for the Kindersley Klippers and in his adult years, with the Docs and Engineers Old-timers Recreational hockey team. He took up golf in his 60's and quickly developed a solid game, especially enjoying time on the course with his grandsons both in Saskatchewan and in Arizona where Paul and Jean wintered in his later years. Paul was active and strong into his mid-80's but in the summer of 2018, while painting his pool, had a slip and fall resulting in a significant brain injury from which he never recovered. The last few months were difficult and his regular visitors during that difficult time will forever be appreciated as will the staff at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, Broadway Terrace and Wintergreene Estates for the care given and compassion shown to him.
Paul is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jean; children, Lorrie (Greg), Lynn (Murray) and John (Sylvie); grandchildren, Shea (Jessica), Taylor (Lindsay), Geneva, Rayna, Haley, Britton, Kade, Pascale, Emilie, Caroline and Daniel and great-grandson, Wells. A celebration of Paul’s life will be held at Christ the King Church, 3239 Garnet Street, Regina, SK on Friday, May 10, 2019, 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to a charity of your choice.