Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The following was the eulogy presented by Nick's son David at the lunch following the funeral services Dec 14th:

Dear family, friends – Right reverend

My family and I want to celebrate with you some highlights from our dad’s long and active life. All in all, he was a pretty amazing man. He made people feel comfortable, no matter from what background they came from. He did so many things, and worked with so many organizations and people, had so many successes and many accomplishments. Yet, through it all, he was a humble, down to earth person

We’re sure that one source of Nick’s humble nature comes from being raised on the farm. He was born in Redwater in 1926, and after he reached the age of 2, his parents moved North to Boyle. The farming style was mixed, because the soil on their land was somewhat poor. Nick had to grow up through the Great Depression. He had learned, along with his family, to become self sufficient and wise in the use of his resources.

During his boyhood, Nick participated as his father helped in building the local Orthodox church. (This is the church where his parents are buried, and where Nick will be laid to rest.) This is also where Nick had his early training in carpentry and building construction. Before, during and after the church was completed (in 1936) Nick gained early experiences in a variety of church community development activities. Nick’s father was reported to have had a fine tenor voice and had received some previous musical training. Nick told us his father worked on reviving the old tradition of door to door Ukrainian Christmas caroling for the settlers in the area. This meant that most rehearsals ended up in the family farm house and Nick would reminisce on how much he enjoyed these pleasant musical social events.

Ukrainian church related social events became an integral part of Nick’s life for his many years to follow. Nick had moved to Edmonton, and became active in the Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association. He joined St John’s Cathedral and later helped found their Young Adults Group. Still Later, Nick served as Director, Vice President and President of St John’s and was made an Honorary Life member. He was a member of the Order of St. Andrew and was actively involved as a member, director or officer of numerous associated organizations which included CYMK, St Andrew’s College, Ukrainian credit Unions, Ukrainian Village Society, Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum, St. John’s Institute and others.

Service to others was a way of life for Nick. Immediately after High School he enlisted to serve our country. He started in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corp, with the Lord Strathcona Royal Canadians where he trained as a gunner and tank driver. As he war wound down, he was moved to the Corp of Military Staff Clerks, where he helped discharge the returning troops. In 1946, Nick was himself discharged with the rank of acting sergeant and took to civilian life by working for the Independent Wholesale company in the grocery business. Looking back on his experience in the Military, Nick said that he had developed a high sense of organizational skills, discipline and work ethic, which would add further to his basis of values in his life.

Artistic talent came naturally to Nick. He loved to sketch, and photography had always been a passionate hobby. So Nick left the grocery business to draw and photograph plants at the Dominion Lab of Agriculture and Plant Pathology Research at the University of Alberta, 1951-1952.

Photographic pursuits soon lead Nick to be involved in the 1953 formation of Film Services, a black and white film processing company. He became president in 1959. Then, in 1961, he became president of Northwest Color Laboratories, which developed color film and grew to be one of the largest photofinishing companies in Canada, employing over 200 persons and servicing photofinishing for the majority of drug, camera and department stores in Western Canada. Nick retired in 1993 after being in the business for 40 years.

Nick was a very successful businessman because - as many customers had remarked, and as we as we had always known - Nick was a man of his word. If he said he would do something, it would get done.

Also central to his success was his belief that “if you are going to do something, do it well” In doing his artwork and photography, he would study the subject from all angles and then present beauty in things that others would blindly pass by. From his sketches to his paintings, from his photography to his stained glass windows, he quietly and humbly (and almost continually) produced work after work of a high standard.

Nick received an associate membership of the Photographic Society of America (APSA) in 1955 – he was one of the youngest associates in the world. He was granted a life membership in the Professional Photographers of Canada and honored as Master of Photographic Arts (MPA) in 1990. He exhibited photographs internationally and had over 400 acceptances – many of them receiving awards worldwide. He received Life memberships in the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, the Photo Marketing Association International, and the Buck Rogers Group of Photo Industry Leaders and Innovators.

Nick was a member of a great number of associations and societies, often serving as a director or officer. In his interactions with others many appreciated his clever, soft sense of humor. He was President of the Canadian Club of Edmonton (2006-08); director of the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation for 20 years and its President for two (1993-94); member of the downtown Edmonton Chapter of the Rotary Club for over 40 years, serving as director and President (1989-90) and becoming a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow; member of the Edmonton Flying Club for over 40 years serving as its director and secretary; member of the Edmonton and District Historical Society; Founding Member and Director of the Edmonton Chapter of the Probus Club; a member of the Stained Glass Association of America; and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 63 years.

We often wondered how Nick had the time to do so much and do it so well. We think one reason for this was his deliberate and scientific approach to improving himself or mastering an area of interest. To learn photography, he read every book he could find and studied photographers like Ansel Adams. To learn to paint, he started by copying works by Leonardo Da Vinci and Millet. To learn stained glass he visited churches all over Europe, photographing and studying the windows. Above all, he was a man of action and deeds. He rarely watched TV and usually fell asleep during movies. Instead, he loved to read, have discourse and gain insight by actively engaging his mind. This would then lead to expression through his actions and deeds.

Nick had designed and created windows for St Mary’s cathedral in Willingdon and for the Norwood Legion. 18 of the exquisite stained glass windows in St John’s, which Father Semotiuk had pointed out earlier were designed, created and installed by Nick Ochotta.

Nicholas Paul Ochotta, M.P.A., A.P.S.A., or Nick as he is known to his family and friends, was born on January 23, 1926 to Emilian and Anastasia Ochotta in Redwater Alberta. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at Norwood Capital Care on December 4, 2009. Nicholas is survived by his three sons, David and Elizabeth of Ontario; Peter and Darlene of BC; and Emil and Bin of California; and their mother, Irene of Edmonton; six grandchildren, Sam, Stephen, Andrew, Mike, Nicholas and Annabelle; Sister, Katherine Carter; sisters in-law Stella Stefure, Rose Davidovich, Ollie McEvoy and Merv Granlien, Nadeya Bodnar; companion, Helen MacCrimmon; nieces, nephews, godchildren, relatives and friends. Nicholas was predeceased by his parents, Emilian and Anastasia; sisters, Mona and Carl Shevoley, Annie and Steve Harmatny; brother, Mike and Jennie; brother in-law, Martin Letawsky; his in-laws Anne and John Humeny, Martin and Jennie Bodnar, Joseph Bodnar, Nick Davidovich, Tony Stefure, Roy McEvoy, and Nick Bodnar.

Good –bye Dad, we love you. We will all miss you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

To my Father-in-Law

I cannot find enough words to express my deepest gratitude towards you. Your gentle love and kindness and generosity has touched our family deeply. You left us with memories that will remain in our hearts forever. The opportunities and dreams you made possible for me and my children will never be forgotten. The closeness that I shared with you was truly one that a father and a daughter can only understand. I admired you for your unassuming and humble presence. You never forgot about your humble beginnings on the farm. I could relate to you and your stories. I will never forget how you talked about the farm in Boyle, your family, and the old country and how you related all of it to my parents and my growing up on the farm. You said that we were ' farm folk'. I will always remember how you came to spent every Christmas eve in our home with us in Pickering. (Stephen and Andrew still talk about how Grandpa took them to Red Lobster whenever he came to visit.) The happiness, comfort and peacefulness that you brought with you on each visit to our home will never be forgotten.

You are in heaven now - free of the pain that you so graciously endured over the past year. You gave us strength, we gave you hope and most of all we gave each other a love that will live in our hearts forever.

I will always love you, Dad.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nick and the Community

My Dad was president, on the board, or significantly involved in many clubs, groups and service organizations.

We'd like to have a complete list. If you know of something we've left off the list below, please let us know by adding a comment.


  • Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC), Master of Photographic Arts (MPA), Honorary Lifetime Member.
  • Associate, of Photographic Society of America (APSA). Since 1955. Was youngest associate.
  • Photo Marketing Association (PMA) (honorary life member).
  • International Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain.
  • Rotary Club International. Paul Harris fellow. President of Edmonton Chapter, 1989-1990.
  • Canadian Club of Edmonton. President 2006-2008.
  • Heart And Stroke Foundation. President 1993-1994.
  • Order of St. Andrew.
  • Probus Club.
  • Royal Canadian Legion (life member).
  • Buck Rogers Group (life member).
  • Alberta Professional Photographers Association.
  • Association of Professional Color Labs.
  • Society of Photo Finishing Engineers.
  • Canadian Owner and Pilots Association (COPA).
  • Alberta Aviation Council.
  • Alberta Aviation Museum Association.
  • Art Gallery of Alberta.
  • Club Capri.
  • Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum.
  • Edmonton Flying Club.
  • Stained Glass Association of America.
  • St. John's Fraternal Society.
  • St. John's Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Young Adult Club of Edmonton.
  • CYMK (Ukrainian Orthodox youth group). President.
  • St. John's Orthodox Church.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


This obituary is now posted in the Edmonton Journal.

It is with great sadness that our family must announce that on December 4, 2009, Nick Ochotta passed away peacefully in his sleep. Nick is survived by his sons, David(Liz), Peter(Darlene) and Emil(Bin) and their mother, Irene; grandchildren, Sam, Stephen, Andrew, Mike, Nicholas and Annabelle; companion, Helen; sister, Kate; nieces, nephews and friends. Predeceased by his parents, Emil and Anastasia; sisters, Mona and Anne and brother, Mike. Special thanks to the staff at Capital Care Norwood for their care.

The full obituary is available online here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Prayer Service and Funeral Plans

The prayer services will be held Sunday evening December 13th, 2009 at 7pm at St. John Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral in Edmonton.

The funeral services will be held Monday morning December 14th, 2009 at 10am at St. John Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral in Edmonton.

St. John Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral is located at:
10951 - 107 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5H 2Z5

Updated Dec 14th - Committal has been delayed due to issues caused by the severe cold weather.  At this time it's expected to occur on Wednesday afternoon December 16th at Monticello Church Cemetery in Boyle, Alberta.

Sending Condolences

The boys will be using Nick's home as base camp in December.  Many of you have asked about where to send consolences.  Please use this blog as one of your options, just leave a comment on this post (the boys will see it immediately).

For those of you wishing to send a consolence, please send them to Park Memorial Funeral Home in Edmonton (780) 426-0050.

In lieu of other tributes, donations may be made to the Cross Cancer Institute, Alberta Cancer Foundation, 11560 University Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6G 1Z2. Donations can be made online here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tribute from Ross McBain

There are so many things I could say about Nick. When I hired him 55 years ago to run our photofinishing pland there was never a minute’s worry about him talking complete charge and running it. Neither of us knew anything about running a photofinishing plan but Nick, fresh from delivering groceries took charge.

One thing that never left him was quality control. From his first black and white print until he closed the door of Northwest Color quality was number 1.

The confidence I had in Nick was such that in 55 years I never questioned his decisions.

The story of Northwest Color is the story of Nick’s ability and energy. Starting a Film Services in a location where the Law Court building is now and evolving into a black and white plant under Joe Stepa and the color plant under Nick with 100 employees.

In the process, Nick built two major plants specifically designed for photofinishing, one for black and white, the other for color.

As time progressed, we arranged an agreement that Nick would own 2/3rds of the company and I would retain 1/3rd. This was no gift, Nick earned it. McBain Camera became noted for quality finishing, thanks to Nick.

Nick was an enthusiastic flyer. We flew to several conventions in my single engine Beech Bonanza, and had a few adventures. Once, coming home from Chicago, we stopped because of questionable weather. For two days we explored Flint. One the third day we could see across the field. So we checked with the tower to see if we could take off. They asked if we could fly on instruments. We said yes. So off we went and came out of the clouds at 13,000 feet. I don’t know if it was this incident that prompted Nick to get his license and buy and airplane.

Nick’s reason (excuse) for buying the plane was to visit country photofinishing dealers. Internal revenue accepted that.

On a personal basis, Nick visited us for a couple of weeks in Maui. We had summer parties at the cottage at Pigeon Lake to which Nick regularly visited. A year ago he visited our condo and took pictures of the clouds he would use in his rural paintings.

Nick was an outstanding artist in many Medias. When I hired him, he was a leading exhibitor of salon photos in Canada. He was superb in pen and ink pictures and oils as well as acrylics. His copy of The Mona Lisa was hard to distinguish from the original.

His latest, over the past 15 years was stained glass windows. I have lost track of the number he made. Many churches in the Edmonton are have them installed as well as the Norwood Legion.

It’s hard to put in writing my feelings towards Nick. Respect, Admiration, Confidence and most of all Friendship. He cannot be replaced and will be missed by all who knew him.


A Memory: Steve McEvoy's summer visit with Nick

Uncle Nick was my Godfather.  I was up in Edmonton this summer (July 2009) and visited him at Norwood along with my wife Karen.  We had a good, wide ranging chat for about an hour.  We talked about the boys, his illness, his home and future.  Sadly, this was my last visit with him.  As always, Nick was quick to get a photo of any occasion, one that will be my last memory of him.

Please share your thought and memory's here

One of the wonders of the Internet is that we can easily share our thoughts with each other.  I would encourage each of you to share your experiences with Nick and Photos through this blog.  Everyone that accesses it will be able to benefit.  Just click on the New Post link or Comments to comment on an existing post.  If you are having trouble and would prefer to just email me a story or photos to post for you, please email me at steve@mmeconsulting.com.


Nick Ochotta passed away just after 8pm Thurday evening December 4th, 2009.  He passed quietly in his sleep.

This was the end of a battle with Cancer he had been fighting.  He was staying at the Capital Care Norwood facitilty in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 

His son Emil had been by his side most of the day.  Nick was sleeping most of the time due to the cancer and treatment, but was able to acknowledge Emil from time to time.  It was our belief that Nick was ready to move on, and that he is better somewhere now without the burden of the pain.

His son's David, Peter and Emil are currently gathering in Edmonton.

More information about services will follow soon on this blog.  Please 'subscribe' to receive updates, and check back often for more information.