Obituary of Ryszard "Richard" Szatkowski
It is with extreme sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Richard Szatkowski, on Monday, May 24th, 2021 in his 74th year. He passed away very peacefully with his loving wife by his side. Richard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020 and lived his life to the fullest without any pain. He was predeceased by his parents Alfreda and Aleksander and younger sister Danuta back in Poland. Richard is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Alicja, and daughter Marta whom he adored, loved and was very proud of. He is also survived by numerous family members in Poland and in Mississauga and Toronto.
Richard was born in Malbork, Poland and as a young boy, he started taking music lessons. Music was Richard’s life. He played the accordion, clarinet, saxophone, keyboards and piano. In his early twenties, together with his two classmates, Jan and Zbyszek, they formed a band and started playing in luxurious hotels in former Yugoslavia on the Adriatic coast and Slovenia.
In 1978, Richard emigrated to Canada from communist Poland and spent a few years in Edmonton, Alberta where he opened a music school and played in hotels in Banff and Edmonton. Together with Jan Lewan, he played for the Canadian Pacific Hotels, crossing Canada from the west to east coast many times. In 1985, Richard moved to Toronto where he met his future wife. Two years later, he married Alicja and a couple of years later they started a family. His and Alicja’s first date happened to take place in the Bahamas after a funny series of events, and their marriage continued to be filled with laughter, travel and adventure.
In 1994, Richard and his family moved to Niagara Falls. Soon after, he met another Polish musician, Joe, and formed the band “Spectrum.”
In 1996, Richard began working at Casino Niagara and later transferred to Fallsview Casino where he made countless good friends during his 18 years in the slot department. While employed at the casinos, he still played music on weekends. After retiring from the casino, Richard took time to travel. Together as a family, they travelled to Poland, France, Spain, Scotland, England and Florida. Richard’s favourite vacation was on the cruise ships to Cuba, Mexico, Cayman Island, and Bermuda. In 2018, Richard, Alicja, and Marta had a wonderful family vacation in Calafell, Spain which holds very special memories. He loved spending his summer weekends sailing on Lake Ontario with friends from the Port Credit Marina. After retirement, Richard continued playing music in retirement homes across the Niagara Region and teaching music to students. With his welcoming demeanor and generous spirit, Richard brought laughter, music, and a good joke to every room he entered. He will be deeply missed by all his family and friends, but his spirit will live on through all the memories, stories and music.
Our special thanks to Dr. Conen, Martha McKelvey NP and nurse Lilia Schewchuk for their care. Lilia always brought a smile to Richard’s face on her visits. We would like to thank all of Richard’s family and friends for your messages, flowers, food, and prayers. Your support means the world to us during this difficult time.
The cremation has taken place and Richard’s ashes will be taken to his birthplace according to his wishes. Essentials Cremation and Burial Services (905-354-2133) has been entrusted with arrangements. A Celebration of Life will take place sometime in the future, and the information will be updated on Richard’s tribute page at EssentialsNiagara.com when it is arranged. Donations to the Walker Family Cancer Centre or to help build a memorial bench would be appreciated by the family. Online condolences can also be shared on Richard’s tribute page at EssentialsNiagara.com.