Alex Ewashen was born in Nanton Alberta. The oldest of four, he was raised as a Doukhobor on a farm north of Lundbreck, Alberta. The pacifist beliefs and principle of toil and peaceful life were near and dear to his heart. At the age of 8 or 9 he bought a batch of Valentine’s cards from Winnipeg Free Press and rode his horse to all the neighbouring farms and sold out. Thus began his career as a salesman.
In his early years he worked for Coleman Colliers but most of his time was spent ranching with his father. He then attended the Banff School of Fine Arts and studied theatre and ballet and tried to seek his fortune as an actor in Calgary. That was short lived and he returned to the ranch before setting out once again; this time with a seismic crew, living in Sundre, Fort Macleod and Foremost, Alberta.
In 1961 Alex took the Dale Carnegie self improvement course which emphasized public speaking, salesmanship and interpersonal skills. This course strongly influenced the next stages of his life. It was shortly after this he met Julie. He always said he had “married up”. In 1963 he received his diploma from the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Montana. A year after their daughter Alexandra was born, they started looking for somewhere else to live so Alex could set up shop as an auctioneer. A road trip through BC took them through Creston. This is where their son Brian was born. Thursday nights at Jual Auction was a weekly event for many people in this valley and the bi-annual antique auctions drew customers from across Canada and the US.
Eventually Jual Furniture was born which later became a United Furniture Warehouse franchise.
In 1984 Alex, feeling stressed, took 3 1/2 months off to travel Europe as a member of the Peace and Friendship Caravan International. In 1987 he travelled to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea with his business partner Gabe Dudas. In 1995 he and Julie travelled with the Doukhobor choir – Voices for Peace, across Canada, to the United Nations and on to Russia. This was to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Burning of the Arms in Georgia. In 1996 they went to India to stay with Sadhna and Shiv Kapoor, long-time family friends. He and Julie had many adventures in their motor home, travelling across the US, Vancouver Island, southern Alberta, Churchill, Manitoba and around the Kootenays.
Alex was a member of the Lions Club and then the Jaycees. He was a lifetime member and avid supporter of the NDP. He sold many a pie at fundraisers for various community events and knew how to get the most out of the crowd. The last pie was sold on March 9 at $135.00, donated back and resold for another $50.00. In 2014 Alex published his autobiography “Rags to Riches…MY WAY”. In his later years he attended aqua fit faithfully twice a week, met with a monthly men’s group and sang and recorded with his brothers Larry and Bob. Family was everything to him.
Alex was predeceased by his parents Alex and Mary Ewashen; his stepmother Anne Ewashen and his sister Abbe. He is survived by his wife Julie; his children Alexandra (Bob), Brian (Laurel), foster daughter Cindy (Ray); his brothers Bob (Enid) and Larry; grandchildren Jacob, Natasha, Rebecca, Sara, Hannah (Jay); great-grandchildren Aiden and Riley; nieces, nephews and cousins along with their families and many wonderful friends.
Donations can be made in Alex’s name to the Creston Kootenay Foundation, Box 701, Creston BC, V0B 1G0.
Celebration of Life Saturday, June 1st, 2019 at 1 pm Creston and District Community Complex “Creston Room”
312 19th Ave North Creston, B.C.