As the oldest patient at Saskatchewan Hospital, Mike Kerekes was a character. Anyone who ever golfed at the Saskatchewan Hospital Golf Course in North Battleford knew him by name. You could find him at the golf course spring, summer and fall trying to sell you back the golf ball you had just hit into the rough. He might ‘find’ a ball that was in play and try to sell it to whoever had just hit it. The price was cheap though it would cost you more if it was Mike’s birthday. Mike’s birthday came along quite often.
He greeted everyone who drove to the front of Sask Hospital. He’d be sitting and waving, a big smile on his face and tobacco in his hand.
Mike was a treasure at Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford (SHNB), where he had been a resident for 59 years. Mike died on Friday, November 8, 2019 at the age of 89. Fellow patients, staff, and members of the public attended a memorial service in his honour on Thursday, November 21.
Mihaly “Mike” Kerekes July 26, 1930-November 8, 2019
Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure.
You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.
At the service, SHNB Director Linda Shynkaruk spoke from the heart, capturing the essence of the man who touched many lives.
“Today is one of the most difficult days for our SHNB family. Both SHNB and The Battlefords say goodbye and honour one of our icons. Today is the end of an era. For many people, Mike was the face of SHNB.
“Often, I imagined what his life was like and one might feel great compassion and sadness for him having stayed so long at SHNB. However, I believe that Mike was happy, content, felt love and had a sense of family and belonging at SHNB……all the things that you and I want in our own lives. He has seen and tolerated more changes in the healthcare system than any of us.
“People who don’t work here need to understand how the staff go above and beyond with our patients….that it isn’t just their job, it’s like caring for their family member.
“When I went to Mike’s room to see him the day he passed away, what I saw was a man who was comfortable, cared for, had a stuffed frog on a chair close to him and a huge stuffed frog snuggled with him under the covers in his bed, and a look of peace and contentment that I will never forget. This is a result of the care he was receiving and people going above and beyond because the patients at SHNB are not just our patients, they are our family.
“Mike, thank you for allowing us to be in your home and the honour of caring for you. We wish you everlasting peace and happiness.”