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The hospital held a special place in the heart of the late John “Jack” Golka.

Although he started life as a humble dairyman delivering milk around the Valley, he eventually relocated to work in the mines. 

It was there he suffered a workplace injury that would change the trajectory of his career forever.

John joined St. Francis Memorial Hospital first working as an orderly and eventually becoming a pharmacy technician. He was asked by Sister Rosenda Brady if he would be interested in starting the ambulance service, which he did on January 1, 1971.

Although his healthcare career led him to other places over the years, his daughter, Joanne Truskoski, said St. Francis Memorial Hospital was always home for John and his family. John’s wife, Ursula, was born and raised in Barry’s Bay and served as a member of the hospital auxiliary. 

“I was born at St. Francis Memorial Hospital and to this day, we continue to have our health care managed by Dr. Jason Malinowski and his team,” Joanne said. “Barry’s Bay has always been home no matter where we’ve lived and our ties to the community and to the hospital have always remained strong.” 

At 84 years of age, John passed away on June 27, 2021. His family directed In Memoriam donations to the St. Francis Valley Healthcare Foundation, to be used for the highest priority needs.

“We are so proud of the quality of care provided in the hospital and we will always support its growth and further development so that it continues to be such an incredible local resource for so many,” Joanne explained. 

The family also purchased an element on the memorial wall at St. Francis Memorial Hospital, so that John’s memory will be kept alive in the hospital that meant so much to him. 

“It’s wonderful that people don’t have to leave the area for health care services because so much is available right here at home,” Joanne said.

John “Jack” Golka
John “Jack” Golka