Kelly Dean Churko
  • 36 years old
  • Date of birth: Aug 18, 1977
  • Place of birth:
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Date of passing: Jan 13, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Moose Jaw, Canada
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Kelly Churko, 36, born on August 18, 1977 and passed away on January 13, 2014. We will remember him forever.
Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Mark Lowe on 14th January 2018

"Still inspiring me to work harder!
Love you buddy!"

This tribute was added by Roman Churko on 15th January 2017

"So true, Kim. Not a day or night doesn't go by that I don't think of Kelly."

This tribute was added by Kim Churko on 13th January 2017

"It was three years ago this morning that we sat on Kelly's bed and helped him pass over to another world. Another dimension. That memory will never leave me. I know that he's not gone entirely. His presence is still too real. We're still finding dimes in unexpected places. Love you today and always, Kelly."

This tribute was added by Mark Lowe on 13th January 2016

"Making some noise in Montreal tonight with you in mind. Miss you but your influence and presence goes on!"

This tribute was added by Kim Churko on 13th January 2016

"This morning I reread over each of the tributes that were left by Kelly's friends. How thoughtful they all are. What incredible friends he had. And what an impact that he obviously had on all the people who encountered him.

Tonight our Mom is making perogies and cabbage rolls and having some of those friends over. It will be a night of tears and laughs as well. Kelly will be watching us I'm sure. I often feel his presence, sometimes when I'm least expecting it and at other times when I really need him. I love and miss you so much little brother."

This tribute was added by Mitch Kinney on 13th January 2015

"Hard to believe how fast a full year has passed since my friend Kelly passed away. One of the very few people on earth who was on the same wavelength as myself. A rare breed indeed whose intelligence and originality are matched only by his big heart. A day doesn't go by when I don't think of you, dude. Miss you very much, and wish you were here. Will play some Naked City today in your memory.
Love from the Cosmos..."

This tribute was added by Kim Churko on 13th January 2015

"I'm sitting here in solitude on a cold (-44C) Sunday morning. I was thinking of Kelly and wrote this toast to him. (Yes Kelly, I know it doesn't rhyme! I'm mostly Ukrainian not Irish). I have just popped a bottle of bubbly and topped it with fresh squeezed orange juice. (It seemed a little early for scotch). Would you raise your glass with me to his memory......

Love Kim

Your Memory Lives On

Time has not erased
Your image from our minds. 
It has not lessened the pain
That you are no longer with us. 

You touched the lives of so many,
Across continents. 
You lived a life, 
though brief, it was full. 

A lasting legacy was left 
Through your musical creations. 
Stories we share 
Will keep your memory alive. 

Time moves forward as it always does, 
And we must carry on. 
Feeling your spirit with us,
Brings comfort and peace.

So until we meet again, 
Here's a toast to you dear brother, son, 
grandson, uncle, and friend......
Your memory lives on. "

This tribute was added by Daniel Nargang on 19th August 2014

"You invited yourself to my apartment one day, unannounced and demanded I make tea! You brought with you both noise and your outlook on life. It remains one of the best days I've ever had. Only you could have done this. Thanks, brother. Miss you. -D."

This tribute was added by Roman Churko on 18th August 2014

"Spent time at Kelly's grave site today. The memorial stone was finally set in place just in time for his birthday. We miss him a lot."

This tribute was added by Roman Churko on 18th August 2014

"Spent time at Kelly's grave site today. The memorial stone was finally set in place just in time for his birthday. We miss him a lot."

This tribute was added by Alethia Stafford on 12th April 2014

"Uncle Kelly was really funny, talented, and had a very unique sense of music taste. I remember how he talked about the football players when we were watching football at Grandma Bonnie's house and that they did a lot of stuff together. His opinions made me laugh. He was probably the person who had the most unique sense of music out of anyone that I've known. I'm glad that I knew him but not that much. I wish I had. He was very special to our family."

This tribute was added by Francisco Meirino on 3rd April 2014

"My sincere condolences to the Churko family.
I met Kelly everytime I went to play in Japan, we shared meals and laughs, he was a great guy and a fantastic artist.

I will miss you, Kelly."

This tribute was added by Kelly Nicholson on 24th March 2014

"So sorry Churko family :( I pray The Lord comforts you all the this terrible time. This grieves my heart... Take care."

This tribute was added by John Durica on 22nd January 2014

"RIP my friend, until we meet again.
I had the pleasure of attending Vancouver Community College Jazz studies program with Kelly. A very talented & gifted musician, Kelly would often expose us to interesting avant gaurd composers.
A great friend , you will be dearly missed."

This tribute was added by Mr.Lindsay McDonald on 22nd January 2014

"Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting Kelly it is easy to see he had what I call "That Churko Magic." Touching the lives of everyone for the better, and making this world a better place to live in."

This tribute was added by Blaze Churko on 22nd January 2014

"Never had the chance to meet Kelly, but he sounds like a genuine Churko. Condolences to my extended extended family."

This tribute was added by Kelly Pettit on 22nd January 2014

"My deepest condolences.  I only met Kelly once.  Cory came over to Japan and I went down to Tokyo and had dinner with him and Kelly and some of Kelly's friends.  I just wanted to give my condolences to the Churko family and all those touched by Kelly.  Losing a family member is a hard thing.  May he rest in peace."

This tribute was added by Lisa chiarenza on 22nd January 2014

"Out deepest condolences. Lisa Chiarenza and Rockit Management & Publicity"

This tribute was added by Yuko Ohi on 20th January 2014

"Kelly, thank you for everything for me and Rikako. I respect all of your choice you had in your days with your disease.
You told me you didn't want to do any chemotherapy because you didn't want to lose your sense of your fingers as a  prefessional musician.
I believe you enjoy your noise and music now.
See you again."

This tribute was added by Teresa Eveleigh on 18th January 2014

"I only met Kelly once, when he was a little boy, but I am sure that he was an amazing man, because he has an amazing family.  My thoughts and prayers are with all of you, and my heart goes out to everyone of you.  Hugs to you all."

This tribute was added by Tim Olive on 18th January 2014

"My sincere condolences to the Churko family. Kelly was a great man and a great friend, passionate and intense, intelligent and articulate, kind and loving. He will be sadly missed by so many. I consider myself very lucky to have known Kelly, to have played music with him, to have called him - to still call him, always - my dear friend."

This tribute was added by cliff stevenson on 17th January 2014

"This was a very difficult time and I'm glad the pastor said it was ok to cry but he was a little late. Sure brought back memories; fast driving, blue car, babysitting Kelly & Casey, listening to band, scarecrows and tons of others. Our granddaughter(Jayci) was in car accident 4 yrs. ago and is in a wheelchair today and believe me the pain does not go away. You learn to cope with the pain & lost dreams but it is always there. We hope that you will learn to cope with yours.
Roman said" you haven't changed a bit "really?
Bonnie said "I did get your message" lots of tears at this point.
Kim said" it's good to see you"
Kevin - recognized him but I don't know how and then he pointed out his siblings.
Cory said" hm long lost relatives and be sure and say hi to Starla"
Casey said" somebody has the same birthday as mom's"
PS we think we will stick with country.
PPS- hey Cory- how about a souvenir from Shania for Jayci?"

This tribute was added by Dan Moyenin on 16th January 2014

"Kelly was, and still is, one of the most interesting, intelligent, patient, tolerant and beautiful people i have ever met or known about. I never heard anyone have a bad word to say against him, nor did i ever hear him have a bad word for anyone else.
He made friends and touched peoples lives in all walks of life and everywhere he went. From his work as a teacher to his life as a musician he always gave his best and helped everyone he could to do their best too.
He is one of the best friends that I could ever hope to have had and for that i will be eternally grateful, his kindness, wisdom and grace were always present in his interactions with everyone around him. Although his life was tragically cut short, he managed to squeeze in more in that short time than most of us could hope to accomplish in a dozen lifetimes and I choose to rejoice in that and remember him as one of the most brilliant people I have ever encountered.
Rest in peace Kelly, i loved you like a brother and you will be in my heart as long as i draw breathe, you inspired me in the past and will continue to inspire me."

This tribute was added by Yummyyummy Rose on 15th January 2014

"Kelly and I talked about life after death sometimes.. He loved science so.. He believed we are just huge energy then it would remain as used to even after death.. Interesting! I believe his heavy metal energy would be around all of us now if his thoughts are true! I really hope so."

This tribute was added by Daynen Billy on 15th January 2014

"I met kelly at a jam in moose jaw. Played with n cruzed around with him. He showed me another aspect to music i didnt know could be used in a way that made sense. In the little time we shared in the music seen hear in moose jaw, i learned so much. He is an forever will be the ut most talented musician i have had the honour play with. I will never forget "lets just make some noise"
Rest in paradise my friend!!"

This tribute was added by ioana ligdas on 15th January 2014

"Kelly was such a huge talent when we played in jazz choir together that I was embarrassed if I ever sang a wrong note around him.  He would never know it, but his immense talent and humble nature pushed our jazz choir to be the best it could be.  We would never have been able to experience the challenging music Allison presented to us if Casey and Kelly couldn't play it - so of course, we were handed the most challenging jazz tunes out there.  We would all joke around that we wanted Churko hair, too.  He loved that one.  I worked with Kelly with my Greek band (to my surprise) during University years.   I walked into Touchwood Studios and there was Kelly holding a bouzouki - he says "Opa, Ioana, I am half Greek now".  It was cool to share that time in the studio with a musician I grew with in high school - the music on my cd will forever have his stamp on it.  I am planning a Churko Memorial Scholarship set up at my middle school where I teach full time drama.  The scholarship is for a student who puts there heart and soul into their music and exhibits a tireless work ethic - just like Kelly did.  To the whole Churko family from mine - our deepest sympathies - the Greeks say "Zoe se mas" when someone passes - rough translation - "life on going for you all" - May time help heal your hearts and May time make the love you had for Kelly grow even stronger.  God Bless - Ioana Hasapis Ligdas"

This tribute was added by Czarina Gutierrez on 15th January 2014

"I look forward to getting to know Kelly even more through Mitch's stories and jokes.  He lives on in our memories and stories of him.  Thank you all for posting on his memorial site - through Mitch Kinney and Ben Wilson, I will know Kelly for the extraordinary person that he was.  My sincerest condolences.  My parents battled and lost to cancer as well.  Just hearing about him, I know he fought to the end.  Rest in peace, dear one!  You are sorely missed."

This tribute was added by 光陽 高松 on 15th January 2014

"I will never forget you. from Sharaku"

This tribute was added by Mitch Kinney on 15th January 2014

"January 13th will be a day I hold in my mind forever. I wasn't shocked to hear the news of Kelly's passing as I knew he hadn't been well for awhile, but I wasn't aware that he had taken a turn for the worse around Christmas. It's a shame because Ben Wilson and I had been talking the night before about planning a road trip to go see him before he got any worse. Alas, we were too late. That's how life goes I guess. One minute you're here, the next you're not.

The last few days have been strange and sad days for me and very hard to put the hours in at my job. Lots of fond, crazy, bizarre and heartfelt memories have flooded back to me about my time with Kelly and my other friends. It's made me reflect on my own life and how thankful I am to be alive and how much he helped me through a lot of rough patches. It didn't matter how bad things got for me, when I talked with him, he always seemed to have simple, clear answers that made total sense and made me look at the bright side of things.

His never-ending inside humour and jokes will be sorely missed. Some jokes were just between me and him, some were between a small select group of people like Ben, Shanto, Chris K, Masa, Stefan and others. I remember the first time Kelly came over to my place to hang out & "inspect" the CD collection and once he saw I had the Zorn boxset "The Parachute Years", he nodded to Ben, who was also there, "Yeah man, he's in". And from there on, our relationship kept evolving. One thing that Kelly admired that I could do like no one else was the death belch, and it never failed to make Kelly almost roll over laughing. A "death belch" is basically letting out a deep gutteral growl like a death metal vocalist while at the same time, belching. It was complete and utter abandon and juvenile, ridiculously over-the-top bizarre humour that drew us together and we always made one another bowl over with laughter. I don't drink anymore, but I do miss some of the times we went on some major boozing excursions. He loved his beer & scotch and whenever in Tokyo he always took me to this high-end connoisseur liquor shop and pointed to the ones he recommended. "Get that one". I was amazed at his vast knowledge of just about everything, from booze, music, films, books and science.

His passing has made me extremely sad, but at least I feel I have a certain closure with him as I talked with him VIA Skype about 6 weeks ago or so. I don't feel like there is anything else I wanted to tell him or could tell him and he knew that. I said what I thought was necessary, told him how much I loved him, as a dear true friend, the rarest of the rare, a partner in crime and one of the most gifted, ambitious and positive influences in my entire life. I know I likely wouldn't have been so interested in Japan without his turning me onto the underground culture there. But I am happy that Kelly is no longer suffering and at peace and he seemed to be fully accepting of his short time left. I am grateful that I have my health, sobriety, a beautiful woman who loves me very much and friends and family that love me very much. I am truly grateful for those things every single day. We take for granted those gifts and many other simple things in life, like being able to wake up in the morning and look outside at the beauty that surrounds us. Take it all in and enjoy your time left. Life truly is short. Eternal love to my soul brother and one of the only people on the entire planet that understood me as well as he did...

To the entire Churko family, my sincere condolences and deepest love and respect for all of you. I know none of you have met me except Cory but hopefully you have heard good things about me. Kelly and I were very close and I would consider him the best friend I ever had.

I apologize I am unable attend the funeral because of financial reasons, distance and work. I wish I could be there to meet all of you.

I plan to work on a piece of artwork dedicated to Kelly in the next while with a central image of him, to try and capture everything that he was about, which is not an easy thing to do.

Much love & respect,   Mitch"

This tribute was added by Daniel Nargang on 15th January 2014

"It wasn't until last night when I told myself the news again that it hit home. Kelly, you gave me many gifts. You were a good friend of mine and I will never forget you for that. You left a giant mark on my life full of belly laughs, deep intellectualism and of course, music. You were a brave and beautiful soul, my friend and I know you fought to the end. I am saddened to know that you are gone. All my respect to you and to the entire Churko family. Rest well, my brother. I will miss you."

This tribute was added by Sky Burial on 15th January 2014

"Kelly was one of the most humble, generous and talented people I've ever had the opportunity to spend time with and work with. I'll cherish the time we spent in izakayas in Tokyo discussing hockey (Kelly was an Oilers fan, me a Rangers so we had Messier in common!). He would always make his home available to those visiting. When I was in the hospital a few years back one of the few phone calls I got was a surprise ring from Japan.........Kelly. Just a massively caring, wonderful man."

This tribute was added by Susan Boan on 15th January 2014

"We became good buddies the last few years little cousin. You and Cliff (my Dad) fought the fight together. I don't think you ever knew how much Dad appreciated your words of advice and wisdom as you battled this cancer monster  together. You both showed so much courage, heart, and strength right to the end. I will miss you and our visits, but take a little comfort knowing that you are no longer in any pain. God bless.

Bonnie, Roman, Kim, Kevin, Cory, and Casey- my sincere condolences."

This tribute was added by Roman Churko on 15th January 2014

"What stamina and power this young man had."

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This memorial is administered by:

jody churko


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