Harvey Ivan Sazunic passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family on Friday, January 4, 2019 after a brave 5 year battle with a rare neurodegenerative disease. He is survived by his dear wife of 46 years Doreen, his daughters Nicole (Mark) and Martina (Simon) and two grandchildren Isabella and Ellington.
Known to most as Harvey, Big Harv, Mr. Sazunic, The Saz, or just Sir, he was born Hrvoj Ivan Sazunic on March 8, 1945 in Zagreb, Croatia. He moved to Toronto, Canada in 1956.
He graduated from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his Masters in History and Minor in Political Science. He met his beloved wife Doreen while in Halifax. They both earned their Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.
Shortly afterwards, he and Doreen got married on October 7, 1972 in Toronto. In 1977 he and Doreen became parents, welcoming their first child Nicole and their second daughter Martina, in 1983.
He taught at Michael Power St. Joseph from 1973 - 2007 when he retired. He was known for his passionate lecturing style, witty sense of humour, and love of pranks. He also coached Boys’ Soccer and Girls’ Basketball. Ask any of his former students and they’re sure to share a happy memory of him.
Harvey loved all sports, but he especially loved soccer. His daughters grew up watching the Toronto Blizzards in the early 80’s, and in more recent years, he and his granddaughter enjoyed watching the TFC.
Friends and former students enjoyed his lighthearted Sports’ Pools, something he continued updating even as his disease progressed. As his disease further limited his mobility, his incredible wife took over to ensure it continued because she knew how much he loved it.
His passion for travel was shared with his best friend and former Power teacher, Frank Petko with whom he joined on many a March Break trip. Harvey and Doreen continued their travel along with Frank and Susan Petko into retirement and in his lifetime Harvey visited over 50 cities around the world.
Harvey was also known for his patience and discipline. After many years of training, he earned his First and Second Dan Black Belt in Karate. When signs of his disease began, he stayed focused and completed his Black Belt in Weapons Training.
A devout Catholic, Harvey and his family were parishioners of St. Gregory’s Church where he also volunteered his time as an usher. His faith along with the support of his children, close friends, home assist helpers, and especially his wife Doreen, helped him during his most difficult years.
Doreen stayed by Harvey’s side and advocated for him throughout his entire disease. She cared for him at home, so they could be together and comfortable until his final days.
Harvey’s positivity and love for life was felt by all who met him. He has touched the lives of so many in such a positive way and his family is so thankful to have enjoyed so many wonderful moments with him. We will continue to honour him by sharing his positive outlook on life and by cheering on his beloved Reds.