Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Richard Florian Szott, 73, faithful and adoring husband, extraordinary father, and friend to countless people both far and wide, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 15, 2023 after a long battle with cancer.
Rick was born on June 23, 1949 in Daysland, Alberta to Lorne and Pauline Szott. The eldest of six children, Dad was destined to live his life loving people, entrepreneurship, motorbikes, hotrods, and most of all, Janice Arneen Anderson, who would become his wife just six months after their meeting in 1972.
Throughout his youth, Dad bounced around with his mother and father, and ever-expanding family, from Daysland to Drumheller to Twining to Fort Kent. Dad was like Fonzi from Happy Days, and was often seen as the “go to” guy in whatever town he lived in. More mature at 16 than many were at 30, Dad was a people magnet from an early age. He left home in Fort Kent in 1967 and headed for Edmonton, taking a job with Sherrit Mining. During his stay in Edmonton, he also worked at the Schick store which may have begun his life-long obsession with archaic Schick shaving products.
During his early adult years, Dad blossomed into a serial entrepreneur. Coupled with his extraordinary work ethic, charisma, and love of all things automotive, he opened many doors that allowed him to forge a path that culminated in Calgary, where Dad and Mom owned and operated a Carline Muffler franchise which they eventually converted to their own business, Calgary Muffler. He and Mom would run that business successfully, amongst many other side projects, for the next 38 years.
As successful in business as he was, however, his family always came first. This meant that summers were spent with Mom and his three sons traversing North America in the motorhome. During these trips, Dad felt it was his fatherly duty to stop at every esoteric museum that we came across, including the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum, as well as every old western-themed museum in existence. There were so many campgrounds, burnt hamburgers, flaming marshmallows, and sibling fights that they are impossible to count, as are the lasting memories these times created for our family.
While his family and close friends were his first priority, a close second was his passion for motorcycles and motorcycling. For him, a simple day out on the bike was easily a trip from Calgary down to Pincher Creek, over to Fernie, on to Cranbrook, up to Invermere, then to Golden, and back to Calgary. For many years he would make his annual pilgrimage to Motorbike Mecca, also known as Sturgis, South Dakota. The yearly trek which he shared with his close friends and his son, Jason, was always a highlight of his year. Those trips were always a favourite for Dad.
The story of Dad, or Rick as his friends called him, is invariably a story of people. To know him was to know the people that he loved. You cannot hope to understand what animated him without understanding his connection to people. Dad helped anyone who needed help. Whether you needed time, love, automotive assistance, support, a good laugh, a good ribbing, or (God help you) a lecture on politics and the world according to him, which we lovingly dubbed “Rickopedia”, he was there. If you had a good heart, then my father was your friend for life.
Needed a job? Dad could help.
Needed to fix your motorbike? Dad was there.
Didn’t know how to sell or buy a car? Dad was your man.
Needed hugs, kisses, and endless love growing up? Dad had you covered.
Needed encouragement and support when you were going through a hard time? Dad had your back.
Needed rock-solid reliability when your world was shifting beneath your feet? Dad held you up.
If you were the goalie on a hockey team he was playing against (or for), he’d tell you that you couldn’t stop a beach ball. You would inevitably tell him to get a haircut and the two of you would both end up laughing. If Dad teased you it was a sure sign that he loved you, and boy oh boy, Dad teased a whole lot of people. He was a master at getting under your skin while also simultaneously making you laugh.
Dad’s lifetime was a lifetime of love, both of family and of friends. Not one of these loves, however, compared to the love he had for Mom. She was the one he loved deepest and most. They were married on June 3, 1972, and from there on their love story grew longer and deeper with time. There was nothing and no one on this Earth more precious to him than Janice Arneen Szott. As he said right up to his passing, “we were made for each other”. In all of his time on Earth, through all of his living, his greatest passion was indisputably her.
Cancer may have taken his body, but my father’s indomitable spirit will live on in the hearts of the countless people whose lives were made better because they knew him.
If his angelic wings are lifted by the love and affection of the mourners he leaves behind, then there is no limit to just how high my father will soar.
Dad is predeceased by his parents, Lorne and Pauline, his sister Bonnie, and his brother Gary. He is survived by: his wife Jan; his children Jason, Corey, and Andrée, Aaron and David; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and his siblings Alvin, Beverly, and Sylvia.
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to a charity close to your heart. Dad spent his life giving to others; the act of giving is a beautiful way to honour his memory.
Please join us in honouring Dad's memory at his Celebration of Life event at the Royal Canadian Legion Centennial Calgary Branch 285 (9202 Horton Road SW) on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 from 1:00-4:00 pm. For those planning on attending, please note there will be a small ceremony between 2:00-2:30 pm.
As per Rick's request, it will be informal and held in the loving, kind, and very social way that he led his life. As you'd expect from him, lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please feel free to bring your treasured memories, and as importantly, your favourite stories with you to share.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Richard (Rick) Florian Szott, please visit our Tree Store.