September 29, 1971 – August 12, 2020
Scottish poet Thomas Campbell wrote “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Stan Matthew Oja was born Sept. 29, 1971 and was torn from those who loved him Aug. 12, 2020 in a devastating motorcycle accident. And true to Campbell’s words, Stan will live in the hearts of many.
Stan was born and raised in Calgary AB. Shortly after graduation he embarked on his first career with Smed International, spending 18 years with the company, often working internationally and when possible with his father, Gary.
During a 1991 business trip to Salmon Arm with his dad, Stan met the love of his life, Teresa Lynn Marsh. The two lived in Calgary for a time, but also in Kelowna, Seattle, and then to Sylvan Lake for 10 years where they added to their growing family, adopting Graham and Rosie, a sister and brother for son Tegan and daughter Kanise.
Stan worked in a variety of fields, including the oil patch and a trucking company. In 2003 the pair worked with Gary to create the first Horsethief Hideout Memorial Bike Rally, an event that has grown steadily for 20 years, Stan a fixture at every one.
One of Stan’s greatest passions was motorcycles, something his father Gary, also a lifelong rider, instilled in him from the age of five. Together the duo rode all over the U.S.A., rides cherished by both father and son.
Stan was also the epitome of an outdoorsman and loved nothing more than to be out hunting or fishing, communing with nature. His spiritual beliefs, from First Nations faith, were important to him and nature was his place of worship.
He would go out on the land on his own as well as with Teresa and the kids, more recently also with grandsons Maddan and Grayson, who spent a great deal of time with them.
But number one in his life was people: his family, his friends, especially spending time whenever he could in Calgary with his grandmother Julie, whom he called Momma. There was no end to Stan’s generosity of spirit, and the many people he touched over the years have flooded social media pages with condolences, stories of how he helped them, expressions of love and grief, tales of his laughter and caring, his limitless spirit and heart.
Friends and family from all over Canada arrived to help tend his spirit fire, gathering in support of his family and one another.
Stan will live always in the hearts of his wife, Teresa, children Graham, Rosie, Tegan and Kanise, grandsons Maddan and Grayson, father Gary (Lynne), grandmother Julie Oja McHan, mother Marsha Cutting Oja, siblings Gary Jr. (Karen, children Tristan, Brooklyn, Jaxton and Jayce), Davin Oja, Saxony Milligan (Joel, son Dominic), Fallon Seidel (Tim, son Benjamin) and Sabrina Pitre (David, AKA Uncle One Eye, daughters Emilese and Milla). His friends are countless, many of whom are extended family.
The night Stan passed, there was a barrage of meteors, as if he were reminding us all that we never say goodbye, just see you later.
You can honour Stan by always remembering to be kind, to lift one another up, and whenever you can, offer your hand to someone who needs it. There will be a celebration of his life at the Horsethief Hideout on Wednesday September 2, at 2 p.m.
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