M. David Hennig

May 24, 1955 - February 10, 2024
February 23, 2024 29 Condolences Print Obituary Send Flowers

With profound love and deep sorrow, we announce the passing of our amazing husband and father, Malcolm David Hennig on February 10, 2024 after a courageous seven-year battle with cancer.

David leaves behind his loving wife of 44 years, Denise Sawchyn, and their children Michael and Lisa (Jon Kosak). He is also survived by parents Harold and Jeanne Hennig, siblings Harold Wayne (Edith), Tim (Pauline) and Wendy Pylypow (Jim), brother-in-law Grant Sawchyn (Karen), and many nieces and nephews.

David dealt with his diagnosis and the hard journey that followed with bravery, tenacity, and an unwavering positive attitude. He was a gentleman and a gentle man. Kind, courteous, and quick-witted to the end. A natural athlete, he loved being active, ran every trail in the river valley, excelled at golf and baseball, and was one heck of a hockey player, playing into his 60s until his cancer treatments forced him to hang up the blades. David embraced fatherhood. His greatest joy was spending time with his children. He was King of the Grill at family gatherings, flipping burgers and enjoying a cold beer. He loved summers with his kids at Waskesiu. He was passionate about music and sports, and will forever be remembered as Coach Dave by Lisa and Mike and the countless kids he coached over nearly two decades in our community of Glenora in sports ranging from T-ball to hockey to fastball.

Professionally, he coached and mentored many young communications professionals during his distinguished career with the Government of Alberta Public Affairs Bureau. Over nearly 25 years he handled many complex issues, and was the spokesperson and face in the media for many different departments. His early days as a radio announcer in Stettler and Grande Prairie, and as PR and Fundraising Director for the Alberta Lung Association, prepared him for this challenging role. He was well-respected by colleagues, fellow communicators, and the media. One of his proudest achievements was being the driving force behind the Public Affairs Bureau’s annual participation in Corporate Challenge. David finished his career in his dream job with Alberta Sport Connection, helping to promote amateur sport.

David leaves behind a legacy of love. He was our rock, our strength, our calm in the storm. As he wished, there will be no formal funeral.

We would like to thank the many earth angels at Pilgrims Hospice for their kindness and dignified compassionate care. We are also grateful to the outstanding team of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers at the Cross Cancer Institute, the kind and professional EMS paramedics who assisted our family, as well as the AHS Palliative Home Care team who provided care with such kindness.

We would also like to thank the thoughtful, caring friends who supported David and our family during a very difficult time. Special thanks to longtime friends Jo-Anne and Paul Cassidy, and Mike Yakemchuk. Your love and support meant the world to us, and brought Dave great comfort in his final months.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in David’s memory to Pilgrims Hospice Society, Cross Cancer Institute or Canadian Cancer Society.

  1. Denise, I remember David with fondness and I’m so very sorry for you great loss. Sending you and Mike & Lisa our deepest condolences.
    Maureen & Paul

  2. I’m so sorry to hear this. Denise, my condolences to you and your family.

    Dave was a gentle man, even at a young age when we went to school together. He was such a great natural athlete. I always wanted him on my team, regardless of what sport we were playing back then.

    Also, what a beautifully written obituary.

  3. Hello Denise, Michael and Lisa. I was very surprised to see David’s photo and news in the Journal this morning. I had no idea he was battling cancer and am very sorry to hear of his passing.
    I agree he was very positive, quick-witted and gentle…and was able to experience that first hand during hockey where someone laid a heavy check on him and he responded with kindness and “no big deal”, then proceeded to skate around them the following shift and score.
    I also remember him as quiet, humble and a sincere thinker. I am very sorry for all of you, he will be deeply missed in your home and in the neighborhood.

  4. We will miss your friendly greetings when we met you on community walks. Our thoughts are with the family, may your memories of love and good times support you at this time.
    Linda and Colin Inglis

  5. Denise and family. Shocked and so very saddened to hear the news of David’s passing. What a hole he will leave in your hearts. He’ll always be remembered by me as the stalwart colleague in the BSE crisis, as we wended our way through unprecedented communications challenges for the both of us. My thoughts are with you.

  6. Denise, I’m so sorry to hear of your great loss. My deepest sympathy to you, Michael, and Lisa. May your memories sustain you through this difficult time.

  7. Denise and family, I am so very sorry for your loss. David and I worked together for quite a few years at Alberta Agriculture. He was a good man from everything I saw and heard. He loved you, Lisa and Mike beyond measure. He was dedicated and committed to informing Albertans and he was a strong support to me. I remember he would run at lunchtime; he loved Corporate Challenge; and had great pride in his family. I was pleased to watch one of the games he coached and I joined you at Lisa’s starring role in Grease! He truly made a difference in his world and community. Please accept my deepest condolences.

  8. Denise and Family, we are saddened to learn of David’s passing, but very comforted to know the impact that he had with his family and his community. David left this world a better place than he found it. We are better people for having known him, and will remember fondly our families getting together at Waskesiu.
    You are all in our thoughts. Our deepest condolences.

  9. Denise and family,

    The ECHS Class of 1973 sends our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. David attended our 50 th class reunion last summer despite his difficult situation and was as kind and friendly as always. Peace be will you all at the very sad time.
    David’s classmates from the Class of 1973 Eastglen Composite High School.

  10. Dear Denise and family,

    I was so very very sorry to see this sad news. It was always great seeing the two of you in the community and I know that all of David’s work was so much appreciated. Thinking of you all with much compassion and sympathy.

    Tracy Bodner & Chris Yearwood

  11. My condolences and prayers to you, Denise and Lisa and Michael. The memories of Dave you carry in your hearts, will last forever, and will warm you and please you often in the days ahead. A good man and a life well lived.

  12. Denise and family, so saddened to hear of David’s passing. Always enjoyed my neighbourhood chats with both of you and catching up on life. David was always so kind and positive, fortunate to work with him and Terry at Ag Communications. My thoughts are with you all during this time.

  13. Denise and family, sincere condolences on your loss. I remember David from our Nait days in RTA. His subtle good humour put everyone at ease and he was a kind, compassionate man. May your many memories sustain you in this time of loss.

  14. Denise, Michael and Lisa

    I am so sorry to hear of David’s passing. Please accept our sincere condolences. I will always remember David’s account of Michael calling Japan 1998 to wish team Canada success on their bid to win hockey gold. I recall him saying that he could hear the numbers being entered into the phone which seemed to go on forever. I am guessing. but I don’t think Michael was any older than 5 or 6.

    Thinking of all of you at this difficult time.

    The Molsberry’s

  15. Denise, Michael and Lisa, Margo and I are very sorry to hear about David. He was a great neighbour and friend, and we are going to miss our conversations and get togethers. He was a wonderful father and husband – you have a beautiful family. We offer our condolences, love and support.

  16. Denise, Michael, and Lisa,
    I am so sorry to learn about David’s death. He was such a great coach to the Tiggers. David was nit just a generous coach, but a teacher who taught the girls many life lessons about playing as a team, responsibility to yourself and your teammates, and always playing with respect and with honesty. I can remember him quietly stepping away from the bustle of games to take calls from the minister the media when he worked for the Public Affairs Bureau. He did this, as he did everything, with no fuss and no drama. He was truly a role model for us all. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  17. Denise, Michael and Lisa, I was so sad to hear of David’s passing. I worked with David during his time at the Public Affairs Bureau and he was one of my favourites. His obituary’s captures him perfectly. I hope your fond memories of David bring you some comfort. Sincerely, Kim McCrary

  18. So sorry to hear of Daves passing Denise. He was one of my favourite people at NAIT Radio and Television arts. A genuinely nice person and talented guy. Our condolences to you and your family.
    Sincerely, Rick and Julia Nielsen

  19. Denise,Mike and Lisa >>> Dave and I met in high school and our connection grew like a redwood tree ((( taller,wider and deeply anchored into the earth))) Dave had a way about him {{{ kind, loving and most striking of all was his courage to live life fully))) We last spent time with each other in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California huddled around a wood fire!! The snow coming down, talking late into the night, reminiscing about our days as young men and grateful for the amazing life we both have been blessed with,,!!,, Dave was a true brother and he set the bar high in our friendship. We all will miss him dearly however when we need courage I will always be able to feel his presence,as Dave is deeply embedded in my heart soul ,,!!,,

  20. Jan and I are so sorry for your loss Denise. Our thoughts are with you and your family. I had the pleasure of working with Dave for a relatively short time at CFGP Grande Prairie about 45 years ago. We became friends and even roommates for a year. We lost touch over the years but reconnected in 2023 and were so fortunate that we did. Both times we met up Dave was incredibly positive, and thankful for everything in his life, especially his family. You will be greatly missed Dave!

  21. So sorry for your loss. David was a class act, who was always thoughtful of those around him. I was fortunate to worked with him.

  22. Denise and family, I am so very sorry to hear of David’s passing. What a loss for all of us. I was fortunate to work with David for many years (PAB, AB Learning, AB Culture, Alberta Sport Connection) and he truly was a ‘gentleman and a gentle man’. He leaves a legacy both personally and professionally.

    May your memories keep him close and give you comfort.

  23. Dear Denise, Mike, Lisa (and Jon)
    We were saddened to hear of Dave’s illness and eventual passing. He was a great neighbour and a confident yet humble man. I know you will have wonderful memories of a great husband and father.

  24. To Denise and family.
    Lucy and I are deeply saddened to hear of Dave’s passing. I first met Dave in Lawton Junior High School back in ’67 when my family moved to Edmonton (Beverly). He was such a great friend and a very important part of my growing up. I also had the pleasure of getting to know his parents and brothers and sister as well. I have such great memories with him and the rest of the “Beverly Boys”. The trips to Miquelon lake for keg parties, Eastglen after grad festivities, going to Lake Isle to see the band Chilliwack are some of the best. Although we drifted apart in later years he always kept me up to date on all the high school reunions. I’m so thankful I as able to see him at the last one (50th) in August. Back in 2009 he and other friends came out to the golf course (Triple Creek) I worked at to play golf and later came over to our place in Leduc for some drinks. We had a tradition that any visitor that would come over would sign their name on our oak wood kitchen table and Lucy would later use a wood burning tool to etch it permanently. Dave’s name is there so we have a lasting memory of him. He will be deeply missed and our love goes out to you and your family.

  25. Denise and family, we are so sorry for your loss. We were fortunate to meet Dave back in our college years and then have our paths cross again for decades as colleagues, athletes and friends. He definitely was a gentle, gentleman and will be dearly missed.

  26. Denise and family – I was so saddened by the news of Dave’s passing. Dave and I worked together at CFGP in Grande Prairie many years ago and reconnected a few times in Edmonton throughout the years. He was always so kind and giving and had a wonderful sense of humor. Knowing Dave, even briefly, I’m sure that you have many happy memories to cherish and I hope that they will help to sustain you and your family in the challenging days ahead.

  27. I am so glad that at long last, I reconnected with Dave this summer and got to meet you. It was a wonderful afternoon. May you take comfort Denise in all the love coming your way. So very sorry to you and your family. Dave will be missed.

  28. Denise and Family,
    Audrey and I were very saddened to hear of Dave’s of passing and our hearts go out to you and your family. As a close friend over the years and as a best man at our wedding, it has taken a while for me to get my thoughts together on this sad news.

    Dave and I have known each other since Grade 7 when we attended Lawton Junior High School. I dreaded the times when I played hockey for Beacon Heights and had to square off against the dreaded Beverly Heights hockey team. Dave was about as smooth a skater and goal scorer I knew and our team often ended up the wrong end of the score. There was always a group of us that seemed to get together at Lawton Junior High and party together which included the likes of Dave, Bill Brick, Tony Brown, Brian Musey, and myself, among others. More often than not, we would end up playing “caps” after which we all usually ended up suffering the next day. Other great times I remember were our periodic trips to Jasper National Park and attending the Chilliwack concert at Cooking Lake. While this happened a long time ago, these were times when things were somewhat simpler and a lot more fun but by today’s standards, we would say what were we thinking or doing at that time! In any case, the parties that we attended, the times that we got together with out friends, and the memories that we made were unbelievably great and ended up developing the strengths and the connections that we as friends enjoy. I remember recent discussions with Dave and Bill where they mentioned that things did not seem to change that much over the years; we could still meet up or call each other on the phone, and the years seemed to melt away. Friendship, short or long term, is beautiful.

    Dave was such an easy going guy who always seemed to look at the bright side of life and having a way about him that made people feel very much at ease. We were proud to call him a friend and it was a privilege knowing him. In our close circle of friends, we also lost Tony Brown, Brian Musey, and now Dave. We miss you all dearly and will someday once again take a walk on the wild side with all of you.

    Love Audrey and Lawrence Brusnyk.

  29. Denise, I am deeply sorry for your loss. I remember David with the kindness, gentleness and courage you describe. My heart goes out to you, Michael and Lisa in this time of deep sadness and grief. With love, Niki

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