Harry Koehn’s Gift of a Lifetime: the Legacy of an Exemplary Canadian

Upon his death in 2015, Harry Koehn established The Harry Koehn Student Award with a legacy gift through his will.

Harry’s endowment at Saskatoon Community Foundation exists in perpetuity, granting funding for two Saskatchewan Polytechnic students every year, forever.

Harry Koehn’s sons Tim and Richard worked closely with the foundation to honour their father’s wishes, and they take an interest in the foundation’s investments and the student selection process. It is important to the Koehn family that all students receiving his award understand Harry’s legacy and learn about his life.

Born in Poland in 1925, Harry Koehn was a disciplined student and a track star. He came from a family of hard-working people who were skilled in a variety of Europe’s needed services.

When World War II broke out, Harry enlisted in the Polish Army at the age of 18 but was immediately conscripted into the German Army when the Germans invaded Poland. Being forced to fight against his own countrymen troubled him for the rest of his life but he had no alternative.

At 19, he was severely wounded, and was held in a prisoner of war camp until the war ended. After his convalescence and release he finished his studies in Munich. However, he had no country to call home. He decided to emigrate to Canada in the early 1950’s with his new bride, parents, and brother.

Harry wanted to be an exemplary Canadian.

On arriving in Canada, his first job was pumping gas. He completed his accounting exams and then traveled Saskatchewan auditing small firms. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree, and in 1955 was admitted into the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Saskatchewan.

Harry worked as the general manager of Boychuk Construction in Saskatoon before starting his own construction company, Plainsman Developments Ltd. in 1968. Plainsman Developments became one of the largest and most respected land developers and contractors in the province.

After retirement, he continued to invest in real estate projects in the city which gave him so much. Harry loved Saskatoon with all his heart.

Harry deeply respected tradespeople who worked hard and made a long-term commitment to their disciplines. He spoke several languages and was a voracious reader. During his lifetime he financially helped many people who showed ambition and integrity, some of whom paid him back decades later.

For Harry, a handshake was as important as a written contract, and he expected every person he dealt with to feel the same.

The Harry Koehn Student Award reflects Harry’s belief that every person deserves a chance to chase their dream and succeed.

Student award recipients have included Medical Laboratory Technology, Computer Systems Technology, Medical Radiologic Technology, Dental Hygiene, and Business.

Create your lasting legacy with Saskatoon Community Foundation:

Saskatoon Community Foundation is a founding partner of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners Will Power campaign.

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