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‘Hunky Bill’ Konyk, beloved PNE perogy vendor, dies days before start of fair

Click to play video: 'PNE icon ‘Hunky’ Bill passes away' PNE icon ‘Hunky’ Bill passes away
WATCH: Hunky" Bill, the PNE perogie pioneer, has passed away at the age of 88 – Aug 14, 2019

The owner of Hunky Bill’s, a popular perogy food stand that has operated at the Pacific National Exhibition for more than half a century, has passed away.

Bill Konyk died peacefully Tuesday night at the age of 88, according to the PNE.

This would have been Konyk’s 53rd year at the fair.

Konyk told Global News back in 2016 that he had served more than 200 tons of perogies over his career.

He said when he first approached the PNE about setting up shop, one staffer needed some convincing since locals at the time didn’t “know the difference between a perogy and a hockey puck,” according to Konyk.

WATCH: Squire Barnes talks to one of the PNE’s best-known purveyors of fine food on his 50th year at the fair.

Click to play video: 'Hunky Bill’s 50th anniversary at the PNE' Hunky Bill’s 50th anniversary at the PNE
Hunky Bill’s 50th anniversary at the PNE – Aug 24, 2016

“I said, ‘Do you know what a perogy is?'” Konyk recalled. “He said no. He said, ‘I’ll give you a booth, now get the hell out of here and don’t let me down.'”

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Konyk didn’t disappoint. He was a born salesman, who sold everything from newspapers to radio commercials.

He got in the food business because his kids thought the sausages in his hometown of Winnipeg were much better than the ones in Vancouver.

Konyk’s business was a family affair. Over the years, all of his grandkids spent time working at Hunky Bill’s, according to grandson Bill Konyk III.

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Konyk III described his grandfather as a “man who never stops moving, always on the go.”

Son Mark Konyk said in 2016 that his dad never missed a day of work.

“Sick or not, he comes,” he said. “Everything has to run smoothly.”

The 2019 edition of the PNE opens on Saturday.

— With files from Squire Barnes

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