Angel-Sleeping

Jack Szesterniak

Obituary

Jack Szesterniak

July 27, 1927 – July 8, 2021

 

It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved Tato, Father-in-law, Dido, and Pradido, at Seven Oaks General Hospital on July 8, 2021, with his five daughters by his side.

 

Dad was predeceased by our mother, Verna (2005), his parents, 2 younger siblings, brother Ivan, and sister Hania. He is lovingly remembered and will be mourned by his daughters, Stephanie (Vic), Sylvia (Paul), Jacquie (Frank), Angie (Domo), Natalie (George), grandchildren: Curtis (Janelle), Tatiana, Romanna (Michael), Cassandra, Katrina (Matthew), Leigha, Adam, Amanda, and great grandson, Roman, numerous family and friends in Canada and Ukraine.

 

Tato was born on July 27, 1927, in Selo Kostilnyky, Buchatsky Rayon, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine – the son of Hryhoriy and Antasia. At the age of 17, he was inducted into the Russian Army. After spending time in a German POW camp and being liberated by the Americans, he ended up in Belgium, working at the coal mines. This coal dust damaged his lungs and left him with COPD, with which he struggled, especially in his later years.

 

Offered a number of choices, Dad decided to immigrate to Canada. With the help of the Red Cross, he found his family in Winnipeg and was sponsored by his cousin Katie and John Zoroneck. He made the crossing by ship, landed in Montreal, and took the train to Winnipeg.

 

Dad arrived in Winnipeg in 1952 with $25 in his pocket and the clothes on his back. Eventually, Dad secured employment with the CPR, where he worked as a welder, foreman, until his retirement in 1986. In Minnedosa, he met and married the love of his life, Verna, on February 27, 1954. His employment moved him to several rural Manitoba communities, eventually landing him in Winnipeg. In 1969, he moved out to St. Andrews, where he eventually built two houses. 

 

 

 

Dad worked to live and provide for his family. A humble man, he lived his life simply, always looking out for others who needed his support. A devout man, he was an active member of St. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral for over 60 years.

 

Dad loved gardening, nature, and fishing. We will always remember watering all the trees, picking berries, foraging for wild mushrooms, and the taste of his smoked goldeye. He kept a menagerie of pets, including pigeons, rabbits, and dogs. In 2014, after moving to his apartment, he bought a trailer at Camp Rusallka, where he spent many happy hours enjoying the things he loved… birdwatching, fishing, chatting with fellow campers, and spending time with all of us.

 

Although Dad was so proud of being a Canadian, his heart always belonged to his motherland, Ukraine. He taught us about our culture and traditions, and we spent many hours at family gatherings, eating so many tasty Ukrainian dishes, singing carols and songs. In 1982, Tato took Mom to Ukraine for a visit, making the trip a few times after that with some of us, who were able to meet all the relatives and walk through his village. He also enjoyed many other trips with Mom, other families, and friends.

 

He enriched our lives with stories about his life experiences, especially during his later years. He loved his wife dearly and missed her so much when she passed, having just celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary. After that time, he became fiercely independent, living on his own, will very little help from the outside. He loved his children and grandchildren, so proud of their accomplishments and achievements. He valued education and always told us to strive for excellence. A favorite saying of his was, “How is everybody? Happy and healthy?” We will cherish the memories that we have with him and know that he is smiling down on all of us.

 

 

We would like to thank his niece, Maria, for the support she provided to Dad at the apartment. We would also like to acknowledge Dr. Babick and the caring and supportive staff at Seven Oaks General Hospital, where Dad spent the last 7 weeks of his life.

 

After the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Church, officiated by Father Isidore Dziadyk, Tato was laid to rest beside Mom, at All Saints Cemetary. Thank you to Father Isidore and Korban Funeral Chapel for their service and support. A service will also be held for Tato this Saturday, July 17, 2021, at the church in his village.

 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dad’s memory to the Ukrainian Social Services, 235 McGregor Street, Winnipeg, MB R2W 4W5 (ucssmb@gmail.com).

 

Rest in peace, dear Tato, free from pain. We love you and will miss you.

 

Vichnaya Pamyat

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