Wasyl Lukyonovitch Jarosz, 86, passed away peacefully at home on Jan.16, 2009, surrounded by his family and grandchildren, as the early winter's sunshine filled his bedroom.
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Born on December 5, 1922, in Berezotocha, Ukraine, Wasyl lost his father and was separated from his family after the Soviet government confiscated the family's farm in the 1930s.
During World War II, Wasyl was drafted into the Red Army and ultimately imprisoned in a German prisoner of war camp. After the war, he found his way to a displaced persons' camp in Mittenwald, Germany where he met Walentina Ruduk, who would be his wife for 62 years.
In 1950, Wasyl and Walentina left Germany, traveling 5,000 miles by boat and train with their two-year old daughter, Lucy, to a new country and new home in Montana.
Wasyl was an avid fisherman, hunter, skier, and volleyball player - passions, along with chess, that he retained throughout his long life.
For 30 years, he worked as a service technician for Sears and Roebuck, traveling throughout the Gallatin and Paradise Valleys fixing appliances, making new friends, and stopping on his way home to explore the next fishing hole. After his retirement from Sears, he was employed by Action Lighting and treasured close friendships with Hugh Reid and his staff.
Throughout his life, Wasyl's friends, neighbors, and acquaintances admired his honesty and ability to repair almost anything, his wonderful jokes, and sharp wit. Wasyl valued his citizenship and was proud that he voted in every election.
Wasyl cherished his relationships with his children and grandchildren and shared his love of fishing, skiing, and the Bobcats with his son-in-law and dear friend, Rick Hannula. The compassion and companionship of his daughter, Joyce, was a comfort in his last years.
Wasyl was preceded in death by his wife, Walentina, in September 2007.
He is survived by his daughter, Lucy Jarosz, of Seattle, Washington; his daughter, Joyce Jarosz Hannula and son-in-law, Rick Hannula of Bozeman; his son, William Jarosz and daughter-in-law, Julie Jarosz of Sleepy Hollow, New York; and six grandchildren, Aleksander, Nicholas, and Kira Jarosz, Kara Valentina Hannula, Mya Sanger, and Gustaf Hannula.
The family is grateful to the staff of Cottonwood Care whose devotion and friendship to Wasyl made it possible for him to remain in his home this past year (thanks to Greg, Jillian, Leslie, Monica, and Rebecca) and the skilled and supportive staff of Bozeman Deaconess Hospice.
Wasyl passed to his death as he passed through life - playing the hand that was dealt to him with intelligence, wit, courage, determination, and a ready smile for all he encountered. His life was inspirational and we will miss him.
A memorial celebrating the lives of both Wasyl and Walentina will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2009, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Beall Park Recreation Center, 415 N. Bozeman St. in Bozeman.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio, 42550-0301 or the Bozeman Public Library Foundation, P.O. Box 6242, Bozeman, MT, 59771.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 18, 2009