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John Gregorek Torunski

1922 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
John Gregorek Torunski Obituary
John Gregorek Torunski

1922 - 2015 NEW LONDON, CONN. John Gregorek Torunski, 92, passed away peacefully on May 6, 2015. He was born in Osoweic, Poland on December 27, 1922. John immigrated to America in 1957. As a developer and builder in Fairfield and New London Counties, he was known for his engineering expertise and beautiful masonry work. John enjoyed dancing, singing, reading, studying history, and talking with people. He enjoyed cooking and camping. His creations included Bluefish for breakfast, and not always so great "frontier zoup." As a former Boy Scout leader, he enjoyed teaching children the importance of survival skills, the proper way to set up a camp site, and to always keep it clean. John prided himself on his calligraphy skills and every notecard and letter had the most beautiful handwriting. He was an avid gardener, planting vegetables and flowers every year. In the winter you could find him skiing and did so until the age of 82. Christmas was his favorite time of year, where he could be found at the New London Mall as Santa. He never retired from being Santa. He continued bringing joy and smiles each year to the young and old at events or private homes through Christmas 2014. He treasured time with his family, whether it was a holiday, picnic, or vacationing. If he could go swimming and snorkeling, he was the happiest; and if there were pretty ladies around, so much the better. He participated in the arctic swim on New Year's Day until the age of 89. Most people who knew John knew that he was a Holocaust survivor. He spent time in German prisons and concentration camps from 1939 (at the age of 17) until he was liberated in 1945. He had lectured and been interviewed many times about his experiences. In spite of those experiences, John still believed that all people are good and would help anyone at any time, whether it was offering a few dollars or words of wisdom and encouragement; telling them, "Learn, because knowledge is something no one can take away from you." John's generous spirit is what made him the great person he was. John's advice on how to live: "Be good, obey God's commandments because they are right, be honest, take care of your health and your family because your family is the best what you have. Whatever you can do good for people, do itlove the country you live in, respect the peopleand you'll be okay, you'll be good." For anyone who questions the meaning of life, John was the "walking" meaning of life. John was loved by all whose life he touched and will be missed tremendously by the community. He lit up whatever room he walked into and will remain the light in all whose hearts he left behind. He is survived by his brother, Czeslaw of Poznan, Poland. He leaves behind what he considered to be his greatest achievement, his six children, Tania Wright (Robert) of Hinsdale, N.H., John Torunski, Jr. (Maria) of New Haven, Conn., Michael Torunski (Linda) of Kenner La., Irene Graham of, Claremont, N.H., Barbara Longhenry of Niantic, Conn., and Christopher Torunski of Clearwater, Fla. He will be missed by his 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren who knew him as "Tatush." He also leaves behind his best friend, Steve Legg, of Salem, Conn., and his loving companion, Georgia Praso-poulos, of New London, Conn. He was predeased by siblings, Maria and Tadeus. FUNERAL NOTICE: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, May 29, at 12 noon at St. Agnes Church, 22 Haigh St., Niantic, Conn. A reception will immediately follow at the American Legion in Niantic, Conn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the John Torunski Memorial Garden Fund, c/o Liberty Bank, 314 Flanders Rd., East Lyme, CT 06333. A private burial with his family will be held at a later date in Hinsdale, N.H.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer from May 27 to May 28, 2015
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