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Alexander Labunskiy was born on November 19, 1925 in Slavuta, Ukraine. After his father's death four years later the life of Alexander's family became very hard, so while growing up he began taking responsibilities of the head of the household especially during the time of famine in Ukraine in 1930s. As the World War II started the family run away from advancing Nazis. At the age of 17 he was drafted to the Soviet Army and participated in the Battle of Stalingrad as anti-aircraft gunner despite being wounded by bombing of the river crossing. Later he was ordered to participate in the nuclear testing in 1954 where government made troops pass through ground zero right after nuclear explosion. He survived by being inside the tank that protected him from deadly radiation. He married his wife, Zoya Katzman in 1955 and settled in city of Saransk, Russia. Alexander and Zoya have two children and three grandchildren. Alexander had great skills of do-it-yourself repairman and was an avid reader. In later years he found the great enjoyment helping in upbringing of his grandchildren. Alexander and his wife moved to Santa Rosa, CA in 2002. He died on Shabbat, October 12, 2012 due to Multiple System Atrophy and was buried on B'nai Israel Cemetery in Petaluma. He will be remembered as loving father, grandfather and as great man of Greatest Generation.
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Nov. 11 to Nov. 12, 2012