Jiri Kolejka, 74, of Roanoke, passed away April 3, 2013, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, he escaped when Warsaw Pact armies invaded his homeland in August 1968 and immigrated to Canada, where he worked as an electrician and attended University of Waterloo. Following graduation with B.A.Sc and M.A.Sc degrees in electrical engineering, he started 33-year long career with General Electric Drive Systems, first in Peterborough, Ontario, and later in Salem, where he designed drive systems for paper mills and commissioned them worldwide. After retirement from TM GE Automation Systems in August 2005, he enjoyed travel, reading, and most of all clear sky nights for visual astronomy. He was an active member of Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society and was a practicing member of Our Lady of Nazareth Church in Roanoke. He is survived by his beloved wife of 36 years, Anne; son, Michael, of Phoenix, Ariz.; daughter, Paula and her husband, Duncan, of London, England; sister, Kvetoslava and brother, Pavel, in Czech Republic; and Anne's extended family in Scotland.
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The family would like to extend special thanks to the staff of the Blue Ridge Cancer Care practice, along with Doctor William Fintel, Doctor Mark Schmidt and Doctor John Rogers for the support and love given through their care. Special thanks also to the nurses on the 4th and 6th floors of LewisGale Medical Center, and to the nurses and caregivers of Medi Home Health & Hospice for their excellent care. Great appreciation goes to all our neighbors and friends who offered their kindness and comfort.
There will be a funeral mass officiated by the Rev. Msgr. Joseph P. Lehman in Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church at 2505 Electric Road 11 a.m. April 15. This will be followed by a reception in the fellowship hall of the church. The interment will be at Saint Andrew's Diocesan Cemetery at 3601 Salem Turnpike NW. At the request of the deceased, there will be no visitation.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jiri's memory can be made to the American Cancer Institute. Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.oakeys.com.
Published in Roanoke Times from Apr. 6 to Apr. 7, 2013