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Serhij "Jack" Lewtschuk

1935 - 2019
Serhij "Jack" Lewtschuk
August 12, 1935 - November 15, 2019
It is with deep regret and sadness that we announce the death of our father, S. Jack Lewtschuk, Retired Monterey County Sheriff's Dept. Commander.
Serhij ("Jack") Lewtschuk, 84 years, died peacefully in his sleep, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in his residence in Monterey, CA, with his family by his side. Jack was born August 12, 1935 to Dmytro and Natalka Lewtschuk, in Kyiv, Ukraine. At the time of Jack's birth, Ukraine was one of the 15 republics of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) Jack lived under the communist regime of Joseph Stalin, his birth occurring a few years after the end of Stalin's man made famine (Holodomor) in which over 11 million Ukrainians perished, victims of hunger, executions and gulags (concentration camps). Life as a small child in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine was difficult.
On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland—the start of WWII. On June 22, 1941, Hitler began his "drive to the East," invading Ukraine on his way to Moscow. On the first day of the attack, the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Odessa, and Lviv were bombed. German armies captured huge territories of Ukraine and there was little resistance. Initially, Ukrainians viewed the Nazis as liberators from Communist rule. They came to discover that as with the Jews, the Nazis viewed Ukrainians as subhuman. Ultimately, although the Ukrainians suffered great repression under the Communists, they were treated much more brutally under the Germans.
Seeking to avoid the ravages of war, the family made their way westward. There were many close calls where Jack and his parents came close to death. But by the grace of God, they eventually made it to Germany by way of train freight cars. Ultimately, Germany was defeated by the United States Armed Forces and its allies. Jack, his father, and his mother kept moving West, but it wasn't until the end of the war that they finally reached the Americans, at Kaufbeuren in Bavaria. By then, however, the ordeal of their flight across Europe and refugee camps proved too great for Jack's mother. She died of tuberculosis and was buried near Neuschwanstein Castle (Bavaria, Germany).
Thereafter, Jack and his father became political refugees. They did not wish to be repatriated to the U.S.S.R. as it would likely have meant death for Jack's father, and perhaps himself. A Catholic Church representative was able to forge documents for both Jack and his father to avoid their being forcefully repatriated back to the Communists. Jack and his father were granted permission to immigrate to the U.S. While Jack and his father were waiting to immigrate, Jack was hired by U.S. Customs authorities for his foreign language skills, to assist immigrants to the U.S. with their paperwork. This was most unusual, as Jack was only 16 years of age. Jack and his father were authorized to sail to their new home on the USNS troop ship General M. L. Hersey and were admitted into the U.S. via Ellis Island (New York) in the Fall of 1951.
Jack and his father settled in Philadelphia, PA. Jack loved to learn and was an exceptional student throughout his life. He was an avid reader who read every chance he got. His new school struggled with appropriate class placement due to a lack of records, intermittent structured schooling, and Jack's knowledge for his age, including speaking several languages picked up as his family migrated through Europe. Jack was fluent in English, German, Russian and Ukrainian. He was also comfortable with Polish, Czech and Latin. He was ultimately placed a few classes ahead. He attended Northeast High School and later the Drexel Institute of Technology, where he studied mechanical engineering. In 1955, Jack decided to join the U.S. Army, wishing to join the ranks of those who had liberated him and his father from the tyrannies of the Communists of the Soviet Union and the Fascists of Nazi Germany. He was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division and then later became an airborne paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles).
In 1956, Jack was stationed at the US Army post in Frankfurt, West Germany, attached to the 5th United States Army Corps Headquarters, utilizing his language skills. While stationed in West Germany Jack met a young Danish woman, Anastasia. Jack and Anastasia married, and their first child, Daniel, was born. Jack and family eventually transferred stateside, to Fort Ord Army Post on the Monterey Bay of California. There, Jack and Anastasia welcomed their daughter Natalie.
While in the Army, Jack achieved the rank of sergeant and graduated from the US Army Corps Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) School with distinguished honors. He received meritorious service and good conduct awards throughout his six years of military service. Jack was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1961.
Immediately thereafter, Jack joined the Monterey County Sheriff's Dept. (MCSD). In the midst of his time with MCSD, Jack and Anastasia divorced. Jack would later marry Bonnie (Shaffer) Lewtschuk, with whom he welcomed his third child, son Markus.
Jack's professional accomplishments were many and varied. While with the MCSD, Jack excelled through the ranks. He distinguished himself as one of the founding members of the MCSD Search and Rescue Team, helped establish the California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) state standards, was a Hostage (Critical Incident) Negotiator, Field Training Officer Supervisor, Major Crimes Detective, Firearms Instructor, and a distinguished member of the Department's pistol team, taking numerous shooting competition awards. As a homicide detective, several of Jack's cases were published in a popular detective magazine of the day.
While employed with MCSD, Jack completed his bachelor's degree, graduating with honors. He was very proud of this accomplishment, as it contributed to his ability to provide for his family. Jack supplemented his work as a part-time instructor at various institutions, including the Monterey Peninsula College (Administration of Justice Dept.) and the California State Parks Peace Officer's Ranger Academy. In 1984, he attended the 136th Session of the FBI National Academy Class, serving as the graduating class president. He was recognized for his exceptional achievement, leadership, and service as a renowned citizen of the Golden State by the Who's Who Historical Society. He often said, "If you love what you do, you'll never have to work a day in your life." That was certainly how he felt about his career. After serving his community honorably for over 33 years, Jack retired from MCSD a Commander, in 1994.
Jack's love for sports cars drew him to become an active member of the Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula/Laguna Seca Raceway, where he served on the board in various capacities. In retirement Jack kept busy with the Monterey Bay Users Group - PC (MBUG), a computer-users club, serving several terms as MBUG president. Jack certified as a California State instructor and frequently taught drivers' safety classes. He also gave countless informative talks to various community service groups, such as the Rotary Club.
In retirement, Jack's children often encouraged him to write a book about his life. Jack's story is similar to those of which movies are often made. It is a story that pulls at the heart strings and takes unexpected turns. Jack took on this project to write about the first 16 years of his life. This book is self published and is titled, "From There To Here In Sixteen Years." It was published in 2009.
Jack was diagnosed with Alzheimer's approximately four years ago. Over time, his health declined and he passed away as a result of this dreadful disease and associated complications.
We will remember him as he was before this disease. Jack was deeply appreciative of the opportunities afforded him in his new country and took none of them for granted. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren. He was not one to offer unsolicited advice, but was always there to lend an ear and share his thoughts when asked. He was a student of life, and while proud of his accomplishments, he often said that people were his hobby. He loved to tell stories that made people smile, often with little life lessons to help them see the brighter side of things. Jack loved people watching and made it his goal to make at least one person laugh every day.
Jack is survived by his son Daniel (Beverly) Lewtschuk, daughter Natalie (Douglas) Sanderson, and son Markus Lewtschuk. He was blessed with seven grandchildren: Jason, Joshua (Natalie), Jacob, Jennifer (Trent), Nathan, Alexander and Rachel; eleven great-grandchildren: Courtnie, Samantha, Sierra, Brittanie, Wyatt, Cheyenne, Adleigh, Elijah, Joshua, Josiah and Jeremiah; and one great-great-grandson, Westyn.
The family would like to express a special heartfelt thank you to Dr. Wayne Shen and Dr. Arthur Schuller for their care of Jack as they went above and beyond as Jack's treating physicians. They helped Jack and family through a difficult time with kindness and compassion. The family would also like to thank VNA Hospice of Monterey for their compassionate assistance with our father.
The family would like to thank the staff at Villa Salinas and Sunrise of Monterey for their love, care and treatment of Jack these past four years.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made in Jack's honor to The Alzheimer's Association (alz.org).
A celebration of Jack's life will be held Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., at the Monterey Elks Lodge, 150 Mar Vista Dr., Monterey, CA 93940.

View the online memorial for Serhij "Jack" Lewtschuk
Published in The Monterey Herald from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22, 2019
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