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George Vasil

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George Vasil Obituary
George Vasil, 96

Southbridge - George Vasil, 96, passed away on Thursday, April 11th, in his daughter's home in Paxton after a brief battle with cancer.

His wife of 61 years, Evlogji "Jennie" (Boyatzi) Vasil, passed away in 2010. He leaves his son, James M. Vasil and his wife Mandy of Spencer; his two daughters, Diana V. Kocum and her husband David of Glastonbury, CT and Mary A. Baker and her husband Mark of Paxton; his six grandchildren, Tara M. Brousseau, Timothy J. Vasil, Arin L. Chick and her husband Lee, Jessica D. Hilemn, Mark J. Baker and Jennie E. Baker; two great grandchildren, Bishop Lopez and Aiyana Chick; and two nephews, Salvatore Vella and Michael Vella. He was predeceased by his infant sister, Mary Vasil. George was born in Natick the son of James and Thomaida "Eva" (Lazar) Vasil. He was a US Army Veteran of World War II.

George was forever devoted to his family, including his loving wife Jennie to whom he was married for almost 61 years until her passing in 2010. His endless love for his family and friends was evident in all he did and continued to the last day of his life.

In 1939, at 16 years old, he graduated from Mary E Wells High School and immediately went to work at the American Optical Company as an errand boy, and later lab technician, until he enlisted in the Army Air Corp Force in 1942 during WWII. He attended the USAF Aircraft Mechanic School and the Newark College of Engineering until he was deployed to Europe as part of the Fighting 69th Infantry Division – the US Army Division that met the Russians at the Elbe River in Germany on April 25, 1945.

After the war ended, he returned to AO, where he worked for the next 37 years, the majority of which as a Production Supervisor in the Glass Plant. While employed, he embraced any service-oriented work that he had the opportunity to participate in. This included the United Way campaign in the tri-community area, where he later became chairman of the United Way campaign for AO.

George's love of people and dedication to community service never waned throughout his life. In his young adult years he was involved in the Jr. Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) whose mission was to train 21-35 year olds in service-oriented work. The A.O. endorsed this organization and sponsored 10 of their own each year, believing that those experienced in leadership work could only strengthen the company. George remained involved in the Jaycee's from the time he was 28 until the age cap of 35.

His love of the Southbridge community was also evident in his ten years of coaching, including Little League and the YMCA basketball church league. In addition to coaching, he played Jr. and Sr. Church, Community, and Independent basketball leagues, softball, and community bowling. He also chaired the A.O. bowling and golf leagues.

Much of George's service work was through the Orthodox church and its related Albanian cultural groups. This included the Albanian American National Organization – where George was a founding member and one of the original 13 charter signees. He also served as Past National President and Past President of the local Southbridge chapter.

He was very active in the Albanian American Orthodox Diocese of America, having served as comptroller and trustee. He was ultimately recognized with the highest service award for a lay person – the Knights of St. George. His love of his church, St. Nicholas in Southbridge, continued throughout his life. During his 85 years of membership, he served countless terms on the parish council including positions of treasurer, president and chair of many fundraising events. He reorganized the Sunday school program and served as teacher and superintendent, and decades as choir director. Several years ago, the church tonsured him as a Reader (considered to be the first step toward priesthood), and most recently named their hall the "George Vasil Church Hall". Within the Albanian community in Worcester, he had also been a faithful member of the Sons of St. Mary's and represented St. Nicholas as a member of the Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches, including Board membership on the Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at its inception.

In his hometown of Southbridge, George had been a charter member of the VFW since 1946, where he served as Board Chair and Post Commander, following a lengthy term as Quartermaster. He had also been a member of the American Legion and in the recent past, was selected as Grand Marshall of the Memorial Day parade. He had also been a supporting member of the Jacob Edwards Memorial Library and many other charitable organizations. Finally, George worked tirelessly during the 83 years of membership for the YMCA, including the longest standing board member of almost 55 years. He was team captain during the fundraising campaign to build the new Y and his team placed second or third in raising the highest money per capita. In 2016, the YMCA honored him with the first annual George Vasil Community Service Award.

George's legacy will live on forever in those who knew him best. He was always positive and loving, saw the glass as half full and believed that people needed to be treated with love, kindness and respect regardless of the situation. His sincerity, humility and faith has been unmatched and he will be greatly missed.

The family would like to thank Bettina, Judy and Tina of Overlook Hospice for all of the care and compassion they gave to George during his illness.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday, April 16th, at 11:00am in St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church, 126 Morris St., Southbridge. Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Southbridge. Calling hours will be held in St. Nicholas Church on Monday, April 15th, from 4:00 to 8:00pm.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church, P.O. Box 650, Southbridge, MA 01550.

The Daniel T. Morrill Funeral Home, 130 Hamilton St., Southbridge, is directing arrangements.

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Apr. 13 to Apr. 14, 2019
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