Posted: November 4th, 2016

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JOHN “JAN” SZELAGOWSKI passed away peacefully at St. Therese Villa on Friday, October 28, 2016 at the age of 91 years.

John was the loving father of Janet (Tyler) Cook and Barbara (Peter) Ziegler; grandfather of Jennifer (Michael) Brunelle, Cheryl (Charles) Smith, Ryan Cook, Kimberly (Ross) Ziegler-Morley and Stephanie Ziegler; three great grandchildren: Kayla, Alyssa Brunelle and Alex Smith.

He was predeceased by his loving wife Joanne “Jasia”; his parents, Stanislaw and Marianna Szelagowski; his siblings Stefania, Kazimierz and Janina.

John was born in Kowalewo, Gniezno, Poland on November 8, 1924. He was the eldest of four children and was raised in the city of Bydgoszcz. He served with the Polish army in Britain from 1941 -1947 and saw action in the war zones of France, Belgium, Holland and Germany as a Tank Commander. He achieved the rank of Lance Corporal. John was a member of The Royal Canadian Legion and in 2015 received recognition from the Polish Combatants’ Association.

John immigrated to Canada and landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, NS on June 11th, 1947. He was sent to Saskatchewan and worked as a farm labourer. In 1948, he went to work at Henry’s Bakery in Maple Creek, Sask. In 1949, he moved to Lethbridge and worked for McGavin’s Bakery as a cake mixer and later worked at the bakery in the Dominion Store. 1962 saw him switch careers and work as a power plant engineer at St. Michael’s Hospital. He obtained his third class certificate in 1965 from S.A.I.T. and in 1970 he became chief engineer until his retirement in 1989.

It was when John moved to Lethbridge that he met the love of his life, Joanne Bender and they were married in St Patrick’s Church on September 2, 1950. John was well known to family and friends for his generous nature and willingness to give a helping hand. His skills in multiple trades served him well whenever called upon to build or repair whatever came his way.

John was a wonderful husband and family man. He provided for his family both here and in Poland. He enjoyed baking, especially his famous “tortes” which became a must for special family occasions. His many interests included: travelling, gardening, bowling, fishing, socializing with friends and long strolls with Joanne.

In later years John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Though his memory was failing he couldn’t forget his precious Joanne and never stopped asking for her.

John’s kindness and generosity will always be remembered by both family and friends.

A Prayer Service will be held at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME, 2800 Mayor Magrath Drive South, Lethbridge, AB, on Friday, November 4th, 2016 at 6:00 P.M. with Deacon Cliff Bogdan officiating.

A Funeral Mass will celebrated at OUR LADY OF THE ASSUMPTION CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2405 – 12 Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB, on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. with Father Kevin Tumback celebrating.

Interment to follow at Mountain View Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers and in memory of John, donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Canada – 10531 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 4K1.

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One Condolence for “SZELAGOWSKI, John “Jan””

  1. Andrzej Ruta says:

    Ottawa, November 6, 2016

    Dear Janet Cook
    Dear Barbara Ziegler
    Dear Family of Jan Szelągowski,

    It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of your father and our colleague Jan. This is a huge loss for the Polish Combatants’ Association in Canada.

    During WWII, Jan served as a tank commander in General Maczek’s renowned 1st Polish Armoured Division and saw action on many fronts in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, for which he received numerous commendations and medals.

    He was completely devoted to his work for the good of our Association and for a free and independent Poland. In recognition for his dedication, in 2015 the World Federation of the Polish Combatants’ Association conferred upon Jan the Veteran’s Cross of the Federation. I was privileged and honoured to decorate Jan with this award.

    With his departure, Polonia has lost an great humanitarian and a wonderful man whom we will always admire as an true example of patriotism.

    Departing for his “last post”, he leaves behind a beloved family and dear friends, with whom we unite at this time of grief.

    On behalf of myself, the Head Executive Board and the Council of the Polish Combatants’ Association in Canada, and all our members in Canada, we express my deepest sympathy on the death of our friend Jan, and attest the highest respect and recognition of his work for the good of our Association, Poland and Canada.

    Honour his memory!

    Andrzej Ruta
    President Head Executive Board
    Polish Combatants’ Association in Canada

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