MAZURKIEWICZ, Emil Philip Gregory
On November 11, 2020 the heavenly choir embraced the arrival of Emil. His earthly voice will be greatly missed by his cherished and loving wife of 66 years Helen (Ambrozy). His daughter Krys (Brodnicki) also greatly mourns the loss of Emil's loving and steadfast presence as does his dear son-in-law and right hand man Bill Brodnicki. Grandsons Connor and Jake are bereft at the loss of their beloved Dziadzius. Emil was predeceased by his parents Jacob and Elizabeth, his brothers Joe and Erv, and his sisters in law Genny (Mazurkiewicz) and Stella (Jones). Also mourning his passing are his nephews and nieces and extended family and friends. Emil was born in Lesieczniki Poland on March 3, 1925. He completed public school in Lwow Poland and was a proud member of Korpus Kadetow, Jozefa Pilsudskiego. With his family he escaped from Russian occupation over the Czeremosz River to Romania in December 1939. He always fondly marked the anniversary of the Christmas Eve that he and his family spent in a Romanian jail as illegal immigrants because it meant that they were all safe and that they finally would be free. He then moved to Paris, France where he attended Cyprian Norwid High School. His small school class eventually evacuated and with the help of their priest/teacher they traveled over the Pyrenees. After several adventures they eventually sailed to London England in 1940. Emil remained in London for some months where he lived through many batles including The Battle of Britain. After the bombing of his school, he was moved to what he called the most beautiful place: Dunalastair House in Kinloch Rannoch, Scotland. This is where he finished high school, and was eventually reunited with his big brother Erv, who "became his moral and financial support" until they found the rest of the family. While in high school Emil was active in Polish Scouting (Harcerze Orli) and in the British Home Guard. He then received pre-medical standing at Royal Dick College in Edinburgh Scotland in 1946. However his studies were cut short as the Mazurkiewicz family eventually sailed to Canada in 1948 and landed at famed Pier 21 in Halifax. Emil eventually took up residence in Hamilton, Ontario. He began work at Ford Motor Company full time in 1953. He studied around his shifts for 10 hard years and eventually he received his BA from McMaster University in 1965. He was subsequently employed by the Federal Ministry of Employment & Immigration from 1971 until his retirement. Emil was active in the following organizations and clubs in Hamilton: St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish (lector), Polish Canadian Youth Organization (President 1951-53), Polish Canadian Youth Organization Dance Group, the Polish theatre group Kolko Teatralne Orzel (which put on many plays throughout Southern Ontario in which he starred), Konrad Club (Board of Directors, organizer of celebrations for the Polish Millenium), Polish Canadian Cultural Society (VP Chairman of Educational Committee), Kolo Przyjaciol Harcestwa and the Polish Canadian Congress. Last but not least Emil was a member of the Symfonia Choir for over 65 years. He could often be heard in the basement of his home practicing his tenor parts. Interruptions were not recommended. In conjunction with his involvement in Symfonia Choir, Emil was a bronze, silver and gold pin recipient as well as a lifetime honorary member of the Polish Singers Alliance of America. In recognition of his commitment to Polish Culture in Canada he was decorated by the Polish Minister of Education for contribution to Polish Art and Culture (1991) and he received the Gold Cross of Merit from the President of Poland (2002).
Emil enjoyed staying up all night playing bridge at the kitchen table with his friends and he loved playing chess with his father and his brothers at the farm in Wellandport. He travelled extensively with his wife Helen, and they also spent many happy times at Cawaja Beach with family and life long friends. Emil and Helen took up downhill skiing and then cross country skiing and they were always found dancing a tango or a waltz at Polish functions even well into their 80s.
My Dad, my hero, was an avid photographer and he shared with me the magic of developing pictures in his dark room. Whenever I needed a drive to a medical appointment or a companion on a trip or to the Ex or even to an Art show he was there for me without question. He always had gadgets and tools to fix anything and right at this very moment I am typing by the light of a random bulb that I found in one of his many hidey holes. In his retirement Dziadzius would often be found at the local soccer fields in summer and the curling rinks in winter, supporting his grandsons (and gently giving them some tips). He enjoyed watching James Bond movies and football and we will all remember his silly and endearing giggle when he won a bet, especially against Bill. He introduced the sharing of blessed eggs every Easter at the Mazurkiewicz family brunch and the sharing of oplatek (and vodka with herring) every Wigilia. For many years he sang 'Oh Tannenbaum' during Christmas carolling in Ancaster where the Brodnicki family warmly and graciously welcomed my parents for Christmas and other special occasions for many years. My Dad lived a full life. He shared his quiet joy of life with so very many of us and for that we are very grateful. We would like to thank the Medical Team on Seven South at Hamilton General for their compassionate care and assistance during my Dad's stay. Cremation has taken place. Our family has opted to defer the celebration of life and attendant ceremonies until hopefully sometime in May in consideration of the safety of friends and family during the pandemic. Donations may be made to a charity of your choice, The Christmas Tree of Hope or to the St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish building fund.
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