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Zdzislaw (aka Adam) was born in in Przemysl, Poland on 30 March 1927. He was 12 years old when the Second World War started. With the help of a Swedish sailor, he escaped to Sweden. Towards the end of the war, he was old enough to join the 1st Polish Armoured Division and trained in Scotland on Sherman tanks. He saw combat in Belgium as a tank bow gunner.

In 1946, Zdzislaw came to Canada on a two-year work contract, and worked in a gold mine in northwestern Ontario. After moving to Winnipeg, he got a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Manitoba. As a student, for seven summers he worked as a waiter on the CN Rail route between Winnipeg and Vancouver.

He eventually brought his mother, sister, and niece to Canada. By that time his father had died in Poland. He married Barbara, and they had two children, Paul and Elizabeth.

Zdzislaw taught history, social studies, and law at Morris Collegiate for twenty-five years. He was a town councillor in Morris and also served on the Morris Hospital Board for many years. He received the Citizen of the Year award in Morris in 1987.

A man of many interests, Zdzislaw built a twenty-five-foot yacht in his garage in Morris. He sailed it in Gimli for several years before buying a cabin at Buffalo Point and moving the yacht there. He also loved car mechanics after taking a one-year course in Sweden. His tool collection is legendary.

He survived the Second World War, taught many students, spoke six languages, lived to see a Polish pope, married and had two children, and went on countless trips all over the world. Truly a life well-lived.

Zdzislaw passed away in Winnipeg on 7 December 2021, at the age of 94 years.

Copyright: Straszynski family

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