A sad day at Iler Campbell

November 20th, 2018 by Iler Campbell

Celia’s husband, Jack, passed away on Monday November 19th. All of us at Iler Campbell knew and loved Jack. We, along with many others, will miss him very much.

Our office will be closed Thursday, November 22 beginning at noon so that we may gather to remember him.

Jack’s full obituary is below.

At 6 p.m. on Monday November 19, 2018, surrounded by closest family, Jack Sikorski consented to a medically assisted death. Jack’s cancer had progressed and his quality of life was greatly diminished; he was grateful for the choice to prevent further suffering and die on his own terms, as he had lived.

Jacek spent the first 35 years of his life in Wroclaw, Poland where many of his family still live. There, he married in 1972 and had two children, Bartek and Mikolaj. Jacek had golden hands from the time he was a small child and a fascination for making things work. He trained as an electrician and worked in the mining industry.

With his first marriage behind him and a large diaspora of family in the GTA, he came initially on holiday in 1984 and then again in 1986 when he decided to stay. He spoke no English at the time. Those who knew Jack can only imagine his frustration as joking and carrying on were such central parts of him. Upon arrival, Jack stayed with his sister, Jolanta, and then moved in with his 2nd wife, Ingrid, a Chilean immigrant whom he met in ESL class.

With Ingrid, Jacek had two more children – Alexa and Tomek. They spent two decades together first living in Rexdale and then in a house they bought in Brampton. His Polish sons were frequent visitors to Canada throughout these years and those blended family bonds are still strong today. Jacek was very proud of the many improvements he made to the yard at the Brampton house including a gazebo and beautiful garden.

Professionally, Jacek was also busy during this time. When he arrived in Canada, he put his golden hands to work in his uncle’s appliance repair shop and eventually took that part of the business over. Operating as Accord Appliance Service Centre, Jack and his staff serviced residential appliances and commercial and residential steam saunas. Jack worked long hours, enjoying the challenge of figuring stuff out. His cancer diagnosis in 2016 did not stop him. Although he sold his shop in January 2018, he continued to take calls and as recently as October 31, undaunted by being in a wheelchair and with greatly diminished strength, Jack was on the floor of the mechanical room working on a steam sauna at the Shangri-La Hotel.

During these years too, he mastered English and eventually changed his name to Jack since Jacek proved too much for many to pronounce. Jack’s clients all loved him for his integrity and his considerable charm. Jack would often explain over the phone to potential clients how they might fix their own machine or that his services were otherwise not necessary; this forged client relationships that spanned decades. As to charm – well, that was evident to everyone. Indeed, in 2009, while fixing a fridge, Jack met the woman who would become his third wife, Celia.

Jack and Celia moved in together in 2011 and at 65 Joe in Weston, Jack again sought to make a beautiful home, at first doing the work personally and finally as his health failed, overseeing others. He personally renovated the guest room and improved the yard and the basement. Then in 2018, he ensured that Celia was left with new windows, a new roof, a new garage, and a beautiful gazebo.

Jack and Celia enjoyed nine wonderful years together. Their relationship sparkled from their shared love of food and drink, of intellectual sparring, of wordplay, of laughter and silliness, of their dogs and cats, of travel, and perhaps most significantly of hosting parties.

They were both profoundly grateful to have found each other and curse cancer for cutting short their time as a couple.

Weston was good to Jack and Celia and during his final months with failing health, many neighbours provided emotional and practical support to both of them. Jack was comforted to know that Celia would be left surrounded by so many friends they made together.

Throughout his cancer treatment, Jack was optimistic and it is only in the last few weeks that he resigned himself to the fact that he was dying. That optimism was fuelled in part by the excellent care at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Lung Clinic. Drs Geoff Liu and Andrea Bezjak were with him from the beginning and regularly buoyed his spirits. Geoff’s nurse, Sim, also gets special credit as the upbeat and professional face Jack often saw first. Social worker, Kelly Antes, supported Celia throughout treatment to allow Celia to be the best she could be for Jack.

More recently, Jack was treated at home by a team of nurses, PSWs and other health care professionals. While the steady stream of people through the basement tired Jack, it was preferable to being hospitalized or in a hospice; homecare allowed Jack to stay in his man-cave complete with steam room, 52 inch flatscreen, smoking area and beer tap. Nurse practitioner, Irene Cilla, was instrumental in making Jack’s last month bearable. PSW Tessie kept Jack company during many nights in his last week. Dr. Ed Weiss administered the injection to let Jack die and for him, Jack was particularly thankful.

Special thanks also goes to Paola and Tony, Jack’s Accord colleagues, who kept the business going over the last few weeks and more importantly, spent time with Jack, providing him with a much-needed sense of normalcy. Friend Fareez too was great support to Jack. Celia’s Iler Campbell family also made it possible for her to be with Jack throughout treatment and at home these last two months. Visits, food, calls, etc. from colleagues were a bonus.

Celia’s support network were incredible throughout Jack’s illness, whether it was providing an ear or shoulder, serving at Alexa and Dennis’ October wedding, bringing food, drinking wine, being a walking companion, and sitting with Jack when he could no longer be alone. Thanks to the crew in no particular order: Liz, Mieke, Susan, Laura, Lucy, Greg, Eve, Janice, Mark, Kathi, Brenda, Paula, Ingrid, Julie, and Leisa.

Mourning Jack’s death are his wife, Celia; children: Bartek and Ola (Wroclaw), Mikolaj and Fiona (Galway), Alexa and Dennis (Brampton), and Tomek (Mississauga); seven grandchildren: Lenka, Stas, Kuba, Noah, Lara, Naomi and Aria; two sisters, Jolanta (Toronto) and Barbara (Wroclaw); mother, Anna (Wroclaw); dogs Bidi, Molly and cat Jasmine; Stanley, Bridget and other extended family in Europe and Canada; and many, many friends.

Please join Celia and his children to celebrate Jack’s life at Del Moro Funeral Home on Thursday, November 22, 2018, 2-5 p.m. 61 Beverley Hills Drive near Jane and Wilson.

In lieu of flowers, please donate generously to the Rexall OneWalk to Conquer Cancer fundraiser for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at: http://www.onewalk.ca/goto/celiachandler19

Filed in: Firm News