We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Jerry Grzech peacefully at home with his loving family on January 20th, at the age of 83 years. Born in Copetown, Ontario, Jerry was the beloved husband of nearly 60 years and soul-mate to Judy, and devoted father to Todd Grzech (Ginny) and Lori Sirianni. Predeceased by his parents John Grzech and Caroline Grzech, sister Penny Laboucane, and brother Ben Grzech. Jerry is survived by his sister-in-law Helen Grzech, nephew Ron Grzech (Lynda); nieces Joanna Watson (Terry), Shirley Moyer and Donna Szocki, and great-nieces and -nephews.
In the early 1960s Jerry was a draftsman on the Otis Elevator team that designed the Skylon Tower's exterior "Yellow Bug" elevators. He later owned and operated fabric and upholstery stores in St. Catharines and Hamilton, including Mark Four Fabrics on Ottawa Street.
Jerry was innately good-natured, jovial, outgoing, talkative and sociable. He could strike up friendly conversations with everyone he met. A son of Polish immigrants, Jerry was proud of his Polish heritage and enjoyed polka dancing and music, and celebrating Dyngus Day. His wide range of interests also included organic gardening, auto racing and classic cars, fishing, old movies, nature--particularly trees, reading, cooking, and antiques. In the early 1980s, Jerry and his mother-in-law Doris Nolte (who adored each other) wrote and exchanged a slew of poems full of witty, humorous zingers made in jest--such were his talents.
He was an avid organic gardener for many years, enjoying the Royal Botanical Gardens, participating in Hamilton's Open Garden events, and was featured in an August 13, 1999 Hamilton Spectator article entitled "Roll out the barrels" for his backyard container gardening, which he continued even into his 80s on a smaller scale by growing delicious potted organic tomatoes on the patio until 2020.
Jerry lost his father to pneumonia at the tender age of three and was raised by his widowed mother. Perhaps growing up missing his own father is why he was so dedicated to fatherhood himself. He was an attentive, hands-on, fun-loving dad to his two children, taking our family on long travels in the fully-equipped motorhome he designed and built by himself out of a used school bus in the 1970s. He led us to explore the natural beauty of Ontario, eastern Canada and Florida on countless family road trips. He built us a fort to play in next to the garage, rolled up his pant legs to build sand castles with us, carried us asleep in our pajamas from the car to our beds arriving home from the drive-in (until Lori giggled while pretending to be asleep--a fond memory of his); taught us to toboggan, ride bikes, fish, build things, solve problems, think critically, use a dictionary regularly, fix cars, and drive a stick shift. He was always there to catch us when we fell, like he innately knew that being a great dad, a devoted husband and family man, and our rock was the most important thing in life. He did all that and more. Jerry will be deeply missed.
Jerry's family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Hamilton General Hospital and Juravinski Hospital. Jerry's beloved hometown Hamilton is fortunate to have world-class, caring doctors and hospital staffs.
Cremation has taken place. Donations to Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, Juravinski Hospital, the Royal Botanical Gardens, or planting a tree would be appreciated.