Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Mr George

Whilst we were in Rwanda, we heard that Mary’s Father, Jerzy (George) Rozek had passed away quietly with his son John with him after many months, if not years of health problems.

But I don’t want to dwell on those or the hard times he faced as he got older because it’s better to remember a man as he was for most of his life rather than dwelling on the things that brought that first-class life to an end.

George, Mary and Stephen in Krakow, Poland 2006
George, or “Mr George” as I always called him (he was my boss when I worked in his West End Restaurant almost 40 years ago), was the model father-in-law anyone could ever have. He never failed to show respect and enthusiasm for anything we did, he encouraged and admired our work and blessed our marriage by never criticising or showing disapproval of the choices we made in our life. We knew he was proud of us and he always showed it.

But we too were proud of him. As a Polish soldier in the British army in the war in the forties, he helped save our nation from almost certain drudgery and discrimination by his bravery and commitment to what was just. He rarely spoke of it as he started his new life in a new country and brought up his family to fit in and respect that culture. He had a commitment to family life and, although his long working hours often mitigated against it, he treasured the moments he could bring us all together to “be a family”. What greater pleasure could he have than to have all of us around him!

In his work life, he was a professional par excellence. Everything had to be just as it should be in the restaurants he used to run, Everything for the customer but, at the same time, nobody could feel alone in his presence with the charming and welcoming spirit he would show with everyone he met. Lost for words he was not! He was a quality conversationalist, all in his second language. That flowed over into the street on his regular walks when I’m sure he was seen as a character in the local community who always had a word for everyone.

His professional preciseness and ability to care and put people at their ease are traits that I have always held in high regard and admired and ones I have always tried to emulate throughout my working life.

We know your time had come, Mr George, but you will live on in our lives with fondness, love and, most of all, respect!

George as a young man
May you have more than your “Sto Lat” and have perpetual peace knowing that you will be always with us.

Sto lat, sto lat, niech zyje zyje nam.
Sto lat, sto lat, niech zyje zyje nam.
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, niech zyje, zyje nam.
Niech zyje nam!