It is with great sadness that Jack’s family announce his sudden and unexpected passing on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at the age of 78 due to a heart attack while doing what he loved, driving the combine to bring in the harvest.
Jack is survived by his wife, Lois, his daughter Kelly, his son-in-law Darcy, his sister Gladys, many extended family members and was affectionately known as “Papa Jack” to Lois’ extended family. Jack was predeceased by his first wife Patricia, his sisters Marjorie and Georgina and his brother Harry.
A Celebration of Life with family and friends gathering to reminisce about a wonderful husband, father and friend to so many was held October 15, 2018 at the Czech Community Hall, a place which held many wonderful memories for Jack. Interment took place the following day at the Rosetown Cemetery.
If you wish, donations in Jack’s memory can be made to the Czech Community Hall P.O. Box 1527, Biggar SK, S0K 0M0 or the Rosetown & District Health Centre Foundation P.O. Box 653, Rosetown, SK, S0L 2V0 To send online condolences please visit shanidarfuneralservices.com. Arrangements entrusted to Pierre A. Charpentier.
A tribute to Dad - Written by Kelly Tomyn (daughter of Jack)
Dad left this world while doing what he loved, driving the combine to bring in the harvest, something he had done, and had enjoyed doing, for the last 66 years. He left us quickly, just like the way he drove that new black Chevy in his younger days, or the way he would abruptly end his phone calls by saying “Ok, well, we’ll talk to you again” and then just hang up! He didn’t suffer...and as someone said when they learned of Dad’s passing, “I guess you couldn’t have asked for a better way to ‘move it on over’ now could you?”
When someone is in the same community for 78 years like Dad was, roots run deep. Long and loyal friendships are formed, you touch the lives of many, and in turn, many lives touch yours. It’s impossible to summarize an entire life into a few words.
Jack Lawrence Pich or “Jackie” as his older sisters affectionately called him throughout his entire life was born on April 6, 1940 in the Rosetown Hospital. He was the youngest of five children born to Louis Pich and Albina Vasichek. Dad was a very tiny baby....records showed that he received emergency baptism at the hospital from Nurse Beatrice Pravada. But that was likely the first and only time in his life that anyone would describe Dad as being “tiny”!
Dad was born at a time when everyone had large families and the older children cared for their younger siblings. This was especially important for young Jack, because, as it would turn out, his Mom would pass away at the age of 36, and when he was only 2 ½ years old. His sister Marjorie, who was 18 years older than him, and his sister Georgina, who was 17 years older than him, helped raise little brother “Jackie” in his early years.
Dad chose farming as his career at an early age. By the time he was a young teenager, he was living out at the farm rather than in Rosetown at the Pich house. Living on a farm, rather than in town, was always for him.
Even though Dad had to leave school to go farm before he wrote his grade 10 exams, he did math in his head like a snap. One of his strong suits was calculating gas mileage in his head and then quizzing his son-in-law Darcy about what he got for mileage! For things he didn’t compute in his head, he used my old university pocket calculator...and only Dad could use that calculator....because he had worn most of the labels off the buttons from using it so much!
Dad mentioned that this year would mark his 66th year on the combine to help with the harvest....we can’t even start to calculate how many bushels he would have thrashed or how many rounds in the field he would have made. Combine technology had come a long ways since he first started riding them as a boy, and Dad loved all the bells and whistles that those big John Deere’s offered now.
Dad could be described as a “deep thinker”...he often seemed to be quietly figuring things out in his head, calculating something, tracking bills or making lists of things to do around the farm. He was always making notes in small “notepads” that could be found throughout the house. And he always kept one of those notepads in the breast pocket of his work-shirt.
From my Grandfather, Louis, Dad inherited the traits of being a quiet, hardworking, no-nonsense man; that is how family history books described my Grandfather. If there was a fire in the neighbor’s field, Dad was there. If someone needed a hand getting harvest done, Dad would answer the call. If someone had a casing bowl or waterline for their cattle freeze up, they would call Jack’s Backhoe Service and Dad would be there with his hoe. You could rely on him to help out, to get things done and to sit for a coffee and a visit when the work was done. On occasion, I believe stronger drinks than coffee were consumed during these visits!
But we all knew another side to Dad; those traits he inherited from his mother, who passed away before he really ever knew her. Family history books describe Dad’s mother Albina as having a “jovial disposition” and as someone who “wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself or share a laugh with others”. All of us will miss Dad’s jolly smile and his belly laughs.
No-one laughed as long, or as loud, as Dad himself did when he retold stories about the crazy antics he and his friends did over the years. It’s those stories and memories that we all hold dear, and what will help us all through this.
In 1964, Jack married Patricia Mescall, whose family had also homesteaded in the Marriott area. Some of the happiest times for my Dad and Mom were attending dances at the Czech Hall, which featured a local orchestra playing lively polka music and huge crowds. Oh yes, and everyone had a bottle or two outside in the trunk of their car for “socializing”. My Dad and Mom were married for 47 years until Mom’s passing in 2012.
In 1965, Dad and Mom welcomed me, their “pride and joy” and only daughter, to the world. I could often be found at my Dad’s side....on the skidoo, with him at the neighbours for a visit, out feeding the pigs, or riding around with him on farm machinery. Later during my school years, there were too many times to count that I would look over to the stands during my basketball or volleyball games and there would be Mom and Dad, cheering on our team.
In 1990, Dad and Mom gained a son-in-law when Kelly and Darcy were married....Dad always took a real interest in knowing what both Darcy and I did for work and my Dad’s pride for his daughter and son-in-law was evident to anyone who knew him.
And music, music, music.....especially Old Time Polka Music, was a big part of Dad’s life. If he wasn’t at a hall dancing to it, he was by a radio or a CD player listening to it. Just recently, while combining out in the field, Dad made an “urgent call” over the two-way radio to Colin to come over and set the combine radio, so he wouldn’t miss listening to “Saturday Night Old-Time Dance Party” while he was harvesting!
Everyone in Dad’s life was delighted when he found happiness with Lois and they were married in 2014. Dad and Lois lived a lifetime of experiences in the relatively short time they were together. They didn’t let the grass grow under their feet. Dad and Lois cherished their wedding dance at the Czech Hall and joined their friends from the Biggar Dance Club at dances in Biggar, Landis, Ruthilda, and even to Danceland in Watrous. They shared a common passion for many things, and took pleasure in life’s simple things....be it caring for their yard and bountiful vegetable garden, playing cards, dancing to Old time polka music or visiting casinos both near and far.
Simply spending time with family, friends and neighbours at planned events or “kitchen-table” get-togethers was something they both enjoyed. Dad and Lois supported each other, took care of each other, shared some laughs and shared some tears. As one of Dad’s lifelong friends put it “Where you saw one, you saw the other”.
Everyone will miss Dad in their own way. Words can’t describe what Lois, Darcy and I are feeling with the sudden and unexpected loss of the husband and father that we so dearly loved.
And let’s not forget that there is a special cat named Tiger that is likely wondering why Dad isn’t sitting in his easy chair and brushing his fur like he used to...
But Dad would want us to carry on, so we all try to find comfort by thinking of the following....
Even though we won’t have another chance to “hit it big” at the slot machines with Dad in Vegas or at a local casino....we can still smile when we play a turn in his memory.
Even though Dad won’t be there to tell us what make, model and year an antique car is by simply looking at its tail lights......we can still appreciate how beautiful those old cars look, like he did.
Even though friends and family won’t hear Dad’s voice on the other end of the phone asking us how much rain we got, or whether the grain tested dry....or ask why we thought those Blue Jays, those Roughriders or those Curlers just made such a stupid play....we can still strive to have a passion for, and be content with, life’s simple things, like he was.
Even though Dad’s famous Sunday pancakes won’t be on the breakfast table anymore....we can still laugh out loud when we add his “not so secret” ingredient, Bailey’s Irish Cream, to our batch!
AND, most important of all...Even though Dad can no longer physically put his arms around friends and family or give us a fun loving swat on the shoulder....he is there with us and will always be there with us.