Centenarian Victor Okinczyc has passed away 1913-2013
It is with sadness that we report the passing of long time West Seattle resident Victor Okinczyc at the age of 100. We published a story about his 100th birthday on February 13.
By Sabina Dinkakos
Victor (Witold) Okinczyc (100) of Seattle died peacefully on Monday June 24, 2013 due to complications related to his age. He was born on February 10, 1913 in Nowogrodzkie Eastern Poland, which is now considered Belarus, to a gentry family of parents Anthony and Sabina and brother Henrich. He grew up in the landed estate of Zasule near Stolpce. After completing his studies at an Industry High School (milling faculty) in Bydgoszcz Victor started working in Wilno (Vilinius), then Warsaw and later in Brzesc (Belarus). When Germany attacked Poland during the Polish-German war of 1939, he was an officer in an army commanded by general Franciszek (Francis) Kleeberg and took part in some battles with the Soviets and Germans including one of the more famous battles of the September campaign-the battle of Kock. He was taken as a prisoner and spent some years in Oflag, a camp built to house Polish army officers taken prisoner during the German invasion of Poland , in Murnau Germany. When Americans liberated the camp he decided to join the 2nd Polish Corps, under the command of the famous general Wladyslaw Anders, and fight alongside the Western Allies. Post World War II Victor did not want to return to then communist Poland, as his brother and father had been arrested and killed by the NKVD (Soviet political police). Instead he chose to stay on as one of Ander’s soldiers in London, thereafter moving to Italy, Argentina and the United States-staying permanently in West Seattle where he lived and worked.
Commonly referred to as “Papa” and to some even as “Vittorio” he is survived by his only child Ann (Luigi), his two grandchildren Nik and Sabina (Antonio), his niece Teresa Okinczyc Smolkowa (Mieczlaw) and her daughter Anna Smolka (Gerhard) as well as his extended family in Poland and multiple friends all over the world.
Papa can best be described as a colorful person-you would never be able to guess that he had endured so much towards the beginning of his life. He was funny and he was of the generation where the thinking was “I don’t get depressed, I get to work.” We all know that generation is now slipping away. An extremely determined man, Papa was a fierce supporter of the “DIY” movement and in fact he would at times take it to a dangerous level. One time, he refused to have anyone help him clean his gutters and he fell off his roof! In addition to having a full time job at the Fischer Flour Mills busy bee Papa purchased, maintained and managed various properties during the course of his lifetime for supplemental income-he was resourceful! Our Papa loved to get a good deal, speak about politics, have a bowl of hot soup, drink room temperature beer, travel the world and more recently to drink hot cocoa of all things. His hobbies were work, work and…work. Papa was a dynamic individual always and in his younger days may have even been referred to as a dapper dresser. He was also very generous-sharing everything he had with his friends and family without expectations. Recently in February, he became a centurion and we were thrilled to all be together to celebrate such an event. We are extremely proud of Papa’s character and life accomplishments and will miss him terribly.
Viewing for Victor will be Wednesday, July 3; 11am-3pm at Forest Lawn Funeral Home Chapel 6701 30th Ave. SW. Seattle, WA 98126 (206) 932-0050. The Funeral Service will be Friday, July 5; 10:30am-11:30am at St. Margaret Catholic Church 3221 14th Ave. W. Seattle, WA 98119 (206) 282-1804 with a Reception to follow the Funeral Service at St. Margaret 11:30am-1:30pm. The Graveside Service will be Friday, July 5; 2:00pm at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery 11111 Aurora Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98133 (206) 362-5200.