In memory of
August Zygmunt CHOMA
CHOMA, August Zygmunt August Choma died shortly after the chimes at midnight on January 2, 2017, surrounded by his three children. August Zygmunt Choma was born in 1922 on a prosperous farm in interwar Poland, 30 km from the city of Lwow. The entire family was deported in freight cars to a lumber labour camp in the Altai mountains of Siberia in February 1940, with one brother, Kazimierz, perishing in transit. Here, uniquely, he developed a lifelong love of the real Russian people and the Russian language. Following Stalin's "amnesty" in 1942, he made his way overland through Central Asia, India and Iran, and then to several refugee camps in British East Africa, where he met his wife, Halina, also from Poland. Still in Uganda after the war ended, August and Halina had the opportunity to immigrate to Australia, but since August's brother, Karol, had already immigrated to Canada, August and Halina also chose to move to Canada and settled in Ottawa in 1949. August worked at the Ottawa Civic Hospital for many, many years, and ultimately was given the opportunity in 1970 to be the general manager of the newly constructed Interns and Residents Residence at the corner of Carling and Parkdale until retiring in 1987 due to ill health. Over the years he came to know hundreds of doctors at a human level as he helped them establish their households at the Residence, while they pursued their professional careers at the Civic. Beyond employment, August had a strong connection with the Civic Hospital as a long-time patient, undergoing two coronary bypass operations performed by Dr Keon, the first one 44 years ago when the surgery was still considered highly experimental. August attended the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Ottawa Heart Institute last year. In 2010, August applied for a Polish passport and later that year travelled to Poland to visit his niece Teresa; together they visited the family farm which is now Ukrainian territory. He extolled the rapid progress of the new Poland and extended his stay twice, even voting in that year's presidential elections. August lived with his son, George, in the house he had bought in 1962 until just two weeks ago. He knew that he had much to be grateful for in his long life. August was predeceased by his dear wife Halina, his sister Aniela and his brothers Kazimierz, Karol and Josef. He is survived by his children Christin, Elizabeth and George and son-in-law David, by his nieces Teresa, Elzbieta and Kathy, and his nephew John. The family is very grateful to the entire staff of the palliative care unit at Elisabeth Bruyere Hospital for the truly compassionate and human care they offered our father in his final days. We thank his family physician Dr Andrew Horne for always giving our Dad his time, the most precious commodity of all. Lastly, we thank Jean, his personal caregiver, for his positive energy over the last three years. A remembrance service was held January 5, 2017. Donations in memory of August can be made to The Bruyere Foundation, 43 Bruyere Street, Ottawa, K1N 5C8. www.bruyere.org
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