Jiri “George” Vaclav Horak
1929 – 2016
George passed away peacefully on October 3rd at the Joseph Creek Care Home.
He will be deeply missed by his brother Josef (Jane, sons George and John), sister Margaret (son George, daughter Jane and 8 grandchildren), brother Anthony (Mary, son John, daughters Mary, Anne and Margaret and 5 grandchildren), brother Peter (Mary, son Peter, daughters Mary and Ludmila and 11 grandchildren) and sister Anna (Emil, sons James and Paul).
He will also be missed by his many friends who sought his counsel and enjoyed his company.
He was predeceased by his father Josef, his mother Antonia, his brother-in-law John and his beloved wife Vera. George was born in Brno, Moravia on April 24th, 1929. At the age of fourteen he completed grade eight and began an apprenticeship as a bookbinder. After World War II, he escaped from communist controlled Czechoslovakia to Venezuela. In Caracas he found work as a bookbinder and later established a laundry business. In 1953 he was accepted into the seminary in Rome where he completed five years of studies for ordination as a priest. He served as pastor in northern Italy for several years before deciding to join the Jesuit order. After further studies at the novitiate in Austria, he was assigned to the Jesuit Czech Mission House in Montreal in 1962. There he taught at Loyola High School and was a counsellor at St. Mary’s High School.
In 1968, George moved to Toronto where he was chaplain in a psychiatric hospital. While taking university classes toward a PhD in clinical psychology, he developed a relationship with Vera Moore, a social worker. After intense prayer and deliberation, he decided to leave the Jesuits and marry Vera. George was hired by the Ontario Parole and Probation Department. During his career, he served as a supervisor and staff training officer. George and Vera retired to Durham, Ontario where they lived for eleven years. For health reasons, George and Vera moved to Cranbrook, BC in 1994. They were married for 42 years until Vera’s death in 2012. In 2014 George wrote his memoir Witness: Voices and Choices which was published by St. Peter’s Press and Friesen Press.
George was a spiritual man who followed his beliefs with courage. He was generous and grateful, a seeker of knowledge and truth in religion, languages, prayer, meditation and yoga.
His funeral service will be held at Christ The Servant Catholic Church in Cranbrook on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 at 10:00 am.
Arrangements entrusted to McPherson Funeral Service.
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