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John E. (Jack) Gorski

October 27, 2018

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John E. (Jack) Gorski, 91, died peacefully in the early morning of Saturday, October 27, 2018. He had been living at Runk and Pratt Assisted Living Community in Hardy, VA for the past two years, where he was able to be closer to his son and daughter-in-law, Ed and Janet Gorski.

Prior to moving to Runk and Pratt, Jack had lived with his wife, Virginia Gorski in Lake Frederick, Virginia, as part of an “active seniors” community, where they both enjoyed the activities, dinners, and entertainment.  They had also lived at Lake Anna in Bumpass, Virginia, right on the water in a lovely home that Jack had built.  They had held their wedding reception at that home on June 21, 1994.  They had lived for many happy years at Lake Anna, enjoying sailing, birding, creating wildlife habitat and serving as Coast Guard Auxiliary Members, with whom Jack had been a charter member.  They were also frequent participants with Elderhostel, and National Wildlife Federation programs traveling extensively throughout most of the US. Virginia passed away in September 2015.

Jack grew up in Ashley, Pennsylvania, near Wilkes-Barre.  He was the last living sibling of six children.  His father, a coal miner, instilled in Jack and his siblings the importance of education.  Jack graduated from Ashley High School in 1944.

He then enlisted in the Navy on April 9, 1945 and served as a Seaman First Class until his honorable discharge on August 28, 1946 – one year, four months, six days.  Making good use of his G.I. Bill benefits he first attended Bucknell University Junior College (BUJC) in Wilkes-Barre. (now Wilkes-University), and then transferred to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering while also playing basketball.

With engineering degree in hand, he began work with Daystrom in New Jersey.  He eventually moved his skills to IBM in Owego, New York for whom he worked with the NASA space program at Cape Canaveral/Cape Kennedy, originally known as the NASA Launch Operations Center in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  He enjoyed traveling to Florida with his family to watch the mission launches.

He also used his engineering knowledge and experience on the USS Bergall Submarine in the mid- to late 1960s.  During this period of his professional life, he would often travel on the submarine for weeks or months.  He took great pride in his engineering work and also brought those skills home where is was often found “tinkering” with some engine, project or woodworking.  He loved working with his hands.

Eventually he was transferred with IBM to Manassas, Virginia with his family.  This position had him involved with early chip manufacturing and the initial forays into what would develop as the Internet.  He retired in 1988, after 35 plus years with IBM.  Jack and his first wife, Lois, eventually moved full-time to their home at Lake Anna.  Lois and Jack were married in June 1950, and Lois passed away on March 1990.

In addition to his great commitment to education – just as his own father – Jack was also involved in his community, serving as a Boy Scout and later a 4-H Leader. As mentioned he was a Charter Member and eventual Commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary on Lake Anna, where he frequently taught boating safety classes.   His love of his various Catholic churches and his belief in God were evident in his life, regardless of where he lived or visited, including on camping trips throughout the US with both of his wives and children.  As his wives were Protestant, Jack also participated in worshipping with them.  He found God whenever he needed and strove to live his life according to God’s teachings.

In addition to his two wives, Jack is proceeded in death by his mother and father, Helen and Ziggy Gorski, of Ashley, PA; and five siblings, Helen, Hedy, Joe, Jerry, and a brother who died as an infant.

Jack is survived by two children, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren: Edward Paul (Janet) Gorski of Moneta, Virginia, and their daughter Katrina (Tim) Garland of Leavenworth, Kansas, from where Tim has been deployed to South Korea with the Army; and their five children: Cora, Clarrisa, Caleb, Carrah, and Chloe.  And, Barbara (Steve Aamodt) Gorski, and their daughter Selina, of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  In addition, Jack is survived by two step-children, Linda née Volrath (Steve) Parrish, of Stephens Cities, Virginia and Greg Volrath of Knoxville, TN.   Additionally, Jack had numerous nieces and nephews.

Jack’s children would like to thank the staff at Runk and Pratt who tenderly cared and provided for him.  Your dedication is recognized, and we are very grateful.  Also, of importance were his fellow residents of R&P, who warmly welcomed Jack and provided a loving community for the final years of his life.  Thanks to ALL of you!

A mass of Christian Burial is planned for early December at Resurrection Catholic Church in Hardy, VA.  Please return to this site for additional details of date and time.  A private interment will be held at Cool Springs Natural Cemetery in Berryville, Va.

In lieu of flowers, contributions made be made in Jack’s name to Carilion Hospice [], which provided attentive palliative care to Jack in the final weeks of his live.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Smith Mountain Lake, is assisting the family.

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