Jozef (Joseph) Gut
His influence in my life is stronger than ever, even though he’s been gone for just a short time. I am now more aware of how well he lived his life.
He accomplished a lot in one lifetime. It amazes me, but does not surprise me. These are just some of the things he was known for;
- Taking it on himself to have electricity established in an entire village in Poland where they lived at the time
- Rallying the community to gather up cut timber drifting down the river so that the community could build a school house
- Spending 5 years in prison for taking a stand for freedom, which withdrew him from his university studies
- Uprooting his young family to start a new life in a new country for a better opportunity with only a suitcase in one hand, my 4 year-old brother in the other and a few dollars in his pocket
- Opening up a textile business, which spawned the development of one of the largest consumer textile districts in North America
- Sponsoring many young adult family members to immigrate to Canada where they are now thriving with families of their own
- Devoting himself to the development of our youth through his leadership in the Polish Scouting movement in Canada
- Raising potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars through fund raising, to support various causes and activities in support of the community he so cherished
- On April 30, 1999, at the age of 73, he received his graduate diploma from the University of Krakow, Poland for his Degree in Economics where it was verified that he wrote and passed his exams April 12, 1953 – 46 years after the fact.
I am his namesake. He chose me to share his name. I didn’t always live up to it, but I don’t take it for granted either. My Dad had a love for life and an ambition for his own. He approached everything with an exuberance and passion, seeing possibility beyond what was obvious.
He was always gathering people to work and play together in community. There was rarely a weekend that we didn’t have a house full of guests. It annoyed me at times, but I can now see why he attracted them.
My Dad left a valuable imprint in this world and on my heart that cannot be erased. He wasn’t seeking fame or honors or a spotlight. But it’s what he received as he remained humbled and focused on the things that mattered to him.
His legacy lives on – in my world and the thousands of others whose lives he has touched.
Not so long ago, I stood before a room of several hundred people who came to celebrate his life, his legacy. The night before that gathering, I wrote a poem in honor of my Dad. I’m sharing that poem here to express my gratitude for being so lucky to have had such an influence in my life.
It took me a while and I choose a difficult path to figure it out, but I finally got around to understanding the wisdom that he showed me.
Today, the focus of my work is to wake up this potential in you, so that you too can enjoy your life with passion as you develop your path to meaningful success and live your legacy.
My Father was a man of many talents. For me, the best one was his role as my Father.
My Father was not a pilot, yet he showed me how to soar and enjoy life for all of its beauty.
My Father was not an astronomer, but he made me believe I could reach for the stars.
My Father was not a comedian, but he taught me how important it is to have a laugh and remain lighthearted.
My Father was not an architect, but he built our family a beautiful home. It was not a castle, yet he made me feel like a princess.
My Father was not a counselor, but he showed me the significance of developing our youth to ensure a healthy future for all.
My Father was not a travel agent, yet he took me on enough adventures to last several lifetimes.
Although he played many roles in the community, my Father was not an actor. He taught me that not only is it OK to be yourself, it is IMPORTANT to be yourself.
My Father was not a clergyman, but he showed me the grace of God.
There was a lot my Father was not. But there was so much more that my Father was.
The greatest gift he gave me was to live life with love, integrity and passion and no regrets. It’s what he did.
Thank you Tatus.
Ja cie kocham. (I love you)
Niech ci sie aniolki snia. (Dream of Angels. It’s what my parents said to me every night as a little girl. These are the last words my father spoke to me from his hospital bed)
November 26, 2009