Obituary of Stephen Joseph Zalobka
May 15, 1927 - July 4, 2020
Stephen passed away at 93 years of age peacefully at St Mary’s Hospital after a brief illness. Beloved husband of 70 years to Helen (Dlugokecki) Zalobka.
Adored Daddy to his two dollies Patricia (William) Appleby and Theresa (Allen) Toews.
Cherished Grandpa to his grandchildren Kyle (Janet) Appleby, Kevin Appleby (Diane Bogias), and Katherine Appleby (David Wilson).
Much loved Great Grandpa to Brooklynne Appleby (Jason Holden) and Dayton Appleby. His world lit up when his Great Great Granddaughter Starla Appleby Holden was born in January 2019.
Special brother-in-law of Julie Dlugokecki. Dear uncle to Sigmund Zalobka (Teresa) and Cathy Weiler (Bill) and cousin to Peter Zalobka.Brother-in-law to Anne Dlugokecki.
Predeceased by his parents Adam and Sophie Zalobka, brother Zigmund Zalobka, sisters-in-law Stella Dlugokecki and Janine Ilowski, brother-in-law John Dlugokecki, nieces Kim Zalobka, Lucyll Fleras and Christine Fisher. He will be sadly missed by many nieces and nephews in the Dlugokecki family.
Stephen was born in Poland and immigrated to Canada at a young age. His family settled in “Little Poland” in Kitchener across the street from Sacred Heart Church. He met Helen and it was love at first sight and the rest is history. Stephen was a hardworking man spending his career as a component provider to the tire builders as head of that unit at Dominion Tire (Uniroyal) He was a great provider for his little family and although we were not rich we never did without and we were very blessed in every way.
Steve and Helen had many trips to Florida and Las Vegas over the years. He loved betting on live races, off track betting, playing cards and Casino trips. Our family dinners often ended with a game of poker after the dining room table was cleared. Nothing made him happier than spending time with the family and this is when he smiled the most. He had a quirky sense of humour that cracked us all up but he never thought he was funny, which made us all laugh harder.
Any outing with his dollies was a special one, always looking out for us and insisting on buying our meal or giving us $20 for a slot machine. He shared many special times with his son-in-law Allen who had a special bond with Pops. Going to the Concordia for lunch or going to Brantford to play cards was always a special day for him. His grandson Kevin picked Grandpa up often to spend the day at the races and Grandpa would share his words of wisdom and life experiences. His sisters-in-law Julie and Stella were a constant in his life and they had many outings and Vegas trips together. Stephen developed a special bond with his “adopted ”son and grandson Ken and Joe Woodhouse and to this day the boys won’t share what actually happened in Vegas!
Over the past year Stephen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which broke his heart and spirit. Losing his driver’s licence and moving from their condo was a difficult challenge for him and the past year was filled with little joy for him, as the cruel disease took him to a dark place. But the husband, father and grandfather we knew and loved was always there hiding underneath. The last few months have been a trial for him indeed, being hospitalized three times and not being able to return to his new home Chartwell Terrace on the Square which he grew to love.
Many thanks to all the medical staff at Grand River Hospital, Freeport Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital. Your kindness and caring looking after Stephen during Covid-19 was over the top. The many phone calls and updates were so appreciated. Thank you to the kind staff at The Terrace on the Square, Clair Hills Assisted Living, and all the team at LHIN who worked so hard to find a safe place for Stephen to spend his last days, but it didn’t come to fruition. You are all amazing and deserve much credit.
Due to Covid-19 a celebration of life for family and friends will take place later in the year when we can unmask, hug and kiss and share our wonderful memories of a much loved husband, father and grandpa. Cremation has taken place and arrangements entrusted to Erb Good Funeral Home.
As an act of kindness donations to The Alzheimer’s Society of Waterloo Wellington or the St Mary’s Hospital Foundation would be appreciated by the family and may be arranged by contacting the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King St. S., Waterloo, at www.erbgood.com or 519-745-8445.
And as Daddy would always say “Kripes, let’s get this show on the road!” He is free at last of the Alzheimer shackles that cruelly bound him.