Brother Oldřich Mařík Passed Away

10 2006 Ostatní English
obálka čísla

Tatinek was born on the 27th of February 1922, in a magnificent town called Kdyne, in what was then Czechoslovakia. He was the sixth child and fourth son born to Marie and Jan Marik.

His happiest memories of growing up were when he was running free through the many forests surrounding Kdyne. He loved all animals but he especially loved all forms of birdlife and was able to identify every species. As the family owned farming lands, Tatinek spent time tending the cattle and working in the fields. His other great pleasures in life were playing and following Football (Soccer) and riding his push bike to various parts of his homeland. On one such cycling venture he came through a small village called Cekov, where he met and for some time walked with and chatted to a beautiful young sixteen year old girl. She proceeded on home and he cycled on to Prague.

Tatinek completed his trade apprenticeship as a Fitter and Turner and, as conscription was compulsory he spent two years in the Czech Army. His career progression was put on hold at this point with the advent of World War Two. During this War, Tatinek was involved with facilitating the successful escape of a number of American escaped prisoners of war. For this he was awarded commendations from both Generals Patton and Eisenhower.

Mamina and Tatinek met at a Fireman´s Ball in a town where Mamina was teaching and Tatinek was undertaking his initial training for the Police Force. During their courtship they established that three years previously they had met when Mamina was on her way home and Tatinek was cycling to Prague.

After they married, Tatinek was posted to the border town of Tachov during which time on the 27th of August 1948 I was born.

By then the Communists has taken power in Czechoslovakia and once again Tatinek was involved with helping those in need, this time he facilitated the escape of political prisoners into Germany - an operation which involved working with the American Occupying Forces. This activity however, was to be his undoing, as one day in March of 1949, when at work washing cars, he received an anonymous phone call that Communist Party Officials were coming to arrest him. He came home, hurriedly explained what he dared to/ to Mamina - he was ever mindful that Mamina should know as little as possible about his covert activities. He bade Mamina goodbye with the promise of a reunion as soon as possible, came to my cot and made a sign of the cross on my forehead and, in his car washing clothes complete with gumboots and carrying a small bag of food he escaped on foot across the border into Germany, where he was taken under the protection of the Americans. Three months after his escape, Tatinek arranged for Mamina and I to be assisted to also escape into Germany.

Several months later the three of us came to Australia and landed in Sydney on the 15th of January 1950. Tatinek believed that Australia was the best country to which to emigrate as it was the furthest from Europe. Initially we were housed in a Migrant Hostel in Bathurst; some time later the women and children were sent to another Migrant Hostel in Parkes and the men were sent to work in Sydney. The train fare to Parkes was relatively expensive and so Tatinek was only ever able to visit on rare occasions.

Tatinek was adamant that the three of us were to be together and after about six months he found a flat in Palm Beach and finally we were a family again.

Both of my parents worked incredibly hard at all types of work, Tatinek often working two jobs, and over a relatively short time they saved enough to buy a block of land here in Mona Vale. Initially they built and we lived in a humble one room dwelling, Mamina and Tatinek continued to work hard and saved sufficient to start to build the family home. While the three of us were relatively cosy in the one room, the impetus to move into the family home came, when, on the 31st of December 1956 my beautiful little sister Anna (Kote) was born.

Tatinek´s entire life and indeed his life´s work was totally dedicated to his family. He was a wonderful provider and nothing was ever a burden if it was for the sake of his family.

Some of my happiest memories were going on the job with Tatinek (Occupational Health & Safety had not been invented at that time); it was there that he taught me to respect whatever work anyone did and also to do whatever I did to the very best of my ability. Near enough was never good enough!

I also remember when, during my nursing training at St Vincent´s Hospital if ever I rang late at night that I was homesick, he would come and pick me up and then without a word of complaint would drive me back into the city at some unholy hour in the morning, because you could be rest assured that I was on the early shift!

When my sister met and married her wonderful husband, Kurt, Tatinek had already established his own plumbing business and Kurt decided that his initial career as a Pathology Technician needed a change and decided to learn and work in the plumbing business under the guidance and tutorship of Tatinek. Olda or John Marik was a highly respected tradesman and businessman, those of you here today who have worked with Tatinek will attest to that I am sure! He had a strong work ethic in which quality and honesty were paramount.

From 1958 Tatinek was an active and indeed a staunch member of the Czech Gymnastic Association, SOKOL SYDNEY. He was the Club´s Director for over 20 years, and as Director he had the honour of carrying this Banner at all official functions. Tatinek was relentless in his lobbying of the then Local Member, William Charles Wentworth, to procure the land for the building of the current SOKOL SYDNEY Club facility. I know that Mr George Jelinek will speak of Tatinek´s involvement in SOKOL SYDNEY.

When I speak of passions and Tatinek, there were however, no greater passions in his life than his two beautiful granddaughters, Anna & Kurt´s daughters, Gabrielle and Adele, or as he referred to them - Moje Zlaticka. From the very moment they were born they had their Deda wrapped around their little fingers! He would be at their beck and call whenever and wherever they needed him.

Although Tatinek was fiercely proud to be an Australian, in his heart he always held a very special place for his beloved homeland, Czechoslovakia - today the Czech Republic. He always regretted that he never ever saw his mother again after his escape, however after the 1988 Velvet Revolution, he was able to return to the Czech Republic on two occasions where he once again was able to meet up with his relatives and friends.

Four and a half years ago Tatinek sustained what we later discovered to be, his third stroke, but this time a very severe stroke. Although this stroke left him paralysed down his right side, Mamina and Anna took him home and cared for him. My sister Anna has lovingly cared for Tatinek for those four and a half years, so much so that today there is not one mark on him to suggest that he had been totally bed ridden. Mamina and Kurt also achieved the remarkable to ensure that Tatinek´s life was happy to his dying day last Sunday. Some might suggest that he had no quality of life - but I would strongly argue against that - he knew he had a loving family around him and he loved nothing more than when his beloved granddaughters would bound into his room with their familiar, "Ahoj Dedo!"

From his daughter´s last message Liduska Stevens-Marik)

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