Jean Farr

Spits goalie does meet and greet with Memorial Cup at Seasons

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Residents at Seasons Amherstburg got a chance to meet a local hockey player who has done well for himself in recent months as well as the prestigious trophy his team won.

Amherstburg native and Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to the retirement community last Wednesday night where residents and staff spent one hour asking him questions, getting his autograph and taking pictures with him.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to Seasons Amherstburg last Wednesday night. He stands with his aunt June Ackley and grandmother Betty DeLuca.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to Seasons Amherstburg last Wednesday night. He stands with his aunt June Ackley and grandmother Betty DeLuca.

Telling the residents that “I grew up five minutes from here,” the 18-year-old DiPietro noted he has been busy this summer with part of his agenda being to do appearances like the one at Seasons. He is also busy getting ready for the 2017-18 hockey season, as he works out five times per week and is skating four times per week.

The Memorial Cup champion’s summer also includes a trip to Plymouth, Michigan as part of his bid to make the Canadian World Junior hockey team. The 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase runs July 28-Aug. 5 with 12 international competitions between Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

“Hopefully, I’ll be in Buffalo on Boxing Day,” he said, as that is the day the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships start.

DiPietro was drafted in the third round of the NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks last month and heads for the west coast in September for a “Young Stars” tournament and training camp.

“It’s definitely a quick summer for me,” he said.

Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro has his photo taken with 100-year-old Jean Farr during his visit July 26.

Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro has his photo taken with 100-year-old Jean Farr during his visit July 26.

Responding to a question from a member of the audience, DiPietro said he has a good relationship with new Spitfires head coach Trevor Letowski.

“We have a happy medium,” said DiPietro.

One of the residents getting a signed poster was former mayor Bill Gibb, who now resides at Seasons.

“Just having (DiPietro) in Amherstburg is a big event,” said Gibb. “I’ve been a hockey fan all of my life. When you meet one of the greats, it’s a pleasure.”

Gibb said hockey players work hard as it’s not an easy sport to play.

Amherstburg resident Michael DiPietro shares a laugh with Doug Ramsey during DiPietro's visit to Seasons Amherstburg July 26. DiPietro is the goalie for the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

Amherstburg resident Michael DiPietro shares a laugh with Doug Ramsey during DiPietro’s visit to Seasons Amherstburg July 26. DiPietro is the goalie for the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

“Having him show up here was a nice thing,” said Gibb.

Jean Farr was also happy to meet DiPietro, recalling the days when she lived in London with husband Bernard and they would travel to Toronto to see games.

“My husband and I loved hockey,” she said. “We would go anywhere to see hockey. That was my husband’s sport.”

Members of DiPietro’s family were also there for the occasion.

“I’ve known this kid from day one,” said June Ackley, DiPietro’s aunt. “I’ve got a picture of him when he’s about three years old.”

Betty DeLuca, DiPietro’s grandmother, sat in the front row in Seasons’ theatre room in her Spitfires’ sweatshirt watching her grandson sign autographs.

“It’s hard to believe he’s done so well,” she said, adding she was very proud of her grandson.

Local residents celebrate a century of living

 

By Jonathan Martin

In the early morning of April 9, 1917, 150,000 Canadian soldiers poured out of their trenches and shell holes into the snow-swept wasteland surrounding Vimy Ridge.

It was the first wave of what would become Canada’s most celebrated military achievement. It was also the day Herman Glonek was born in Poland, which, at the time, was split between German and Russian control.

The assault lasted four days. By the late afternoon of April 12, the four Canadian divisions making the advance had captured their objectives and pushed German forces back five kilometers. As if in celebration, Jean Farr entered the world in St. Thomas, Ontario that same day.

Ninety-nine years, 364 days later, on April 11, 2017, Glonek and Farr sat at a table together in Amherstburg. Both are living at Seasons Retirement Community. Though their home countries were at war when they were born, today they are friends, and hugged each other in mutual celebration. After all, a century of life is no small feat.

Some of the staff of Seasons Retirement Community surround Jean Farr (front, left) and Herman Glonek (front, right) as they celebrate their birthdays at Seasons in Amherstburg last Tuesday morning.  Glonek turned 100 April 9 and Farr turned 100 April 12.

Some of the staff of Seasons Retirement Community surround Jean Farr (front, left) and Herman Glonek (front, right) as they celebrate their birthdays at Seasons in Amherstburg last Tuesday morning. Glonek turned 100 April 9 and Farr turned 100 April 12. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

“My life was hard,” Glonek said in his sharply-accented English. “I struggled so.”

At 21, he joined the Polish army and soon found himself fighting against two of the era’s most influential military forces: Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The invaders swept across Glonek’s home and swallowed the country whole in just over a month.

Along with millions of other Poles, Glonek was captured and taken to a forced-labour camp. He spent the rest of World War Two starved and struggling on a German farm.

“I have such stories from that time,” he said. “I often tell myself I will write a book.”

Following Poland’s liberation in 1945, Glanek bought his way into Canada.

“I hated the (second world) war,” said Farr. She was living in St. Thomas while Glonek was making his way to Canada. She remembers welcoming some veterans home and noting the stinging absence of others.

“I hope there’s never another one,” she added. “But who’s to know?”

Jean Farr stands behind her 100th birthday cake at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday.  Farr is the third person to celebrate a 100th birthday at Seasons as of April 12.  The first was Marie White, who turned 100 last year.

Jean Farr stands behind her 100th birthday cake at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday. Farr is the third person to celebrate a 100th birthday at Seasons as of April 12. The first was Marie White, who turned 100 last year. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Farr moved around a little during her century of life, but always stayed in Ontario. She finally found her way into Essex County following the death of her husband, when she moved into Harrow with her niece. From Harrow, she made the jump into retirement living at Seasons.

“I have no words for these people who take care of me,” said Glonek, referring to the Seasons staff. “I give thanks to God that I am here.”

For Glonek, getting to where he is took some doing. The Polish native said he entered Canada with a contract. He would work on a farm near Montréal for one year. After that, he would be on his own. When the contract ended, he moved to Windsor.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (right)  presents Herman Glonek with a framed certificate at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday.  The certificate reads, in part, "Congratulations & Best Wishes on the Occasion of Your 100th Birthday." (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (right)
presents Herman Glonek with a framed certificate at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday. The certificate reads, in part, “Congratulations & Best Wishes on the Occasion of Your 100th Birthday.” (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Decades later, the two centenarians found themselves being handed a piece of cake with a large, blue “100” printed on its top after being addressed by Amherstburg deputy mayor Bart DiPasquale and Amherstburg chief of police Tim Berthiaume.

DiPasquale spoke to both Farr and Glonek individually before presenting each with a certificate declaring that the “Council of the Corporation of the Town of Amherstburg votes to extend Birthday Wishes” to them.

Berthiaume presented each with a commemorative coin, on which the town’s police logo is emblazoned.

“You get one every hundred years,” Berthiaume told them. “I guess you better start clearing space.”

Farr and Glonek laughed, then exchanged a look.

 

For more photos from that day, visit our Facebook album.