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Jan Gregalis was born in a small town on the outskirts of Warsaw on March 28, 1921.  When he was around 20 year old, he then joined Anders Army (known later as the Polish II Corps). Jan fought in the battle of Monte Casino and was wounded, losing sight in one of his eyes.

Later, he came to Canada to work on a farm in Newmarket and then took a job working on an assembly line at De Havilland, an aircraft manufacturer.

Jan was a boy scout in Poland, so when the Polish Scouts started to develop a centre in Kaszuby in 1950, he helped build the chapel. He was also one of the founding members of SPK in Toronto (Polish Combatants Association which is an international association of Polish ex-servicemen and women).

Jan met his future wife Janina Fedorowicz in Toronto. The two loved visiting Kaszuby as it reminded them of Poland. The couple purchased a waterfront lot on Kamaniskeg Lake, where they built their cottage.

After 30 years working at De Havilland, he retired and they spent summers at the cottage and winters in Toronto.

Executor of his estate and Jan’s nephew’s wife, Anna Sotnicki, said it was important to Jan and Janina that they supported St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

“Jan once spent time at St. Francis Hospital recovering from a heart attack and was grateful for the wonderful care he received,” Anna said. “There were also quick trips to the ER for the inevitable injuries sustained while working around the cottage. The hospital provided the care they needed and they were grateful for it.

Janina passed in 2018, followed by Jan on Nov. 8, 2020. Their final resting place is at St. Mary’s in Wilno. Jan and Janina’s generous gift will help ensure the future of local healthcare for generations to come.

Jan Gregalis
Jan Gregalis