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Walter B. Mazgaj

Walter “Walt” Bruno Mazgaj, age 96, of Avon Lake, Ohio passed away in the early hours of Monday February 15, 2021 at the Cleveland Clinic in Avon, Ohio.

Born on June 4, 1924 in Lorain, Ohio to Paul and Frances (nee Warchol), he attended St. Stanislaus School and was a graduate of Lorain High School 1943B. Upon graduation he immediately enlisted in the Navy.

Walt completed basic and advanced training becoming a second-class petty officer in the 125th Construction Battalion also known as the legendary Sea Bees with the “Can Do” Motto.  Walt was sent to the Asian Pacific Theater where he was with the Sea Bees on Oahu and Okinawa from 1943 to 1945.  While in Okinawa he and his battalion members went ahead of invasion forces where they designed and built bridges and airstrips to facilitate the invasion while following the marines ahead of the army. For his efforts in the midst of enemy troops, Walt was awarded a Battalion Star for combat action.

He completed his military duties in 1945 and headed back to Lorain. He enrolled in FENN College of Engineering (now Cleveland State) and graduated in 1950 summa cum laud with a baccalaureate degree in metallurgical engineering. He became a registered professional engineer in 1956.  He spent his working career at American Crucible Products Company from 1951 through 1987. He started as an assistant metallurgist, chief metallurgist rising to vice president and operating officer of foundry operations.  He was a member of the American Foundry Society serving on numerous technical and administrative committees. In 1965 while working in concert with other companies and NASA, Walt completed a redesign of the bearing sleeve of the space crawler used to transport Apollo rockets from the assembly facility to the launch pad. He redesigned the alloy used in the sleeve to withstand the crush weight of the rockets.

Walt was a member of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Lorain and a life time member of the Knights of Columbus.

He lived in Lorain from birth until August, 2018 when he became a resident of Independence Village in Avon Lake.  He married his high school sweetheart, Florence Krycz and was with her until her passing in June of 1985.  Walt found the next love of his life, Mildred Domjancic and they were married in April of 1986. They enjoyed time at St. Anthony’s serving as Eucharistic ministers.  In retirement Walt and Millie could be found at every local polka venue where they danced the nights away.

Surviving is his wife Mildred; children, Chrys Hatem, Cathy (Brian) Cosens, Jan (Debbie) Mazgaj; step-daughters, Debbie Majer and June Bahn; grandchildren, Amy Hill, Nicholas, Zachary (Molly) and Michael Mazgaj; and great grandchildren, Autumn, Lilly and Cora Hill, Hannah, Zoey and Maisie Mazgaj.

He was preceded in death by both of his parents; brothers, Frank and John; and a granddaughter, Kara Mazgaj.

There will be a private internment. A celebration of Walt’s life will be determined at a later date. Memorials in Walter’s honor can be sent to St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 1305 E. Erie Avenue, Lorain, Ohio 44052. Dovin Funeral & Cremation Specialists handled the arrangements. 

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Mazgaj, please visit our flower store.


Transcendence by Michael Mazgaj

Gazing upon life, what is it that we feel the most? Ire, sorrow, exuberance, or possibly indifference? These emotions are one of temporary existence that drive actions and perspectives. Yet, thats the constraint of life; transience. Further introspection into our existence; past, present, and future, leaves us with seemly a chaotic dance of events where the currency of time is a focal point. However, within the chaos we find beauty. Our own meanings of life and the emotions we chose to embrace bring order to the chaos, ultimately defining a pathway of clarity within this interim reality. Thats one definition of life; a pathway of our own decisions and perspectives. This trail is often difficult to understand as most quickly standardize what that trail should be based on others. Rather than the commonalities of our trails connecting us, its the unique parts of others journeys that teach Yet, only if we are willing to listen.

Ultimately, this is the treasure indirectly bestowed by Walter Mazgaj. The family he helped create induced a momentum that transcends the momentary life he held. Not difficult to grasp, his decisions and perspectives pay homage to humanism and our own character. Often said, we are a mere reflection of our parents and by those we surround ourselves with. Present in my Aunt Cathy, Aunt Chris, and my Father Jan, the ability to listen while emphasizing the goodness of humans is apparent. Difficult in this new era of retailed information, their abilities of empathy diminish the fog surrounding ours as well as others life paths. This listening leads to empathy, where heeding anothers journey teach us more about ourselves and connection.

Inundated with overwhelming emotion, this treasure of listening isnt solely for empathy. Rather, to all aspects of life. Gifting me attentiveness has navigated my exploration of ideas, emotions, failures, successes and discoveries. Titled Transcendence, this tribute is meant to exemplify how this Mazgaj family has talent to transcend the noise of life, to hone and focus on people above anything else. Temporary as life is, the beauty I find in life is from the connection to others. Hearing a journey, building upon myself, listening to my emotions, and prioritizing people has led to a blissful existence. Humbly, this has mitigated me from the dark ire, negativity, and tribalistic quagmire that seemingly infects contemporary minds. Maybe unaware in his time, Walter Mazgaj aided in defining this attribute of listening and its outcomes as love. A love that transcends time, as it shines through his children, and the lives they touch and created.

My gratitude and love for my grandfather is boundless, because its the same love my father gifts myself. His love and ability to listen shines through the lives that crossed his path, gifting our family to choose humility while empowering the significance of others. The same love my mom and brothers exemplify. The same love that my brother Zachary and Cousin Amy display for their girls. The same love we see in families he helped to put into motion.

A love that transcends time.

Michael Mazgaj Feb 26 2021 12:00 AM

I remember...
bright red geraniums in tire planters,
popsicle summers on Sterling Road,
campfires underneath the stars,
hibachi marshmallows &
lawn-chairs that could fold into triangles.

I remember...
detective shows with brown paper bags
filled halfway with popcorn,
sitting on your concrete floor,
the coolest spot in the house,
& catching fireflies in glass jars.

I remember...
how the chairs at your dinner table
reminded me of a pirates ship.
They would twist & twirl,
and I always pinched my fingers at Sunday meals.

I remember...
the smell of the water from your garden hose,
your bouncy, flawless, green lawn,
and the carpet border of inpatients
along the white house with black shutters.

I remember ...
your garden,
the soil rich with grease from the kitchen,
the huge railroad ties and a dirt bed
that grew the best damn tomatoes,
bell peppers & cucumbers in Lorain County.

I remember...
sit ups and push-ups every morning,
your sweaty, stinky clothes,
the bike you would ride miles to nowhere
in the attic every morning at 5am.

I remember...
the big basket at Lakeview Park,
smiling for the camera every Easter
whether I wanted to or not-
when I just wanted to stare
at the fancy egg from Faroh's
in my Easter basket.

I remember ...
walking the tracks with my Dad,
you watching baseball, both usually after
a big turkey luncheon with buttered pierogis,
pickled beet relish, and salad with radishes.

I remember...
polka lessons in the living room,
the cassette player that played the mighty tunes,
your hand taking mine,
Your voice would say, "one, two, three, one, two, three,"
your feet would move in unison,
while mine stumbled to keep up.

I remember...
playing Barbies in church pews at St. Anthony's,
getting my cheeks pinched from lady strangers,
the Father would smile,
always making a thankful word to You
for your devotion to the church.

I remember...
that beetle in Grandma Flo's hair,
listening to you talk in Polish
on the ride home from mass
so I wouldn't understand
your grownup thoughts.

I can hear you saying my name,
I would tell you
"I loved you"
and you would say softly,
"Ok" and then handed me a $20.

I will remember that...
You taught me kindness.
You taught me patience.
You taught me to speak gently & to forgive.

I will always
remember you,
Grandpa Walt

Peace be with you,

Amy Hill Feb 26 2021 12:00 AM

Dear Jan,
My heart understands and shares in your sorrow with the death of your father. He was a good man, a strong man, a wise man. He lived his life well. He was a man of faith. He was sincere. He enjoyed laughter, his family and accepted all that life offered - joy, sorrow, loss and gain. He gave himself to family, work and to service. He "fought the good fight". He kept the faith - and now there is a place promised. Jesus says, " I go to prepare a place for you , and if I go, I will come --if this were not so, I would have told you - If I go I will come again and take you to be with me." And now there is a place prepared for Walt - a place for him - rest, rejoice - he is home. My prayers, my mind's thoughts will attend you and your family through these days ahead. Lovingly, Grace (the retired Reverend Grace Lawrence Shirk)

Grace Lawarence Shirk Feb 21 2021 12:00 AM

A Solemn Peace by Nick Mazgaj

The sun will always rise in the East and set in the West.
Subjects to Natures Law when our eyes will open but eventually come to a final rest.
Through these years many days will past,
Moments fleeting longer than they last.
The bread we break, the friends we make
Neither for granted should we take.

Only through this journey of time
Do we reflect on the special time thats yours and mine.
Ours to do, to conquer, but more importantly to behold.
To enjoy the road not taken as it will unfold.
Through this time we will endure pain and tears,
The moments we get through over a round of beers.
Friends we make, family we lose
Never a time do we choose.

The solemn peace ll have desired
May come only after a long life thats transpired.
To no longer be caught up in the race
If asking, Where am I going? What is my place?
All the challenges of the world to face.

With this peace that is sought,
Our own mortality must be a thought.
One that is met with fear in youth
Only embraced later as its our own truth.

This fear is not to be viewed negatively on
But the blessed unknown journey we get to look upon.
As we leave this world, and our eyes come to a close,
May our peace come with all the inspiration and love that arose.

Nick Mazgaj Feb 18 2021 12:00 AM