It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of James Edward Sawka. He passed away peacefully in his sleep the morning of Monday, March 15, 2021 at the age of 78 years at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre.
He was born at the Preeceville Hospital on September 25, 1942 to Mike and Lena Sawka, a little brother to Hazel and Ernie. Jay attended Preeceville School until Grade 11 and then began his lifetime career of farming with his dad and brother.
In 1968 he became employed with Preeceville Implements as a mechanic. Jay then became a part of the legacy of John Deere for 33 years, retiring in 2001 at the age of 59. Jay continued his love of farming when he married Zoria Stefanovich and purchased the family farm in 1968. They were married on June 8 of the same year and had their firstborn child Kevin the following April. Their daughter Tracy followed in the fall of 1971. Jay and Zoria operated a mixed family farm consisting of grain and 150 head of cattle. They also had horses, pigs, turkeys, ducks, sheep and their beloved chickens. This business still continues to thrive! Jay and Kevin together also farmed several quarters of rented land alongside the two already owned quarters. Jay will always be remembered for running, as he never walked, a trait he inherited from his father. This strong work ethic is a highly recognized characteristic that can be seen in his children and grandchildren. His day started at 5 am with a hot lemon drink and ended in the wee hours of the morning. Zoria will always treasure preparing and taking lunches out to the field in a cardboard box full of sandwiches, a jar of tea, pie, Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies and Goodie Rings. There was always a dog either on the back of the truck, beside him on the seat or running behind his vehicle. The love for his pets always helped him through the stresses of the day.
Jay met Zoria at a John Deere Christmas Party while she was in Grade 11. They went together for five years before they wed on June 8, 1968.
The love of Jay’s life were his two grandchildren, Tracy and Wayne’s boys - Catlin and Austin. Jay taught them numerous life lessons and skills which they carry on and acknowledge in their daily lives. They both have the upmost respect and appreciation for everything he has taught them. They enjoyed hunting, fishing, farming, playing cards and having heart to heart talks. Grampie taught them from a very young age the love of farming – everything from operating, maintaining and repairing farm equipment to harvesting crops, delivering, branding and tagging newborn calves. His compassion radiated to everyone he met through his warm contagious smile and heart of gold. You always walked away feeling loved and appreciated by his selfness demeanor.
The cabin at the lake was his retreat. He loved to sit on the deck in his favorite chair, watching the sunset and listening to the loons. He enjoyed boat rides with Kevin, Wayne and the grandkids and also loved watching them all swim. He is remembered when Kevin and Tracy were young, as always the one untangling lines and never getting a chance to fish!
Jay, Zoria and Kevin loved their daily rides in the van. Whether it was driving to Yorkton for groceries, cruising the grid roads checking crops or picking up Tracy after work to go for ice cream will always be treasured and remembered. Jay was so proud of his children and grandchildren. He highly valued Kevin’s caregiving over the recent years after his heart surgery and Tracy’s administrative knowledge and help with government forms.
Jay is survived by his wife Zoria, son Kevin, daughter Tracy (Wayne), grandchildren Catlin (Beth) and Austin, sister Hazel of Calgary, AB, sister-in-law Pauline Sawka, sister-in-law Sylvia (Jim) of Regina, SK, sister-in-law Brenda (Bob) of Regina, SK, brother-in-law Lyle (Josie) of Wadena, SK, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He is predeceased by his parents Mike and Lena Sawka, brother Ernie and brother-in-law Martin.
Memorial donations in Memory of Jay may be made to Preeceville Home Care for Palliative Care as gifts of remembrance.
Arrangement have been entrusted to Preeceville Funeral Home.