Jean was born in Winnipeg and grew up in the North End.  She was always proud of her Ukrainian heritage, and of her father Michael Lazeczko, an inventor, choral director and pioneering Ukrainian-Canadian pharmacist, her mother Mary, an accomplished amateur musician, and author sister, Maara Haas.

Predeceased by her husband Walter (1990) and son Craig (2018), she leaves behind her daughter Jill (Ken Cooley), daughter-in-law Robin, grandchildren Jennifer Zuroski (Mick), David and Fred (Lisa Taylor), great-grandkids Dexter and Weston, sister-in-law Theresa, and many treasured relatives and friends.

Jean graduated from Issac Newton High School, and then attended normal school to obtain her teaching certificate. Her life was spent mainly in Winnipeg, with stints in Vancouver and Montreal as she followed Wally on his various transfers within Air Canada.  Upon his retirement in 1978, they settled in Charleswood  but she continued to travel, standby and with a suitcase full of perogies, to visit family until just a few years ago.  She always loved the West Coast, and in 2017 she finally moved to Victoria to be closer to her daughter.

Jean was creative and artistic, and enjoyed playing the piano (and tap dancing!). She was good with numbers, and delighted in processing till tapes looking for overcharges.  She was so frugal that everything was re-purposed – used envelopes, Kleenex boxes, canned ham tins – and she was thrilled by coupons and “deals”. Jean wanted to be part of anything/everything that was happening. She had no fear, and often little patience. As a natural born teacher, she loved to find grammatical errors in newspapers and “solve” everyone’s problems. She used to joke that her headstone should read “I was only trying to help”.  Her family learned to dread the words “I’ve been thinking…”

Jean led a full and fun life, with a sense of adventure and an irrepressible spirit. Getting older hardly slowed her down.  As a senior she took swimming lessons and computer courses, and learned to dance on roller skates at the Winnipeg Roller Rink.  She was also a touch vain, and kept her hair coiffed and wore “what they’re wearing” until the very end.  Jean loved Elvis and Chopin, crosswords, bingo and scrabble, cats and the full Moon, Lucky Beer from the bottle, Chinese food and French fries, second hand stores, costume bling (especially earrings!) and animal print clothes. She DID NOT want to be remembered for her skill at making cabbage rolls and perogies — but she will be!

She touched many lives with her warmth, generosity and sense of humour. We will all miss her so much. Those who would like may wish to make a contribution to one of Jean’s charities. Jean supported so many, she left behind a 40-year supply of greeting cards and address labels. Her latest favourites were the SPCA and Operation Smile.

“See you later, alligator.  In a while, crocodile”

Condolences may be offered below.

McCall Gardens
www.mccallgardens.com

 

  • Bill Wright

    I just adored Jean. She was a joy to be around and her enthusiasm for life was infectious. It was always fun to visit her home for Sunday dinners and watch her buzz around the kitchen making sure everyone was satisfied. Quite often I would find letters in the mail containing newspaper clippings of a topic she knew I would be interested in. She was an example of the joy a person can squeeze out of life if you try to have the right attitude. She didn’t have to try too hard, it was just a part of her wonderful personality. We once took her to a movie in 3D and she was so cute in those big glasses you have to wear. Our last visit to her apartment in Victoria was spent reminiscing about her early life and I was glad to discover stories I had not heard. She loved to tell jokes and even though Jill would have to help her with the punch line, it was still funny.
    I could go on and on about this unique, Elvis loving lady. I just want to say how much my wife and I loved her.

  • Jane Allison

    Dear Jill and family

    I am sorry to hear of Jean’s passing. Although I only met her a few times in her later years I was very impressed by her energy and zest for life. She was an inspiration for sure. I glad she had some time here with you and your family.

  • cliff sobchuk

    I only saw you occasionally at Julius and Olga’s house, but I’ll always remember you. My wife Nancy remembered seeing you at Julius’s ceremony and was impressed with your joie de vivre.
    Our thoughts and prayers with your family.

  • Jerry Rippin/Sobchuk

    I only knew Jean as Jeannie. She would come over to my grandmas house, Olga Sobchuk for a visit. I was just a little pip squeak, And I was always enamored by her energy and presence she put out. I was happy that I got to see you one last time with my Parents Roy and Phyllis Sobchuk in Victoria.
    So blessed to have known you, and I am glad you had a amazing life. You always seemed happy.

    Take Care Jeannie!!!!

  • Richard Rougeau

    I will always remember Jean as a vibrant happy lady who enjoyed life so much. She was great friends with my sister Terry who missed her companionship when she went to B.C. and will even more so now. I have wonderful memories of Jean when we met on occasion in Winnipeg which I cherish.

    My condolences to Jill and the family

  • Susan Hatt

    Although I only knew Jean in her later years, I will always remember her. For me, the memory of her quick mind, kind heart and irrepressible spirit will serve as a guide to growing old without losing who you are.

    Rest in peace, lovely Jean.

  • Robin sinkwich

    I’m thinking of you all JILL,KEN.FRED AND LISA.
    I HAVE TO SAY THAT MY LIFE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE SAME HAD I NOT KNOWN HER AND I’M GRATEFUL FOR THAT. JEAN AND WALLY WELCOMED ME INTO THEIR FAMILY IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES AND THEY GAVE ME THEIR SUPPORT AND LOVE RIGHT FROM THE START.
    WE SHARED SOME REALLY GOOD TIMES AND SOME HARDSHIPS TOO, ALONG THE WAY AS WELL, BUT I COULD ALWAYS COUNT ON HER TO BE THERE AND SHE WAS.
    THERE IS A BIG HOLE IN MY HEART NOW AND I WILL MISS HER.

  • Jackie Bauer

    Hi Jill – If I had your address, I cannot find it 🙁 I was so happy that Teresa told me about Aunty Jean’s write up! Everything you wrote brought back such wonderful memories for me. Shed some tears, had a few smiles and a laugh or two out loud. John and I and Jenn and Johnny have so many fond memories of your Mom. A lot of times, the only thing that helped me get thru some of Nina’s Christmas’ was looking forward to seeing Aunty Jean and Aunty Terry. lol As you know, Nina could be a bit bossy, especially around Xmas 🙂 Anyway, we were all very sorry to hear the sad news about your Mom, who was one very special lady. Our most heartfelt condolences to you all. Take care. Love Jackie, John, Jenn and Johnny xoxo

  • Mick Zuroski

    You were one of a kind granny and our lives would never have been what they are without you. Your joy of life and your good humour will continue to inspire us and bring a smile all of our days…”See you later, alligator”

  • Kara Woodward

    Dear Jill and family

    I am sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. I enjoyed reading about her colourful life and personality. She seems to have passed on some of her interests to you – music and tap dancing. Treasure the memories in this difficult time. Thinking of you

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