Janos Janicek – 17 September 1929 to 25 October 2014
Our condolences go to Ilonka Janicek on the loss of her loving husband of 68 years, Janos Janicek, and to the families of Margaret Ciric and Ethel Stoyko on the loss of their uncle and to the family of Frank and Kati Sabo on the loss of their brother-in-law.
Janos Janicek (known to many as John) was born September 17, 1929 in Bač, now Serbia, formerly Hungary, to Janos and Marija Janicek, who were farmers. The youngest of 4 children, Janos had 2 older sisters (Cathy and Julie) and a brother (Frank). Although Janos completed only 4 years of schooling, he enjoyed learning and going to school, and always arrived earlier than the teachers. In 1940 Janos began working for a cabinet maker, and spent two years learning that trade. However, his parents wanted his help on the farm, so he returned to farming, where he continued working for approximately the next 15 years.
Having met his future wife at school, Janos married his childhood sweetheart, Ilonka Sabo, on July 12, 1946 at the young age of 16 years, just 2 months short of his seventeenth birthday. Three years later in 1949, he was enlisted in the army to complete compulsory military service, which had him travelling away from home, and all over Serbia. After returning home in 1951, Janos continued working on the farm with his parents, since work could not be found, especially because he did not want to join the Communist Party.
For this reason, Ilonka persuaded Janos to leave Yugoslavia, and on October 13, 1957 together with a relative who had made 2 previous attempts to cross the border, they secretly escaped to Trieste, in Italy, with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Here Janos and Ilonka spent 22 months in a refugee camp and hoped to immigrate to New Zealand. However, God had other plans, and after passing medical and physical examinations, they were chosen to go to Australia.
In April 1959, they boarded the ship “Fairsea” at Napoli, and arrived in Melbourne four weeks later, May 10, 1959. From Melbourne they were put on a train and sent to Bonegilla, a migrant camp where they spent one month. The government found a job for Janos at a steel factory in Wollongong, but he only spent 2 weeks there before moving to Sydney and obtaining a position at General Motors, doing spot checks for quality control at the Holden production factory. After approximately 4 or 5 years at Holden, Janos left to pursue his former trade of cabinet making, and found work at St Peters with a kitchen company, where he worked until his retirement.
In 1960, Janos and Ilonka bought their first house at Summer Hill. It was here that they met the Risko family, Vasa and Kaja, at the shops, and speaking the same language they became acquainted and made friends. They were soon introduced to the Stoyko family and other believers. It was not long before they became interested in the Advent message, and were baptised in 1962 by Brother Lavrik. Janos found enjoyment in reading the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy books written by Ellen G White, and Psalm 100 became a special favourite of his. With his love of music, Janos liked to sing and was heard singing a hymn in hospital during his last illness.
In 1966 Janos and Ilonka moved to Greenacre, and it was here that they welcomed Ilonka’s brother Frank and his family to Australia in 1970. With no other relatives in Australia, the two families were quite close, and spent a lot of time together; Janos and Ilonka especially enjoyed having the company of their nieces, Margaret and Ethel.
Always active socially, Janos and Ilonka were very hospitable, and regularly joined church gatherings where they made many lifelong friends. They welcomed the company of young people, and so it happened that several young men newly arriving in Australia stayed in their home until they found work and places of their own. One of these was Milan Jonjin, at whose wedding Janos and Ilonka had the privilege of standing in as parents of the groom for the first time. Weddings were a wonderful occasion enjoyed by both Janos and Ilonka, and Janos happily assisted at many, either as a witness, or helping in the kitchen with the catering. With his sense of humour, Janos enjoyed having a joke, and at one wedding, he wrapped his arm up to appear bandaged, and circulated among the guests begging for money, which was collected as a gift to the newlyweds.
Gardening was a favourite hobby for Janos, who found a lot of pleasure in growing both vegetables and flowers, of which orchids and roses were great favourites. Janos loved his pets, which included chickens and two Chihuahua dogs, Zachy and Lily. Having bought his first Holden in 1960, Janos continued that tradition, and while he was able to drive always drove a Holden. It was a sad disappointment to him to sell his sixth and last Holden early this year, which he had owned for over 30 years.
While in recent years Janos preferred staying in the comfort of his own home, he enjoyed vacations in Harvey Bay, Brisbane, and Melbourne. He also travelled back to Yugoslavia on two occasions, first in 1973, and then again in 1979.
In 1996 Janos and Ilonka moved again, this time to a new home in Glen Alpine, near Campbelltown. Here they continued to work as a team, sharing the work load. Janos was helpful around the home, whether it was doing laundry, cleaning, washing dishes or even cooking. Back in Yugoslavia when his wife was ill and in bed, they could smell pumpkin strudel baking next door but Janos was too proud to go and ask the neighbour for some; instead he successfully made it himself. He took pride in his work, and even today some of the furniture he made many years ago in his cabinetmaking days has been passed down in the family and is still in use, solid as the day it was made.
Following heart surgery for a bypass operation in 1999, Janos suffered a stroke, but thankfully made a fairly good recovery. Age slowly crept up on him, and as he became less able to do manual work, maintaining the house and property became too much for Janos and Ilonka. So the decision was made to move to the Adventist retirement village at Kings Langley, where they purchased a unit in January this year.
Unfortunately due to poor circulation and diabetes, in September Janos suffered a toe infection which resulted in hospitalisation for removal of a small part of his little toe. The surgery went smoothly, and he should have been released in 2 or 3 days, but unforeseen complications arose and sadly Janos passed away 5 weeks later on Sabbath morning, October 25. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 68 years, Ilonka, as a brother-in-law to Frank and Kata, uncle to Margaret and Ethel, great uncle to five nieces and one nephew, and great-great uncle to 2 nieces and 6 nephews.
As a believer in the soon coming of Jesus, he now sleeps peacefully waiting for the glorious day of resurrection, when there will be no more parting, only a joyful reunion for eternity.