Gregory Alan Sikorski
Glouster,Ohio
11/9/1947-8/15/2017

   Gregory Alan Sikorski left his family and friends on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017.  He was born November 9th, 1947, the eighth of thirteen children born to Joseph and Josephine Covella Sikorski.  He graduated from Glouster High School in 1965 and Ohio University in 1971.

   He is survived by his siblings: Bob Sikorski, Patricia Hartman, Ron Sikorski, John (Lyla) Sikorski, Rose (Bob) Lieb, Jean (Jim) Bickley, Vicki (Jeff) Ross, Den (Thelma Sycks) Sikorski, Ralph Sikorski, Mark Sikorski and Tim (Sherry) SIkorski, sister-in-law Pat Sikorski, many nieces, nephews and cousins,  good friends at the Glouster Eagles Euchre and his best friend since school, Denny Cunningham.

   He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Joseph Sikorski, Jr., nieces and nephews: Stephanie Sikorski, Susan Ross, Bobbie Hartman, Jeannie Bickley, Jimmie Bickley and Matthew Lieb.

   How do we begin to tell so little about a great man who knew and experienced so much in such a short lifetime.
We were a very poor family of 13.  Our parents made sure we all graduated from high school.  Most of us knew college was not in our future.  Greg thought differently.  He thought an education was very important and he was determined to go to college.  Our father told him there would be no financial help from him.  Greg said that was not a problem.  He said he would walk to Athens if he had to and he would work his way through.  He "thumbed" every morning.  There were many people here that worked in Athens and would sometimes give him a ride.  Because of that he never passed up a hitchhiker.  An education was the most important thing to him.  He attended Ohio University for 2 years and then was drafted into the Army.  He served his country here and was in Vietnam for 1 year.  When he returned home he finished his education with a degree in English at Ohio University.  He taught 1 year at the prison in Lucasville and 8th grade for 1 year at North Canton Hoover School.  Some of the students from North Canton have visited him, one as recently as last weekend.
  
   He heard that the Peace Corps needed volunteers.  He felt that he was needed somewhere else in the world so he decided to go to Tunisia, in Northern Africa.  He did this for 2 years.  It was a decision that he never regretted.  He was in a small village called Bou Salem.  It was a very poor village, which reminded him of his home in Glouster.  He taught English to them and from them he learned many dialects of fluent Arabic.  Even the people from countries that spoke Arabic could not believe that he was not one of them.  In one of the homes there, he had his own bedroom waiting for him any time that he chose to return.  He has as many friends and family there as here.  He had a friend that was a father figure for him while he was in Bou Salem who died in a hit and run accident.  For years he had money sent to this man's family.  He took care of all of them until they were able to take care of themselves.  He gave money to have a store built in Bou Salem as the town was so poor that they had none.  There is a young man named Hamsa, whose father died, and he had to leave school to work and support his family.  When Greg heard of this, he went to Hamsa's mother and told her that Hamsa was to return to school.  She told Greg that they could not afford to send him to school.  Greg paid for him to finish school and the university because Hamsa's dream was to become a film director.  He has since graduated from the university and become a successful film director.  His documentaries have won a film festival and one made it to the Chicago Film Festival.  Hamsa could not be there to represent his film in Chicago so he asked Greg to be there to interpret for one of the subjects of the film, Khayri, who spoke no English.  

   After Tunisia, because of the fluent Arabic that he had learned, he taught in many places in Saudi Arabia for American companies at Saudi military hospitals and bases.  He also worked for a large construction company owned by Prince Bandar, who became one of Greg's many good friends while he lived there for the next 12 years.

   He then traveled to Kobe, Japan, to teach English at a branch of Edmonds Community College of Seattle, Washington.  He traveled there not knowing one word of Japanese and left there fluently speaking the language.  He was there during the terrible earthquake in 1995 which killed thousands of people and damaged the college physically and mentally.  Greg was asleep in bed on the second floor of his apartment building and when he got off the floor he discovered that it was now the first floor of the building.

   His next venture was Istanbul, Turkey, where he knew no Turkish but he knew his prior education in English would get him through.  He taught at a school but decided that he could teach the students better so he and one of his fellow teachers, Sir Charles Napier of England, started their own "English Academy".  Together they wrote and published their own textbooks that are still in use today in Turkey. Of course, he left speaking fluent Turkish.

   In 2005, we were supposed to call him for his birthday on November 9th between 3 and 5 PM in Ohio which is 8 to 10 PM in Turkey.  We all forgot to call him.  He said he turned down invitations for that evening because his sisters, other relatives and friends were going to call.  He waited up until midnight but no one called.  When he came home for Christmas he let everyone know that his family forgot him for his birthday.  He said he was so far away from home and his family forgot him.  So his sister, Vicki Ross, had an idea.  In 2006 we would surprise him for his birthday and show up on his doorstep.  With the help of his student, and our friend, Esmeray, five of us from the U. S. showed up with a cake in hand made by his sister, Jean Bickley.  He said that this took care of his birthdays for the rest of his life and he would never say anything again about not acknowledging his birthday.

   In 2009, Greg decided he was going to retire (which he never did).  He wanted his family to travel with him all over Europe and Africa to tell his friends good-bye.  So 7 of us decided to travel with him.  Greg was happy to see us but furious to see that we had 14 suitcases.  He said when you travel the only clothes you need are "one to wear, one to wash and one to spare".  So 8 of us with 14 suitcases and 1 backpack (Greg's) went to Turkey, Italy, France, Tunisia, Belguim and England.  It was a vacation that we will always remember.

   After his return to home in Glouster, he began substitute teaching at Trimble and Miller Schools, almost every day that he was available.  He had been elected to the Trimble School Wall of Fame in 2003.  He has said that one of the proudest moments of his life was when the students of the Trimble High School class of 2017 asked him to be the speaker at their graduation.  Remember: Feet and Floor both begin with F.

  He was very proud of his home, his school and the town of Glouster, which led to him being convinced to run and be elected to village council.  He also volunteered to be a member of many boards and community projects in the area, church and at school, including Tomcat Bridge Builders, the variety show at school and Old Settler's Reunion, community clean-ups, Athens County Community Challenge, Trimble Community Choir, Holy Cross Choir, Glouster Street Improvement and Glouster Eagles euchre.  He also was elected to be president of the Glouster Village Council.  He was doing all of this, and much more, up to the present time.

   There is so much to tell, but as with life, it must end.

   Greg was going to write a book about his 42 years abroad.  We will only know a little about his life but what a great short life it was.  He touched so many, everywhere, that there are now heavy hearts all over the world.

   Funeral services will be:  Calling hours are Monday, August 21st, from 4 to 8 PM at Trimble High School in Glouster with the wake at 7:30 PM.  The funeral will be on Tuesday, August 22nd, at 11 AM, with viewing at 10 AM, at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Glouster with Father Christopher Foxhoven officiating.  Interment will be in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Trimble, immediately following the funeral.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make donations to the Glouster Street Project c/o Sandy Gyure at First National Bank in Glouster, Ohio, as this was very important to him.  Arrangements are by the Morrison Funeral Chapel, Glouster-Bishopville.  A comforting message may be sent to the family at www.morrisonfc.com.


Order Flowers with delivery by a local florist.


 
Call us, we're here to help.
Phone (740) 767-4200
Fax (740) 767-2125
Our family serving your family
Tom "Tee" Morrison, Director
6525 South State Route 78
Glouster, Ohio 45732