On July 31, 2022, Harry Zaborski, of Colby, formerly of Goodland, entered into eternal rest at the age of 99 years old. Harry led a joyful life filled with faith, family and an unquenchable love of the outdoors. He was born September 11, 1922, in Toledo, Ohio to Walter and Lottie and the oldest son of six siblings. He attended Nativity Catholic School. The effects of the Depression made employment scarce, and Harry needed to help support his family. At the age of 15 he joined Civilian Conservation Corp, which provided work under President Franklin Roosevelt.
His unit was deployed to the mountains of Montana joining the many young men from all over the county to replenish the millions of trees in the forest lands made barren from fires and lumbering. Harry often talks of this experience as having a major influence on his life surrounded by the beauty of “Mother Earth.”
After two years in Montana, Harry returned to his family in Ohio where he found work at Willey’s Overland on an assembly line building Jeeps for our military’s use overseas. It was here that Harry met his future bride, Miss Helen Bitker.
During this time, World War II was raging overseas and in 1943, Harry, along with five of his best pals, enlisted in the United States Army. Due to his prior experience at Willey’s Overland, Harry was assigned to be a mechanic for the military’s wheeled vehicles with a rank of CPL/T5. During his deployment, he served in Normandy, France, the Ardennes, Belgium, and Rhineland, Germany. He never spoke of the horrific battles and war experience keeping those dark memories and scars hidden, other than to say that he would never forget his five closest friends who did not make it home.
Upon discharge, Harry and Helen were married on October 27, 1945, in Aberdeen, Maryland, settling back in Toledo, Ohio. Longing for the mountains of his youth, Harry and his family eventually relocated to Denver, Colorado where he made his living as an electrical and maintenance supervisor for the Public Service Company of Colorado. He enjoyed golfing and fishing trips with the family in the Rocky Mountains.
Harry was a member of the Knights of Columbus, which sponsored many activities at St. Clara’s Orphanage. Harry and Helen always looked forward to inviting 2 or 3 children from the orphanage to spend the holidays with their family.
Upon retirement, the couple moved to Brewster, KS. After 38 years of marriage, the couple separated, but because of their faith, never divorced. Harry moved to Goodland to be close to his daughter Judy and her family. He was always busy volunteering at OLPH Catholic Church, building birdhouses, biking, fishing, golfing and bird watching. He enjoyed drawing pictures, scrapbooking and telling stories. He had a tremendous imagination that entertained the grandkids with silliness and laughter.
He never met a stranger and was appreciative of all the kindhearted folks of Sherman County who would always take time to stop and visit with “this old grandpa Poppi,” while pedaling around town. Eventually, moving to Prairie Senior Living complex in Colby, he was very appreciative for the elder care under Dr. Matchell, Brian Unruh, and the nursing staff while enjoying the many activities provided by the community.
Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Lottie; six siblings; Daniel, Helen, Doris, Christine, Alice and Gloria, of Ohio, wife Helen and daughter, Joanne Stephens. Survivors include daughter Judy (Jim) McKee, of Brewster, son-in-law Paul Stephens, of Colby, 11 grandkids, 32 great grandkids and 4 great-great grandchildren.
There will be a Rosary at 9:30 a.m. CST, followed by the Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. CST Saturday, August 6, 2022, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Colby, with Father Brian Lager officiating, followed by interment at Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Colby.
Memorials may be made to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Colby VFW or Goodland Library and sent in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701. For information or condolences visit www.baalmannmortuary.com
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