- 68 years old
- Date of birth: Jul 6, 1947
- Place of birth:
- Date of passing: Sep 28, 2015
- Place of passing:
Plano, Texas, United States
|Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, no evil would I fear, for you are with me. (Ps 23:4)|
This memorial website is dedicated to the best of uncles, Peter Polakovic, who passed away suddenly on September 28, 2015. I invite his friends to share their memories of him here. Every little detail of his life is precious to me and my family.
Peter was born in the small town of Puchov in western Slovakia, where his father Viktor worked as a clerk at the railway station. His mother Kveta was from Moravia (Czech Republic), which made Peter a "Czechoslovak" at heart. The family soon moved to Bratislava, now the capital of Slovakia, where they lived in a small apartment near the main railway station. Around the time of Peter's birth, his father was diagnosed with diabetes (presumably type 1) and died when Peter was only twelve, which must have cast a shadow over his childhood. Peter's and his older brother Milan's happiest memories were of summer vacations with their grandparents in Moravia.
According to family stories, Peter was mischievous, lovable, bright, and adventurous from the start. He was a teenager during the 1960s temporary "thaw" of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia, when western influences, especially music, film, and fashion, began to seep into the local pop culture. Peter's love of films and his high standards for their quality was influenced by the Czechoslovak "New Wave" cinema from this period that produced masterpieces such as "Closely Watched Trains." It was probably this cultural revolution, along with his free spirit, that first led to Peter's fascination with the United States.
Around the age of twenty, he packed a small suitcase full of dictionaries and clandestinely crossed the border into Austria. He ended up in a refugee camp near Naples, Italy, where, undeterred by rough conditions and lack of money, he embarked on a series of wild adventures that eventually led him to Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas. While he was still learning English, one of his first jobs was washing dishes in a restaurant, which may be one of the reasons why he was, later in life, always sympathetic to and beloved by restaurant staff, whether in the restaurants that he and his business partner owned in Dallas, or at the ones where he loved to dine. In Los Angeles, he married Yvonne, earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from California State University, and enjoyed the beaches and hiking. Following their divorce in 1978, he moved to Dallas, Texas. After his restaurant business failed, he worked as an IT specialist.
Once Peter obtained his U.S. citizenship, he periodically visited his brother's family in Bratislava and was always a part of it as much as the long distance allowed, overcoming both bureaucratic hurdles and financial constraints. Milan visited him in 1982, and returned with me (aged eleven) for an unforgettable, epic "grand tour" of the U.S. that included major national parks and Hawaii in 1984.
Peter was always full of surprises, and his sudden death of pulmonary embolism was the final one. I am very grateful to Norma for her loving presence at his hospital bedside during the last hours of his life.
My uncle was the most generous person I have ever known and always did everything his way. It is some consolation to know that he had the freedom to practice generosity and mantain his independence until the end.
Since Peter's life was so full and there were so many wonderful people in it, I have created this website in order to encourage his friends to share their own stories of him.The "Stories" section is great for posting anecdotes and additional information. I also don't remember the details of Peter's early adventures in the U.S., especially in Chicago and LA, so if you can help out with that, I'd appreciate it. Feel free to write in English, Czech, or Slovak.
Katarina (Polakovic) Gephardt
"Yesterday, Peter's friends from the Nurtur IT development group where he worked went to lunch in remembrance of him. We went to his favorite place, Cindy's Deli where he would always get the number 4, Corned beef, Pastrami and Swiss cheese. We shared our stories of Peter and how he affected our lives. He was a true friend and we miss him dearly."
"Thinking of you today, on this one year anniversary of your passing. Yvonne"
"Missing you today and every day, dear Peter."
"Un año sin tí Cariño. Hace un año que te fuiste de mi lado y tanto ha pasado! Aún te extraño , le doy gracias a Nuesto Señor que he podido continuar.... descansa en paz. Besos"
"I owe you much for the kindness you always showed me in the late 70's in Dallas. You will be missed, my friend."
"Hola Cariño, estos últimos once meses han sido largos sin tí. La vida sigue pero nadie ha podido remplasar lo que tú y yo compartimos. Sigues vivo en mi corazón. Besos."
"Cariño, I'm 1 day late but, not because I forgot, just really, really busy... you're used to that, so you understand.., I still miss you, you are always in my thoughts and in my heart, but again, you know that..... you are with our Lord sweetie, pray for me as I pray for your eternal rest....besos"
"Thinking of you today, on your birthday. I just looked at some photos my daughter Darina sent me. She is visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland today. She would not be making that visit if you had not sent me pictures of this salt mine a while back. I always sent you presentations of interesting places because I knew you enjoyed them, and you reciprocated with the salt mine photos. If not for you, I would not know this place existed. When Darina was going to Ostrava, near the Polish border, I told her she might want to consider visiting this salt mine and apparently she did so today, by sheer coincidence on the day that's your birthday. Happy Birthday Peter!"
"Vsetko najlepsie, Peter, hope they throw a party for you in Heaven today."
"Happy Birthday Cariño! I know all the angels are helping you celebrate. I wish I could be there, if only to hug you! Sorry I'm missing it but my heart is with you!"
"Cariño, pasan los meses sin ti, y aún tu recuerdo sigue vivo. Besos"
"Siempre pienso en ti Cariño, yá nueve meses sin ti y tu recuerdo sigue vivo en mi. Besos"
"Cariño, no pasa un solo día sin que piense en tí. Ocho meses desde que no estás y aún te extraño. Besos amor!"
"Siete meses sin tí, eres mi más lindo recuerdo Cariño! Besos"
"Pasan los meses Cariño pero el tiempo no cambia lo nuestro . Besos"
"Pasa el tiempo y sigues en cada uno de mis pensamientos. Aún te extraño Cariño. Besos."
"Tres meses desde que te fuiste cariño. Siento frío en el alma, te extraño a cada momento. Tu recuerdo vive en mi, siempre."
"Thinking of you on this Christmas Day, Peter, with the hope that you are a part of a big birthday party filled with light. I've added some pictures from the funeral that took place on November 30 in Bratislava for your friends. I will never forget saying goodbye to you. The weather was sunny and almost spring-like that morning, which made me think of you not liking the cold. During the service, it suddenly became very windy. My father sang a couple of songs, one at the beginning (an adapted Slovak folk song) and then a church song about getting closer to God at the end, which was very touching. The priest (who is also my uncle) gave a eulogy about your life far away overseas. There were quite a few flowers. Just as the service ended and we were leaving, the weather changed and first drops of rain started falling, as if heaven was crying, too. The timing of the weather, first the sun, then the wind, and then the rain, made it feel like you were there, making the whole event just a bit more exciting, just like you always did."
"Blessed Christmas Cariño, miss you so much sweetie."
"Mily Peter, bolo nam vsetkym luto, ze sme nemali na Teba kontakt a tak sme Ta nemohli pozvat na nase nedavne stretnutie byvalych spoluziakov po 50 rokoch od maturitnej skusky. A ked som ten kontakt konecne ziskala netusila som, ze si s Tebou vymienam posledny email.
Dnes som sa s Tebou rozlucila aspon v spomienkach v Bratislave. Odpocivaj v pokoji."
"Cariño, it has been 2 months since you left us and though the pain subsides my longing for you augments. Soon, you will be laid to rest in your beloved Country. I miss you very much sweetie, life is so different without you. My only consolation is that you are with our Lord. Until we meet again my love."
"Today, Peter has left us just a month ago.I believe now Peter lives in paradise as an Angel.
" Peter how are you? We miss you!""
"Sweetie, yet another weekend without you! It's not getting any better, I miss you so very much, almost a month but it seems ages ago since I last heard your voice, felt your presence, laughed with you and joked around about all the crazy "stuff". Seems like so long ago but, just yesterday in my heart. You taught me so much, learned wonderful things with you, Wish you would have taught me how to live without you. Time passes, but the pain is still here, deep within me, Cariño. I long for you!"
"No matter how much time passes after losing a love one....the pain still remains. May the God of comfort continue to help your family thru the days of Mr Polakovic's absence.
Remember Jesus stated a beautiful promise about the future of those that have fallen asleep in death. Please see:
"Its been an honor and great joy working with you for a year. Always kind to everyone and smiling. Only you could say the things you said and still make it sound funny and put a smile on a face.
You have taught me a quite a few life lessons in the short time we met. I will miss you being my neighbor at work, our conversations about ice creams, your stories about Watts riots, Hawaiian trip, summer job as a kid.
Rest in peace and keep smiling , my friend.
My condolences to Peter's family. Thanks, Katarina, for sharing the pictures and anecdotes."
"I used to see Peter at Lona De Noche Restaurant in Plano, Texas, usually after work or on the weekends.
Peter was a good man in every sense of the word. He was a good friend but a friend that you can count on. He had sense of humor but at the same time he is serious and means what he says.
I found in him magnanimity, nobility, and ethics.
We will miss him forever!"
You were always such a gentleman. You loved to make us laugh and smile. Loved your stories and your passion for good food. You loved calling me by my maiden name since it is Czech; it always made me smile. You had a wonderful heart and generosity.
No matter what difficult project we were working on or what deadlines were looming, you always took the time to get us to smile. It is hard for me to go by your desk and see it empty. My heart aches that you are gone.
You will remain in our hearts and memories. It was such a privilege to know you. Goodbye my friend."
"It is still hard for me to believe that Peter is no longer physically with us. I know his spirit and memories will live on in my life and all the lives he has touched. I have walked by his desk at work several times expecting him to be sitting there with a big smile on his face saying…just kidding. But, I know he is in a better place now…Bora Bora for sure as that seemed to be Peter’s repeatedly-stated destination of choice.
Peter was the consummate gentleman and a man with so many stories to tell…I wish I could remember them all. It is ironic that his final resting place will be that from which he escaped. If only Peter had written a book of all that happened in between.
Thank you Katarina for creating such a beautiful tribute to Peter. Peter spoke about you so many times; you were obviously a shining star in his life. Thank you Peter for sharing a few years of your life with me; I am so fortunate. Rest in peace brother."
"I met Peter in the very early 80's playing tennis at Brookhaven Racquet Club. He was always playing singles with his partner in the restaurant Jozef's Seafood. I was always trying to beat them in singles but doubles was my game and Peter's was ONLY Singles. We became fast friends and have remained so for over 30 years. I loved the story Peter used to tell about how he became a citizen. He first had to get a green card so once he investigated the procedure he went to make his application. He began to take the clerk flowers. He would go there over and over to check on his status and of course he charmed the clerk and eventually got his notification to take his tests and then show up for the swearing in. He had charmed the clerk so much that he had not been in the US the required 5 years. Peter said she was much better contract than having a Senator or Congressman in your corner. I met Milan and Katerina (Katka) when they came to visit Dallas in the 80's. Katka was the translater because I couldn't speak Czech and Milan though he understood English he was not nearly as fluent as his daughter. My favorite memory and one which she reminded me of last week was that I had a talking car with a sunroof. I think the car only said things like door is open, lights are on or simple things like that but she was so amazed by this talking car. I went on another trip with Peter to Vail where we were assistants to his friend Pavel who was at the World Cup for Ladies Alpine Skiing. Pavel was the Czechoslovakian coach and we helped out as best we could carrying equipment, jackets etc up and down the mountain for the girls. That was such an adventure. I was with Peter and Trig on the crazy tennis trip to Antigua. I was more like the stodgy owner of the staid Curtain Bluff hotel but it was impossible to keep Trigg under control.. Only Trigg could get Peter to dance and act up and let his guard down. Peter, always the gentleman and always the steadfast friend. I was Marcella's Godmother and Peter her Godfather. He was so good with kids of any age. He loved taking Marcella out for ice cream and even to children's movies. He would take her anywhere and everywhere. We went to every birthday party. We had so many great parties at Suzy's. She loved cooking and probably was the only person that could cook and Peter loved every morsel. It's hard to imagine that I will never hear him raving about Suzy's cooking again. He loved Suzy's parents as well and they loved him. Suzy's parents were also from Czechoslovakia. I think Peter was like the son they never had as well. Peter loved to read, he loved music and he loved going to movies but most of all he loved going out to dinner. He would never let you pick up the check.... I would get so mad at him for always picking up the check..... someday maybe I'll be able to return the favor. I will so miss my friend Peter....... he was truly the brother you always wanted... always there for you and always by your side. I'm so thankful that I got the privilege to know you and love you for over 30 years."
"Peter and my late husband were members of the Los Angeles Sokol’s volleyball team in the late 1960's and early 1970's. We all were friends, and our families spent many beautiful summer weekends swimming and playing volleyball at a small mountain retreat in the Los Angeles National Forest.
Peter, it is so difficult to believe that you, our friend, passionate and fun loving Peter who’s presence always brightened our day, are no longer with us. I will forever treasure my precious memories of you and your free spirited approach to life.
Judy (Jitka) Keston"
"Peter was our long time friend. Peter and my husband, who passed away suddenly last year, would get together regularly with their mutual friends just to talk and support each other. He will be missed ....
"Peter,I still cannot believe that you're gone ! Yesterday when l drove to "Luna dell Notche" your favorite restaurant , I was thinking I won't ever see your big van parking there anymore ! Jiri and I cannot have Sunday brunch with you anymore! That is so sad ......!
Yes , YOU ARE ANGEL that Is God needs.
Peter, peace be with you forever and we will miss you forever.
"I met Peter through my dear friend Yvonne whom I have known since she came to the US in 1965. I didn't get to know Peter very well but ever since our first meeting I felt that he was good man! I was sad that their marriage didn't last. It would have been great to get to know him better. Katarina, it's heart warming to read your kind and loving words about Peter. Rest in peace Peter."
"I didn't have the pleasure of working with Peter but we almost always came into work at the same time. I remember him being such a gentleman. He would say good morning and open the door for me. We'd walk in the building and go our separate ways. He was a pleasant man. Rest in peace."
"Peter led a life full of adventure and was a great story teller. He will be missed but hope he knew how loved he was. So glad he had the love of his life, Norma, by his side until the end."
"My daughter is so right:) God needed an angel and he now has one:)"
"From the moment I was born, Peter was not only labeled as my godfather, but most importantly, my rock. Whether it was helping me with homework, teaching me how to drive, taking me on spontaneous trips to the zoo and Dave & Busters, or attending my graduation, he was always by my side. Not to mention the occasional accidental bump-ins at the local coffee shop located near both my school and his work place. Even now, I know Peter will still be by my side, looking over me and watching me grow each and every step of the way. That being said, I know he will be watching over each and everyone of his friends and family. Heaven needed an angel and God sent for Peter, the most amazing, caring, and loving person there is. I'll miss you forever & always, Peter. Love you."
"When I was very little, my grandmother told me that he lived far far away, beyond the great water. I had yet to see the ocean, so I would look up at the clouds and think that he was up there, in the midst of all that blue, which looked like the large puddle that the grownups were talking about. At that time, I did not know that I would end up so close to him, which was one of the best consequences of my immigrant fate. I was smitten ever since I first met him at the age of eight, and he always showered my siblings, Petra and Matus, and me with love, attention, praise, and presents. He was always, always there for me, an anchor in the turbulent waters of immigrant life that I shall always miss.
See you in Heaven, my dear Peter. Creating this site and seeing what others have to say has given me peace and shown me that your heart was even bigger than I had imagined, I always felt that I could not love you enough, or as much as you deserved. Now you know that you are unconditionally loved in a way that you always desired, by the Love that has no limits."
"Peter...Thanks for being a hard worker, a kind soul and a good man! You shared your love of food, family and friends with everyone you met. We will miss your stories, but most of all...we will miss you!
Be Blessed! I am sure they have GREAT food in heaven! :-)
"Life is like a game of Tennis; the player who serves well seldom loses. And to me, Peter was the greatest server of all time. He was the most generous man I knew. I will miss him dearly. And Peter, if this is your way of getting out of me paying you back for lunch, I'm pretty sure Heaven has restuarants!"
"I was hardly five. I do not know why but I can still keep in front of my eyes this day. Our dad took me surprisingly for a walk in the very early morning. When we came back I heard an unique noise going out of the bedroom. It was you. The day you were born was bright, windless and sunny. It must have been that wonderful summer Sunday which had trigged off you bacame such an empathetic (gentle)man.
My dear brother wait for me! It will not last ages we meet again in Heaven."
"Peter, how I wish you were just under the weather and were still going to come back to us, to our team. You were always so kind to me and ready to help whenever there was a need. I will never forget the lunches you bought and the many kind words you said. We miss you!"
"Peter, I'll never forget the fun we had together on the tennis trip to Antigua and how rowdy we were in the staid hotel Curtain Bluff, where the owner was stalking us in the dining room to make sure we wore proper attire and behaved. Then after a few bottles of wine, we began to dance on the table. We had belly laughs about that for years!
You were the best Uncle my Ashley ever had and a bonded brother of mine. All those fun seafood dinners at your place on McKinney and parties at my house. You were so kind to us and your love and support for Ashley was palpable. You will remain in our hearts. Thanks for coming to my birthday party on such short notice last year. Love, Trigg"
You were a quiet man, but when you spoke we all wanted to listen. The stories you told have touched all of us in a different way. The kindness and caring, that you showed to each of us, has made all of us better for just knowing you!
You are so greatly missed and will forever be kept in the hearts and memories of so many.
I miss seeing you every morning and your little nod, when you would say 'Good morning.' I have an emptiness in my heart for you and know that we will meet again in Heaven!
"Peter, I will always miss you. Every time you meet me in the office, in the parking lot, you gave me warm and funny greetings. I will always miss that a lot. Every morning I drive into the parking lot, I think about your big truck and it's not parking there any more..."
"Peter, you always had the twinkle of a teenager in your eyes. Your love of life and those around you was absolutely infectious. I'll do my best to take the light you freely gave to me and share it with the world. I owe you nothing less."
"Milý Petře! Je to takový velký šok že ty jsi odešel dřív jak já, to jsem si nikdy nemyslela že se stane. Měla jsem tě moc ráda, už proto že jsi mi velice vzhledově připomínal mého bratra Ášu, který zahynul tragicky když mi bylo 22 let. Doufala jsem, že se s Tebou ještě někdy setkám, a teď vidím že to se už nikdy neuskuteční. Moc mě to mrzí. Vzpomínám na dobu, kdy jste s Yvonkou bydleli jen 3 domy od našeho na Valitě a Yvonka chodila do práce už ráno, ale ty jsi začínal až někdy odpoledne a často jsi pozdě ráno přišel k nám jen tak si trošku popovídat. Můj manžel taky už byl v práci, já začínala jako ty až později, tak jsem bývala sama doma a tvé návštěvy jsem velmi vítala. Já ti vždycky udělala snídani a bylo nám dobře. A taky jsem se moc ráda dívala když jste hráli volejbal, a tys to tak uměl. Všichni tě moc obdivovali a kamarádky mi asi záviděly že mám tak hezkého a šikovného zetě. Mně bylo letos 91 let a stále jsem tady, nikdy jsem si nemyslela že mě ty předejdeš na věčnost. Moc na tebe vzpomínám a doufám že jsi byl v životě šťastný."
"Peter...I still can't believe that you are gone! You were such a sweet, caring man! You will be truly missed here at work from the people who got to know such a sweet man. I consider myself a lucky person to have gotten to know you. I will miss our talks about the ducks at the pond and the poor little duckies will miss you too. They love seeing you because they knew you were going to feed them especially our greedy little "Shem" we never knew what kind of duck he/she was even though you insisted it was a "she". Also, even though you never wanted us to know we knew you were our secret Santa when Christmas time came around, you were so thoughtful to think of the administrative staff here. May your sweet soul rest in peace...until we meet again!"
"Peter, Thank you so much for being a true friend. Truly if there was ever a man who knew how to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life" it was you. Tales of adventures from the farm, Rome, Hawaii, Mexico and everywhere in between will echo in my mind forever. I will endeavor to dig deep and remember all of those stories that I might share your memory with others. You left too soon and though I told you I considered you a friend once. I wish I had been more adamant about it."
"Peter ............thank you..........for being funny, kind, caring.........for getting on my nerves........you O'l buzzard..........you have no idea what you meant to me..........I thank you for all the great stories , the laughter, the passion you had for great food and your constant search for the perfect cup of coffee...........I thank"the powers that be" that they created such a beautiful soul and allowed me call you a friend..........be at peace and I'll see you at London Heathrow for a cup of your favorite coffee.....I'll bring the Danish from Cyndi's Deli..............xoxo"
"Dear sweet Peter,
I am still in shock that you are no longer with us. I truly don't want to believe that you are gone. You were such a gentleman and always willing to go the extra mile to help anyone that you could. I can't get the memories out of my head of the nice things you used to say and do. Working with you these last 3 years was such a blessing to me and many others. You are missed tremendously. You will never leave our hearts. Rest in peace sweet friend. Until we meet again."
"Peter, I thank you for all those stories you shared with me. I really learned so much from you, from your adventurer soul. I'll miss you so much my Man."
"REST IN PEACE,OUR FRIEND.
Jerry & Sydney"
"I spent seven years with Peter - three as his girlfriend, four as his wife. We were young, had the usual hopes and dreams. But it was not to be. Things did not work out, and we went our separate ways. He moved to Texas, I stayed in California. We remained on good terms and stayed in touch. The few times that I turned to him for assistance, he always came through. I last spoke with him on Nov 28, 2014, which was the 40. anniversary of our wedding. It is a shock that he is gone, yet I know this is how he hoped he would leave someday. While still full of life, suddenly, quickly. He got his wish. I am happy to see that he lived surrounded by friends and family who loved him and will miss him. Good bye, Peter, rest in peace!"
"To know him was to love him. You could never get him to tell enough stories, or even enough of one story. His tale about getting his first US driver license in Cicero through the Chicago mob for example: he didn't even take a test. Peter always made you feel great about yourself. He gave me such a great compliment when we were talking to someone- "I learned English, but Peter learned my language, which is much more difficult." I didn't really believe him, but he still made me feel ten feet tall. I can't believe he won't be visiting us soon."
"You are gone way to soon, Peter! We will always remember you as a wonderful, warm, caring, and loving person.Katrina, Gary and Maxi Stallard. RIP."
"Travel well my friend to heaven where we all meet again!
We will miss you forever! Manling Vales"
"My dear friend Peter,
You certainly lived a great life. Yet sorry that your departure from this World was so sudden. For sure, your Spirit is now in a different dimension, and for eternity with Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
"REST IN PEACE PETRE ."
"Peter you will be missed...godfather to my daughter , best friend for 30 plus years and brother I never had, you were my rock when times were tough (and i had many)....You were there to witness the birth of Marcella, nervously pacing the halls of the hospital, you were there when she needed help with homework, you were there to teach her how to ride the bike, you were there to pick her up from school , you were there all weekends to take her to the zoo, movies...lets not forget "Kumon"....whatever M wanted....you were there!... to attempt teaching her to drive a car...you were there to witness her graduation, you were there for her whenever it was needed...you were there! You were there for me ALL THE TIME..cannot count the times.....I just had to call "Peter" and you came running:( We will miss you my brother and godfather, our ROCK and my sweetest and most adoring friend . I could not have made it all these years without you:( xoxoxo
ps: say hi and kiss my parents and Blanicka for me:)"
"Cariño, sweetie pie, rest in peace my love!"
Have a suggestion for us?