Born on April 17, 1933, in Pilsen, (at the time Czechoslovakia), Jaroslav (Jerry) Bures was one of a handful of high school students on the historic “Freedom Train” who chose to remain in the West after the train was driven through the “Iron Curtain” to West Germany. As an 18 year old, he boarded that fateful train on September 11, 1951 going from Pilsen to nearby Cheb. Like many other passengers, Jerry was unaware that this train would be hijacked, allowing several railway employees and their families to leave the East Bloc. Passengers were faced with an impossible choice of returning to everyone and everything they knew, along with totalitarian rule, or forging ahead into the unknown. Jerry’s decision to start over alone in the West would abruptly change the course of his life.
Jerry emigrated to Canada in 1952, penniless and with limited knowledge of English. He supported himself at first by working at night, while learning English and completing Grade 13 in one year, a major accomplishment. He was offered a hockey scholarship to McMaster, ultimately choosing accountancy courses at York University, and articling at Deloitte, attaining the Chartered Accountant designation in record time. He married Margaret (Peggy) Goedbloed (1932-2017) in 1958. They had two children, daughter Evelyn (Evvy) and son Edward (Ted), both born in Toronto. His 40-year career as a highly respected auditor and comptroller took him to locations throughout Canada. The family were stationed in Chile for two years in the early 60’s, and moved to Pointe-Claire (Montreal) in 1970. He worked as a CFO for various firms in the West Island, as well as furthering his education at Concordia University.
Jerry was also an excellent tennis player, and a member of the Valois and Baie D’Urfe clubs. He participated many times in Montreal’s Czech Sokol organization tennis tournaments. His intellectual pursuits included philosophy, history, and literature, leading him to enjoy and eventually to lead courses and discussions at the Thomas Moore Institute. He also volunteered at Montreal’s Tel-Aide distress line.
Jerry is survived by Evvy and Ted, and his grandson Anthony. He was close with his cousins Monica, Marcel and Miroslav (Mira) Martinek, in the Czech Republic. He had numerous friends, and will be dearly missed.
A Celebration of Life for Jerry will be held at Bethel Chapel this Sunday, August 6th from 14.00 to 18.00. Address: 105 Ave de Dieppe, Pointe-Claire (parking lot is on the other side of Hastings street). Please stop by to raise a glass for our dear friend and share some memories. For further details please contact Lana at 514-297-5262.