It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Antonin “Tony” Jancarik, on July 7, 2023, at the age of 80. He was pre-deceased by his elegant wife Arnostka “Aya” Jancarik, little son Derek Antonin, and Tessa the dog. He leaves behind his children, Arinka-Sabina (Jean-Francois Couture), Thomas, grand-daughters Amilia and Evelina Couture, and lover of the last 20 years Hélène Beaudoin.
Born under Nazi occupation in the idyllic village of Nezdenice and having eventually escaped Communist depredation after the Prague Spring with his lovely wife, he had a fierce love for the “New World”.
Veteran of the Cuban Missile Crisis as a Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear specialist, he bravely avoided most stupidities inherent in military operations by escaping to the Hospoda (pub), playing hockey, practising gymnastics, and chasing after pretty nurses (our mother).
Fast-forward to Canada, ever the hard worker, he went on to receive a graduate degree (MSc) in physical education (McGill, followed by Université de Montréal). He diligently educated, as best he could, the unruly youth of Richelieu Valley Regional High-School. Always cost-conscious, he would illegally cross the Richelieu on the dreaded train bridge, instilling in his children and students a sense of rebelliousness and disregard for silly rules; he was, after all, a professional revolutionary!
His love for artistic pursuits was expressed in his lifelong craft of doodles, paintings, collages, and a deep appreciation of music; from Czech Folk songs, to Vivaldi, to Johnny Cash, and, of course, Leonard Cohen. His true art was using the human body in extremis, the torturous craft of gymnastics. Expert of the parallel bars, he taught generations of young gymnasts at the provincial, national, and international level. His last “working” day was with Imagym coaching high-performance male gymnasts for the Canadian championships. From experience, I’m sure he was firm but fair; his disciplined demeanor masking a mischievous and self-effacing humanity.
Fluent in many languages, well-read, and well-travelled, he was always quick to quote some taciturn adage from the ancients or great authors of the common era. Armed with a great sense of tragi-comic irony, we can still hear him now: “the only thing I’m sure of is my own confusion” or “why doesn’t everybody speak Czech?”. His appreciation of the absurdity of the human condition was arrived at through an intense practice of self-reflection and meditation read: napping in his favorite chair.
The family will receive condolences at 2750, boul. Marie-Victorin Est, Longueuil, J4G 1P5, on July 27 from 1 to 3:30 p.m., followed by a ceremony at the Complexe’s chapel.
Donations by cheque to the Fondation des amis de la gym, which supports Quebec gymnasts in their development, can be made in Tony's name (directly or through his family).