Dr. Jan Simko
- I'm not sure how many of you knew Dr. Jan S~imko, who passed away at the age of 90 in September in Washington, D.C. Jan was probably best known for an excellent English-Slovak dictionary he wrote in 1969 in Czechoslovakia. It's my understanding that the dictionary is still considered one of the finest, even now, 42 years later. Jan had quite an interesting life, having lived through the first Slovak republic during WWII and two decades of communism. He defected to the U.S. in 1969, I believe, while attending conferences pertaining to his dictionary, in 1969.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Pan S~imko later in his life. We met numerous times when I was in Washington, and we spoke by phone a number of times as well. His stories were fascinating. He loved to tell how he avoided being drafted during WWII and how he also avoided having to become a communist despite is position at Comenius University in Bratislava.
During his career Jan also wrote for a few US Slovak-American publications, such as Jednota and Dobry Pastier. He especially loved the arts.
Although some said he was a bit difficult to understand in his later years, he was a good man -- and he had so much to offer. I hadn't seen him in a few years and despite several attempts, I could never get through to him at the retirement home where he lived. I had hoped to go to DC this year and visit him, but never did. My loss. His obituary can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/2011/10/24/gIQAZNZUDM_story.html