We celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Maria "Marina" Zitnak, on Friday, December 29th, 2017, in her 97th year. Loving mother of Dana (Garry) Gibbons of Huntsville, Tim (Sue Matsuoka) of Guelph and Terry (Ken Yackimec) of Lac La Biche, Alberta. Grandmother of Michelle, Frank, Courtney, Ryan "Bear", Allen, Kathleen, Peter and Scott. Great-grandmother of Tasia, Kendra, Olivia and Connor. She is also survived by her loving nieces and nephews from the Detroit area and in Slovakia. Marina was predeceased in 2000 by her beloved husband of 50 years Ambrose Zitnak (Bratislava, Slovakia), her treasured sister Anna Holka (Michigan, USA), her brother Gusto Bučko (Predajna, Slovakia), and recently in 2017 by her son-in-law Garry Gibbons (Huntsville, Ontario).
A woman before her time, Marina lived an extraordinary life. Growing up in the small village of Predajna (in the current Slovak Republic), she was commandeered in her late teens to act as a German interpreter during WWII. She was one of three women to graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bratislava in the 1940s. Marina went on to begin her master's degree in Switzerland (where she met her husband), before emigrating to Edmonton, Alberta, in 1951. Marina and Ambrose eventually settled in Guelph, Ontario, where she worked as a teaching assistant in the veterinary college at the University of Guelph and where she was very active in the University Women's Club. Marina was an avid reader, a competitive bridge player, and a worldly traveller, having visited every continent excluding Antarctica. She was a woman of character with a strong belief in family and her faith.
Visitation will be held at Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home, 252 Dublin St. N., Guelph, on Friday, January, 5, 2018, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. A funeral mass will take place at Holy Rosary Church, Guelph, on Saturday, January 6, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. Interment at Marymount Cemetery, Guelph, at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 8th. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Autism Society Wellington Chapter (autismontario.ca) are appreciated.