September 28, 1924 ~ February 4, 2014
He greeted every guest with a flourish, Welcome, to Chata! where every diner was made to feel like they had come home - ready to sit down to their mother's cooking, or grandmother's, or that special auntie's.
The greeter was Jozef Wawrzyniec Slowikowski. Born in Sosnowiec, Poland, Jozef grew up in the tiny village of Siecien, Plock, near Warsaw. At age 17 he immigrated to Germany where he worked in the Nazi forced labor camps until the liberation. Jozef generously shared his experiences with friends, community groups, and anyone who was interested in learning more about that tumultuous era of world history from 1939 to 1945.
In 1950, Jozef boarded the Queen Elizabeth and sailed from England to New York City, America! He loved America! To his last breath, he proclaimed his love and gratitude for his new homeland. As years passed, he added more personal loves to his life: his American wife, Eileen, and sons, Mark, Paul, Michael, and John.
Jozef worked as a painting and building contractor in southern California before moving to southern Oregon in 1973, where, in 1975, he began what would be his favorite career of all, owner of the restaurant, Chata! How he loved his life and times over the 25 years Chata Restaurant was in operation. He loved the people, each and every guest, he was an enthusiastic force behind many special events: BikeChata, Beer & Sausage Tastings, Christmas Eve Wigilia, New Years Day Soupouri, and he wholeheartedly embraced the joy of sharing the food and culture of his native land.
He left this world peacefully from his home in Talent, on February 4, 2014, content and appreciative of his 89 years of life, his 57 years of marriage, his four tall, handsome sons, his many building projects, and America!
Jozef is survived by his wife, Eileen; sons, Mark of Bend, Ore., and Talent, Ore., Michael (Laura Harvey) Slowikowski; grandsons, Alexander and Soren of Ashland, Ore. and Devin Freeman-Slowikowski of Prairie City, Ore.; a sister, Irena Slowikowska of Sopot, Poland; daughter-in-law, Gail Messenbrink Slowikowska of Bend, Ore.; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Catherine Morris and Jeff Dietrich of Los Angeles, Calif.; and many, many, dear friends. His sons, John and Paul, preceded him in death.
Jozef was buried on the family's Greensprings Woodland, February 7, 2014 as the snow fell - the 58th anniversary of
the day he met his wife, Eileen, at a dance in West Los Angeles.