Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of David Uzarski, words such as easy going, quick-witted, and gregarious come to mind. However, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of him is selfless. He was always looking for ways to give to others whether his family, his friends, or others within his community. Dave was a friend to all and a stranger to none. He supported many charity fund raisers, especially through work and those in which his family were involved. There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for anyone in need. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed by all who knew and loved him.
It seems only fitting that Dave’s story began during a time that was as colorful as he was. It was the 1960’s when many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden age. By 1967, there was a continued presence of American troops serving in Vietnam and peace rallies were multiplying as the number of protesters against the war increased. Some highlights of the time were the famous Detroit riots that broke out on July 23rd where the National Guard was brought in, the release of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, and The Monkees played on color televisions throughout the nation. During a promising decade in our nation’s history, Donald and Kathryn (Garbula) Uzarski welcomed home the youngest of their ten children, David John, on January 13th. His birth brought them much joy and happiness! Dave joining the family ended a sibling rivalry by balancing the males vs. females in the family. The kids were now tied 5 girls, 5 boys.
Growing up on Grand Rapids’ west side, he lived a typical childhood. With a large family of 10 children, there was never any sense of boredom and they were all especially close to one another. The family made their home on Garfield Avenue NW and enjoyed many wonderful memories there. When Sacred Heart of Jesus School released its students for summer vacation, Dave and his family packed up for two weeks at an area cottage, a tradition the family still carries on. They also enjoyed years of traveling to Disney World and taking long road trips out west. As a teen, when he wasn’t hanging out with his siblings or friends at Lincoln Park, he was at practice for either basketball or football. Although he excelled in football in high school, he also had a passion for theater and landed a role as Kenickie in the school musical, Grease! Graduating with the Class of 1985 from West Catholic High School, Dave set off for Kalamazoo’s Western Michigan University and later ITT Technical Institute. His years of schooling served him well as he successfully remained with International Game Technologies (formerly GTech) for a remarkable twenty-nine years! Starting out as a service technician and working his way up to programming, his career with IGT took him all over the world! He traveled to Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Washington, Brazil, and California where he spent most of his career in beautiful Sacramento. A highlight of the perks of his work was taking in the World Series in Atlanta!
Dave was a man of many special interests. A hobby that never left him from his childhood was collecting comic books. He favored mostly DC and Marvel comics and had an extensive collection of Spider Man memrobelia. An avid reader, he’d read pretty much anything but enjoyed Calvin and Hobbes. He was also a Trekkie and Star Wars fan! Dave loved any type of board game. He was especially good at trivia, Cribbage and Set Back. Most family members begged for “Punk” (a nickname given by oldest brother Tom) to play on their team as they knew their odds were greatly increased! Any chance he got he was watching his favorite teams. Nothing brought him greater joy than a win for the Detroit Tigers, the Fighting Irish or his alma mater, West Catholic! Also known as Stas’, the CEO of Stas’ Incorporated, he was the official Pulaski Days Souvenir supplier for the “Stellas.” As for music, he liked a variety of types but mostly favored listening to his dad and brother Tom’s Polka bands over the years.
Above all else, Brother Dave was a family man. He was delighted to return home as often as he could for holidays where he’d savor his mother’s delicious Pierogi or Chop Suey! He loved his Polish food of Kielbasa or Sobie Meats’ hot sticks and a cold beer surrounded by his family. Everyone looked forward to his funny stories and mishaps! No one told a better story than Uncle Dave! Imaginative and thoughtful, he often came up with unique gift giving games each Christmas for his many special nieces and nephews. Dave loved a sense of adventure and savored a memorable trip with his sister, Sue, on an Alaskan cruise. A treasured memory, it was a trip that he talked about often. A true friend and companion, Dave leaves behind a rich legacy of being genuine with others. Never one to hold a grudge, he lived his life with compassion. Described as humorous with a wealth of knowledge about pretty much everything, there is no doubt that he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered for his generous and loving spirit.
David John “Dave” Uzarski passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, July 13, at his home in Sacramento, CA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Katie Uzarski, and his brother, Tom Uzarski. Dave is survived by his loving siblings, Linda and Mike Boruta, Sue Uzarski, Kathy Jo Uzarski, Mike and Mary Uzarski, Dan and Kathleen Uzarski, Karen and Paul Wila, Jim and Christine Uzarski, Laurie and Kevin Weiss; 14 nieces and nephews, 4 great nieces and nephews, and many relatives and friends. Dave is also survived by his California Family, who loved him and treated him as if he was one of their own. Dave was employed by International Game Technology (formerly GTech corporation) for 29 years. He was a fan of DC and Marvel comics (most favorably Spider Man), the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Lions, and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Most of all, Dave loved his family.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, August 8 at 11 AM at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, 156 Valley Ave. SW. Family and friends may visit with the family beginning at 10 AM at the church' until the service begins. A Celebration of Life will be held in the afternoon on Tuesday, from 4-7 PM at the Grand Rapids Fire Fighters Hall, 1930 Fuller Ave. NE. Please consider contributions in Dave’s memory to a charity of your choice. To read more about Dave’s life, to sign his guest book, and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com.