Joseph John Zegalski was born in Rossburn on October 25, 1941 to John and Jessie Zegalski.
He is survived by his younger sister Linda Shindak; wife Rose; sons Greg, Jeff (Winston), and Chris (Tammy); niece Lora (Tim) Monastyrski; and grandchildren Matthew and Mackenzie (Landon) Campbell.
Dad’s early years began on a farm east of Rossburn, at the same location that Greg currently lives. As a young man, he developed a love for farming, and for the Rossburn community. In his 20’s, wanting to see the world, Dad moved to the big city of Winnipeg, already with a population over 500,000, and worked for the Bathurst mattress factory. He loved to dance, going to community dances often. Sometimes daily. He could really cut a rug. Mom arrived in Winnipeg in 1966. Mom and Dad didn’t know each other, but they had mutual friends. As luck would have it, they met in 1966 at the UNF dance hall on Main Street. It wasn’t long after that the two were an item. In 1967, Dad opened his first business, Skyline Messenger courier service in Winnipeg. They had two trucks making deliveries, and Mom was the dispatcher. Couriers depend on speed, and their brand new delivery trucks were fast. Perhaps too fast. While saving for their wedding, Dad had to break the news to Mom of an $80 speeding ticket (over $600 today). Mom was not happy, but stuck with him. They were married in 1967, with two sons quickly following; Greg in 1968 and Jeff in 1970. Even before they were married, Dad told Mom that someday they would move to Rossburn. In 1971 their chance came, triggered by the opening of Co-op gas bar. Dad was hired as the manager and bulk fuel delivery driver. They purchased farmland not far from where he grew up, determined to farm with their two sons. Their third son Chris arrived in 1974. He remained with the Co-op until 1977, when he thought he would try something new and opened a restaurant with Nick Lysyshin at the Rossman Lake golf clubhouse. Always an entrepreneur, Dad started a string of businesses in the Rossburn area. He didn’t constrain himself to just one industry, but instead liked to dabble in many areas. Farming, restaurants in 4 locations, arcade, pool hall, auto parts and garage, used furniture sales. There was a lot. While running the restaurant at the golf clubhouse in the summer, Dad needed something to do in the winter, so ran snack bar in the Rossburn Arena. In 1979, the family moved to Rossburn, to open a restaurant on Main Street. In 1980, a new restaurant was built at Rossman Lake. In 1983, we moved to Rossman Lake, building a house attached to the restaurant. In 1985, CJG Farm & Auto opened on Main Street. In 1990, he became school bus driver, continuing for 31 years. In 1991, a pool hall and arcade was opened. And others.
Dad was very much a social creature. He was very trusting and everyone’s friend, and your friendship meant a lot to him. He always wanted to be in on the latest news going around town, and was an active member of the local morning coffee crowd. Part of his socializing involved trips to auction sales. Auction sales combined his love of farm equipment with his love of socializing. The excitement of the auction, and the possibility of finding a bargain was good too. Eventually he turned his hobby into a business, selling furniture from the auction sales. In 1995, CJG Used Furniture was born. In the furniture business, Dad and Greg grew to be inseparable. They were family, allies, and business partners. They collaborated, travelled to sales, discussed farming, argued, and laughed. They were more like a married couple. All the while, Dad taught Greg the value of growing a business by having personal relationships with customers and suppliers. He loved you, Greg, and is so very proud of you. He may not have told you often enough, but he told others. Dad’s other love was wrestling. Some might say obsession. Dad and his boys took trips to Brandon and Winnipeg to see wrestling matches, buying t-shirts and other swag. It was a great outing. The boys eventually grew out of it, but Dad never did. He was a super fan, following all of the wrestlers through their storylines, the more outrageous the better. We affectionately called Dad ‘Precious’, after one of the wrestling managers. Dad also loved music. Not all music. Just Ukrainian music. He enjoyed Ukrainian music all through his life, from LP records, to 8 tracks, cassette tapes, all the way to YouTube. He often would play along on his fiddle, a skill inherited from his father. And he loved to dance. At weddings, community dances, or Ukrainian festivals he would be out on the dance floor, loving every moment. A small-town boy at heart, he loved the Rossburn area. He was active in the community, joining various committees, and spending time as a town councilor. He was also active in the church and member of the Knights of Columbus. Most of all, he loved Mom, cherished her, depended on her, and treasured her. Shared a lifetime of 52 years together. Quite the adventure. Your journey has come to an end. You fought a long, difficult battle with cancer, but now it’s time to sleep. Rest in peace, Dad. You will always be Precious to us.
I would like to thank family and friends who have meant so much to Dad during his life, and continued to show support after his passing. Thank you.
To send flowers to Joseph's family, please visit our floral store.
Expanding Community Cancer Care c/o Russell Health Centre
Bag Service 2, Russell MB R0J 1W0