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Robert Geza Kopasz

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Robert G. Kopasz
June 29, 1930–February 11, 2023

Robert Geza Kopasz passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 11, 2023, at his home. He was 92. years old. Family and friends will deeply miss this man who devoted his life to the service and care of others.

Robert, also known by several nicknames including Gus, Bob, and Bobby, is survived and loved by his children (and their spouses): Mark (Barbara), Marilyn, and Diane (Eric). He is forever remembered by his six grandchildren: Jessica, Lauren, Ryan, Christopher, Olivia, and Pauline, and his three great-grandchildren: Alexandra, Brooklyn, and Riley. In addition, his memory will be cherished by his lovely sisters Helen and Nancy.

Robert was predeceased by his teenage son Luke and his wife of 41 years, Patricia (nee, Namovicz). He grew up on the family farm in Nichols, a historic village in Trumbull, Connecticut, the second child of Helen (nee Pall) and Geza Kopasz, both of Hungarian ancestry. Robert was raised in the Orthodox Church and grounded in the belief that family is where life begins, and love never ends.

At 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and adopted the nickname Gus (a derivation from his middle name, Geza). A few years later, while stationed in Wyoming, Pennsylvania, he fell in love with the sister of a friend he met while playing baseball. After a short courtship, Gus married Patricia (who went by Pat).

He was in one of the first groups of Marines to hit the shores early in the Korean War. Lovingly raising their children, Pat would take the helm whenever Gus was deployed. In 1967, he was honorably discharged as a Sergeant. Afterwards, Gus and Pat settled in Alexandria, Virginia, allowing their four children to take root in a community. They found their parish family at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church, which served as a beacon to guide them toward a life centered on faith.

A skilled machinist, he was employed at several private companies and at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, from which he would eventually retire after years of commendable work. He was known for his scrupulous attention to details and made friends with many of his colleagues. Gus and Pat were a good pair. They were Pinochle teammates and had a standing Saturday game night
with Pat’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Ted Brezinski. Gus supported Pat’s sales career with Avon. Since she didn’t drive, he drove her and patiently waited for her in the car when she had large deliveries. He did his utmost to provide a warm home. His motto was: Always take care of your family first.

Some of his greatest joys came from his four children. They created many memories playing games, sharing stories, baking Hungarian nut bread, taking road trips to the Catoctin Mountain apple orchard, and attending many school-related activities. Throughout his life, Gus enjoyed playing and watching tennis, football, and golf. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Olympic games. He and Pat, and later, he and his older son Mark, enjoyed league bowling. He was always up for playing cards with family and friends, especially Cribbage and Pinochle. Gus was a curious man, always interested in learning about people and places around the globe. He had a lifetime subscription to National Geographic Magazine and read The Washington Post daily. He delighted in reading the Guinness World Records books, and recounted stories that fascinated him. Over the years, Gus built an extensive library of films, his favorite genres being science fiction and World War II documentaries.

He had a way with words. Some often heard expressions included: “I don’t raise mice” (i.e., I have no problem with that). “Time to take out the hammer” (meaning: it’s time to hit the road/leave). “Sheamus Monik Gliknik” (translation: unknown. We are still trying to figure that one out!) These and other expressions would confuse and delight. When one of his kids had a friend stay for dinner, he would offer them “a snort” (a small cup of Kool-Aid). He swiftly disposed of telemarketers by speaking in rapid Korean. He loved to tell a good joke, and he loved to hear a good joke. He enjoyed any music “that you could sing along to, whistle or tap your foot to the beat.” He was a master at making silly faces. While he had volunteered at St. Louis for decades, in retirement, he found great purpose in lay ministry. He served as reader/lector, a lay Eucharistic minister, and a sacristan. He especially enjoyed serving as a church usher when the St. Louis school children came for weekly mass. He was honored with a 50 Years of Service celebration at the church, yet he still had even more years to give as a volunteer.

St. Louis was his second home, and he loved his church family. Interestingly, while he was mainly referred to as “Gus” by family and colleagues, once he retired, he decided that “Robert” or “Bob” is what he preferred to be called, much to the confusion of his grown children. It was one of the many mysteries you had just accepted about the man. He treasured the friends he made as a member of the Knights of Columbus. He liked staffing the concessions area on Friday nights. He was proud and delighted to have his family join him at any St. Louis worship or fellowship events such as the school fun fair, spaghetti dinners or church picnics. Cheerful by default, he was never a complainer; although he had many crosses to bear. He supported his wife Pat through multiple illnesses, which often required him to take second and third part-time jobs to cover expenses. He and Pat lost their son Luke, who was killed in an automobile accident a few months after graduating high school. Years later, another head-on-collision took the life of his daughter-in-law, Debbie, and severely injured his first two grandchildren, who thankfully recovered. Just before he retired, Pat died from colon cancer at the age of 65. A decade later, numerous health crises began to take a toll on his health, but he was determined to keep going. He was a man with nine lives, often astonishing his doctors and the hospital staff by bouncing back against all odds. His legacy carries on, reminding us that we can respond to adversity with acts of love, humility, and courage, like Christ modeled for us. Many relatives told us that when Robert returned home from the Korean War he was a changed man. Unimaginable physical, mental, and emotional hardships stripped away his easy-going nature. However, over the years, that hardness softened, revealing a deeply caring man who greatly appreciated honesty,
love, and respect. He emphasized to his children the importance of seeing reality: seeing things as they are, not as you wish they were. He took every role he had seriously. He was a loyal Marine, a dedicated husband, and an unwavering servant to God and his church. He loved, guided, and supported his children the best way he knew. In every aspect of his life, Robert Kopasz embodied the Marine Corps motto: Semper Fidelis (always faithful).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Geza Kopasz, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Gathering

Thursday, February 16, 2023

3:30 - 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, February 17, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Interment

Friday, February 17, 2023

Starts at 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Reception

Friday, February 17, 2023

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Little Way Cafe (On the Church Grounds

2907 Popkins Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306

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