Our loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother-in-law, and friend, Henry Z. Oprawski, passed away on Sunday, January 9, 2011, at the age of 79. He suffered a heart attack at Medford RVMC and died in the presence of his wife, Grazyna, and her sister, Elizabeth. Henry was born on
November 9, 1931 in Warsaw, Poland. While growing up in his native homeland, Henry began working on cars at 15. He attended mechanical college in Warsaw, and at a very young age, became master mechanic and inventor while rebuilding his country's war-torn bridges and serving in the army.
Witnessing the atrocities of World War II, being orphaned by his mother, and surviving the Cold War era in Poland, caused Henry to develop a very strong character, independence, will to overcome all obstacles, and yet, to have a good sense of humor and love of people and all living creatures. He had a car business in Warsaw, but in 1969, he had to leave Poland, and obtained political refugee asylum in Italy. During his eight months in Rome he befriended Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II. Henry, alone with no English and just $30 in his pocket, immigrated to the U.S.A. in 1970, to the East Coast, and then moved to Los Angeles, Calif., to start a foreign automotive service shop.
In 1988, he found his perfect wife, Grazyna, in Poland. In 1991, they settled in Southern Oregon in Ashland, because "they love the people, the climate, the small town feel, and mountain lakes and rivers," so Henry could do what he loved, fishing. He was a fishing derby champion at Copco Lake on Upper Klamath River.
Also in 1991, he opened Henry's Foreign Automotive
Service, in Phoenix, Ore., which is still run by his family. Henry was living his life to the fullest. He was very active
until his last day. Henry was always in such healthy shape and had a vigorous attitude. His passing was very
unexpected and saddening to all his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2011, at the Our Lady Of The Mountain Catholic Church, in Ashland, Ore., at 2:00 p.m. We also invite all friends to the reception after the Mass, at Henrys home, 1019 Canyon Park Drive, Ashland, Ore.