Born in 1946 in Bratislava, Slovakia, Lubomir Kotzig moved to Canada with his parents in the late 1960s, shortly after the city became the capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic, one of the two states of the federalized Czechoslovakia. Diagnosed with an incurable condition even before leaving his native country, Lubomir's declining health left him handicapped and susceptible to many ailments. In spite of this, he remained self-sufficient and worked for many years as a librarian, first in St. Catharines and Ottawa, then in Montreal where he and his parents moved in 1968, with a home near the Jewish General Hospital. Over the years, he underwent several operations and was ultimately confined to a wheelchair. He relied heavily on local health services for support and care, and received most of his care at the JGH.
Lubomir was passionate about European history, and when he wasn't delving into history books, he spent most of his time collecting stamps and looking at his family album. While he lived quite frugally, he was a proud and conscientious Canadian citizen who was steadfast in his commitment and service to the community. He performed a lot of volunteer work, notably for the Constance Lethbridge Foundation, and he made regular donations to various charities. He was also a long-time donor to the JGH Foundation, contributing small amounts in response to the annual appeal every year since 1993.
Upon his death in 2009, it was discovered that Lubomir had provided a generous bequest to the JGH Foundation in his will. “Lubomir never married and had no children," say Eugenie and John Atkin, Lubomir's close friends who also acted as liquidators of his estate. “After making provisions for a few close relatives still living in Slovakia, his overriding wish was to give back to the people and institutions that helped him during his life. He felt most strongly about supporting the JGH, which had cared for him and on which he relied more and more as his health kept declining. In fact, he was afraid that the remainder of his estate might not be sufficient for the JGH and he took the step of including minimum amounts in his will to avoid that possibility. That's how much he appreciated the JGH and the care he received."
Lubomir Kotzig's bequest represents a lasting legacy of his life and his commitment to the well-being of the community. Through his will, Lubomir is continuing to make a difference, ensuring that the outstanding, compassionate care he received at the JGH will benefit others today and for generations to come. The JGH Foundation is deeply honoured to be the recipient of this life-affirming gift.