There are times when we need to recognize non-Estonians, who have positively impacted our communities. This would be the case on October 12, when Casimir Martin Zacharski, Jr., a true friend of Estonians, turns 90.
To mark this occasion, I could write about his growing up in Baltimore as a son of a Polish-American couple, whose parents on both sides had come from Poland; his pride and appreciation of his Polish heritage and language, which he has retained to this day; his graduation from the renowned City College high school, the Loyola College ( later known as Loyola University), and the University of Maryland Law School; his service during World War II in India and the Philippines as a US Army Signal Corps officer; his work at the highly respected law firm O’Connor and Sweeny, where he later became a partner; and his participation in the activities of his church. But I won’t, because of limited space. Instead, I will write about his contributions to our community and about Casimir as a person.
Casmir has been a constructive member of our community for many years. He was introduced to the Baltimore Estonians by his wife Juta (Ne. Vaska), whom he met through mutual friends more than 50 years ago. After they married on July 14, 1961, Juta moved from New York to Baltimore and we gained two valuable members.
Soon Casimir was a familiar figure at most of our social and cultural events and in time, while keeping his Polish ties intact, became one of us. A lover of music and a student of the violin for a good part of his life, he often shared his talent with us. We can all recall the many times his performances enriched the services in our church.
As a lawyer, Casimir has frequently assisted us in legal matters, voluntarily providing valuable advice to our local organizations and members of our community. He was also instrumental in writing the charters and bylaws of charitable and umbrella organizations of the wider Estonian-American community. These efforts on behalf of the Estonian diaspora in the United States were recognized by President Rüütel, who in 2004 awarded him The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Maarjamaa Rist).
I have come to know Casimir as a very cultured person with a wide range of interests and sound judgment. But what I appreciate most about him is his integrity and good will toward others. He is one of the kindest, fairest and most considerate people I have met in my long life. One could not hope for a better friend.
On behalf of his countless Estonian friends, I want to thank Casimir for his dedicated support of the Estonian community in the United States and wish him a Happy Birthday! May God continue to bless him and Juta through the years ahead!
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