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William (Vili) Cekuta | 1915 - 2014

September 17, 1915 - May 3, 2014

Joyfully we celebrate Vili's life achievements and sadly announce his passing in Toronto, in his 99th year at Dom Lipa Nursing Home - Slovenian Linden Foundation. Vili is fondly remembered by relatives and friends in Canada, Slovenia, Italy, Australia and USA. A man passionate about theatre and travelling, Vili loved his family and was loved by them; Vili is reunited with his wife Milena Cankar (deceased 1994).

He leaves his children Peter (Frances Babnik), Miriam (Julio Sousa), Ben (Maida Jeraj) and Aggie (Paul Elliot), along with his grandchildren Mark (Carmelina Simone), Marcel (Bernadette Goebel), Sonja (Ian Speare), Carmen (Kyle Cargill), Tanja and Isaac Sousa and Jake and Emma Elliot. He was a proud and loving great-grandfather to Isabella, Victoria and Alexander Cekuta, Austin, Ethan, Gavin and Logan Cekuta, Olivia and Ian Speare and Madison and Avery Cargill. We are especially grateful for the assistance of cousin Vida Grosl and sincerely appreciate the staff, personal support workers and nurses of Dom Lipa for the healthcare they provided Vili.

Born in Trst (Trieste), he spent his early years in Maribor. He completed his military officers' training with the Royal Yugoslav Army, graduated from University of Ljubljana with a degree in architecture and was employed by Ljubljana's municipal government. His love of dramatic arts led to his involvement in amateur theatre. In 1943 he married Milena, a radio personality and aspiring opera singer.

During World War II, Vili enlisted in the anti-communist Slovenian Home Guard as captain. He escaped from Slovenia in 1945 and settled in Gorizia and Trieste where he taught math, art and drafting in a technical college. He was a dramaturge with the Slovenian Radio Theater in Trieste. An avid writer and illustrator, Vili published various literary works. After immigrating to Canada in 1955, a move he never regretted, Vili worked for the Ontario Ministry of Government Services in architectural design, retiring in 1980. He remained an ardent member of the Slovenian community and taught Slovenian language acquisition.

He founded the Slovensko gledalisce (Theatre) and staged numerous productions from world-renowned classics and Slovenian dramatic literature. He particularly admired the works of William Shakespeare and T. S. Eliot. He was a longstanding member and a contributor of book nameplates to the International Ex-libris Society. Vili and Milena advocated and were influential in the appreciation and preservation of literature, theatre, music and Slovenian culture. Vili enjoyed travelling, mountain hiking and exploring various world sites.

His architectural designs are evident in numerous monuments, churches, businesses and residences located in Italy, Slovenia, USA and Canada. A kind and thoughtful man, who was grateful for his many blessings, Vili was an example of strength, perseverance and humility. He instilled a lifelong love for the arts in his children.

He lives on in us, filling our hearts with loving memories. We have chosen to honour Vili's life with visitations at Ridley Funeral Home, 3080 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Toronto on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m.

A Mass and celebration of life will be held at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal - Slovenian Church, 739 Browns Line, Toronto on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 11 a.m.

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