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252 Regent St.
Sudbury, ON P3C 4C8
Phone: (705) 673-9591
Fax: (705) 675-2998
Ilja Buz

Ilja Buz

Wednesday, July 27th, 1921 - Sunday, November 29th, 2020
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It is with deep sorrow that the Ilja Buz family siblings announce the death of their father, Sunday, November 29th, 2020 in his 100th year of life. He left this earth to meet his God and to reunite with his precious wife, Tamara, predeceased May 2015.
Ilja was born in a village not far from Komsomoloskoye, state of Chuvasia, Russia, to Alexei and Daria Antonov, and is survived by his sister Vera Antonov, Chuvasia. He is survived by his children: Irene (George Aniol) of Sudbury; Ludmila of London, Ontairo; Tatjana (Duncan Pitts) of Florida; Tamara (Peter Bolton) of Durham, Ontario; and Richard (Melissa) of California. Ilja is grandfather to Michael, Donna, Karen, Darrell, Jordan, Larra, Natasha, Rochelle, Natalia, Angelina, and Sophia; and great grandfather to Andrew, Matthew, Hannah, Joseph, Francis, Louis, and Helena.

After graduating from school in his village, Ilja continued his education in Cheboksary, Chuvasia, in Theatre Arts. While living in that city, which sits on the Volga River, he also worked as a broadcaster for a radio station until such time as he was drafted into the Russian army to serve in the Second World War.

Ilja was captured by the Germans and was a prisoner of war from 1941-1945. Upon his release, he met up with the American army and worked in their kitchen as a dishwasher, then was moved to Munich refugee camp until April 1947. Having escaped from this refugee camp, to avoid repatriation, Ilja made his way to Leige, Belgium, where he found work in a coal mine. It is here that Ilja met his wife, Tamara.

Ilja was determined to immigrate to Canada, a land of hope for his family. He worked hard in the coal mine for six years, saved his earnings, and finally saw his dream come true when he landed by ship in Quebec City in July, 1953. Travelling by train, he arrived in Sudbury with his wife and three daughters to a house arranged and prepared by a friend he had met in Germany. Ilja took odd jobs, including work in a lumber camp in Chapleau, until finally getting a job with Falconbridge in the smelter, where he worked for 30 years, retiring in 1984.

Over the years, Ilja took courses to enhance his communication skills and to provide him job opportunities on the side, fixing TVs and wiring homes. After retirement, at the age of 66, he bought a computer, took computer courses, and typed his memoirs. He was also inspired to take a course in religion at Laurentian University. A very bright man, Ilja learned well and flourished in his abilities to pick up more than half a dozen languages, some of which he picked up in Europe. He loved communicating by computer with distant relatives and friends in Siberia, Chuvasia, Russia, Canada, and the USA. Another hobby he enjoyed was gardening, which made him proud of what he was able to reap at summer’s end.

Ilja will be remembered for his love of family, his smile, sense of humour, wisdom, and his storytelling. His mind was sharp to the end of his time. He was a man of faith, and having experienced his war years at a young age, he realized he had nothing to fear about life and death. He knew his name was recorded in the Book of Life; God would share him with us and take him “home” at the appropriate time. He left a rich legacy and will be remembered and missed by all who knew him.

Funeral Service in the
R.J. Barnard Chapel
Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home
233 Larch Street, Sudbury
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 11am.
Friends may call from 4-8pm Tuesday and after 10am Wednesday.
Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Directives, 50 people or fewer permitted in the visitation room, and 80 or fewer in the chapel. Face masks are mandatory. For those unable to attend, the service can be viewed by livestream:
Interment in the Civic Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flower, anyone wishing to make a donation in Ilja’s memory can do so to All Nations Church Building Fund, where it will be gratefully appreciated. For donations or messages of condolence,
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 | 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home
    233 Larch St.
    Sudbury, ON P3B 1M2
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    and after 10am Wednesday
  • Service

    Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 11:00am
    R.J. Barnard Chapel
    233 Larch St
    Sudbury, ON P3B 1M2
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Gerald Lougheed , Jr.
  • Interment

    Civic Memorial Cemetery
    365 Second Ave N.
    Sudbury, Ontario P3B 3M4
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


Donations are being accepted for: All Nation's Church Building Fund.

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Private Condolence

Duncan and Tatjana Pitts and Darrell Butler

Posted at 01:02pm
Dad/Grandpa, Thank you for your love, wisdom, guidance and those wonderful life stories. We love you and miss you. Till we meet again in heaven.

3 trees were planted in the memory of Ilja Buz

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Eulogy Transcript

Posted at 05:56pm
EULOGY – Ilja Buz

A GOOD MAN is a gift to all who know him—he’s dependable like the sunrise, because his goodness springs from inner strength, not outward circumstances. A GOOD MAN spreads happiness everywhere he goes, and he leaves everyone he meets feeling a little better than they did before. He’s a pleasure to be around, an inspiration in good times and bad, a gift for all seasons… He’s a GOOD MAN.

That’s Ilja, our father.
Good morning, welcome and thank you for coming, and to those who are unable to be here with us, thank you for live streaming, even as far away as Russia. Thank you also for your support and prayers during our grief over the past two weeks. Unfortunately because of Covid-19 and border closures, our sister Tatjana and her family in Florida and our brother Richard and his family in California could not be with us here; however, they are live streaming as well.
We are celebrating Ilja’s life and the impact he’s had on our lives. Mom left us 5 years ago and now dad has left to join her, leaving 5 orphans behind. No matter what age, we 5 are still our parents’ children and we miss them greatly. Dad died of a heart attack, not Covid-19, thank goodness.
So… let me set the stage. Dad was actually born in 1920, not 1921. He’s definitely 100 years old. He changed his name and year of birth in order to avoid being repatriated to Russia because he feared that he would be sent to Siberia where he would be subjected to hard labor such as the uranium mines where, in fact, many perished. My dad also told me how many Russians, especially women who threw their babies and children into the Danube River as they were crossing in vehicles, then they themselves jumped in, committing suicide in order to avoid repatriation. Bodies piled up along the river. Men, too, jumped off trains on their way back to Russia. When I was young, I saw a movie about that and didn’t understand it. Now I do. The bottom line was … go back home and be accused of treason and pay the price in hard labor or run for your life and make the best of it. Why would anyone want to be subjected to this. So…. “Trust in God and paddle to the shore.” Ilja’s philosophy.
Ilja had a very interesting and long life. Much happened in his early toddler years between 1920-1922. During these early years dad was born as the Russian Civil War was ending and a famine was beginning, and gradually worsening throughout Russia. During that time USSR was established; the Communist Party of China was created; the Irish revolution was happening; the roaring 20s were roaring and the very first American pageant was born. Unfortunately there was also an outbreak of smallpox that literally ravaged throughout the villages in Chuvasia. Dad was about 3 years old when he got it. Many, especially children, died and many more were scarred for life like him. He told me how his whole body was consumed by smallpox and as his body was healing he ended up totally covered with scabs. His illness lasted about a month or so. As a result, he grew up scarred with a pitted face, and in later years as he aged, those pits gradually began to disappear little by little, probably due to sun exposure and weathering.
Dad talked quite a bit about his war experiences; his capture by the Germans; the German labor camp; his detainment in a refugee camp held by the Americans in Germany; and how he and three others escaped that camp in order to avoid repatriation which was very close at hand. Timing was everything.
So…. dad and his three buddies cased out the compound, the time that the spotlight took to go around the compound and where would be the best spot to escape. Our father found some object, I can’t remember now exactly what, but something to prop up the barb wire fencing high enough for the four of them to crawl under safely and run. When nightfall came around, he was the first and got through successfully and ran like the dickens. And to his surprise, he suddenly began to fall, roll, and bounce down the hill into a ravine. Of course he could not call out and warn the other three fellows because the American guards would be alerted. So guess what…? All three, one at a time, successfully got through the fencing and ran like the dickens and fell, rolled and bounced down the hill. Wow… what a wonderful and successful escape. We both laughed about his experience. They fled and for two solid days walked, finally arriving into Belgium.
Dad found employment with a coal mining company. That is also where he met our mother, a young 19-year old widow and her 12-month old daughter, Irene. Dad told me how sorry he felt for us, especially for mother’s situation … so young .. having to care for such a small child and all the while having to work to make a decent living. As a toddler, I don’t remember seeing him in the courtyard like I remember seeing other men who worked and lived there. However, I do have memories of him taking me past the kitchen where mother was working. I guess that was the start of our friendship. Father gave me a note he wrote to mother and asked me to deliver it to her. The rest is history.
Approximately 15 years ago mother told me how I seemed to be drawn to father when I was just a year old, seeing him in the courtyard of the coal mining company. He, of course, told me just in recent years after my mother’s passing: “why is this child following me around … constantly coming my way.” Personally, I don’t remember any of this. Mother also told me that because I always went to him and seemed to like him, she felt that he would be a good husband and father. If a child is drawn to this man, he must be a gentle and kind man with a good heart. Surely this child sensed this. The fact that he took advantage of the situation by asking me to deliver a note to her, and of course it resulted in a positive outcome, proved that he was the right man for mom and the right father for my sisters and brother.
One of my fondest memories was not only him taking me for bike rides but also a time we lived in Belgium in a farmland region with lots of orchards. Dad had permission to pick fruit off all the trees. One particular day I remember, dad had climbed up the cherry tree and shook it vigorously. Ludmila, mom and I ran excitedly around collecting cherries off the ground, and what a joyous time we had. Beautiful memories.
Since mom’s death, dad often shared memories and thoughts of his life with her. He said how hard he had to work in the coal mine, take on extra work to make extra money in order to save enough in hopes of immigrating to Canada. He had a vision. We were not sponsored and received no social assistance once we arrived to Sudbury. So you can understand how tough it was for him. Family was very important to him. Father said that he didn’t concern himself about getting rich in this land of opportunity. What was really important to him were the basic needs he wanted to provide his family.
Dad told me about his various part-time jobs that included construction work; painting Inco homes; unloading supplies from trains; working with railway ties at the railway station which was the toughest job; and working for a logging company in Chapleau for 95 cents per hour.Then finally a light at the end of the tunnel: he got a job with Falconbridge Smelter, wages now increased to $1.50 per hour.
While working at Falconbridge, dad also took courses in electrical wiring and television repair where he used his skills to make extra money. Later he took a first year university course in religion that he thoroughly enjoyed. Life was challenging, life was simple, and God was good to him. All in all, dad succeeded in raising us with mom, providing for us to make sure our basic needs were met. I think we all came out OK.
Many of you also know that he enjoyed gardening with mom and reaping the abundance of their garden even to the end of his life this year. The last couple of years, at least, he was kept busy and it gave him some pleasure to see his garden grow. AND… he liked to snooze in the back yard or on the deck in the sunshine. He loved his summers and he looked good and healthy. I have to say that he was also blessed with the nicest neighbors who looked out for him, checked in on him, picked up his mail, brought out his garbage, pushed mounds of snow to the side, shoveled his steps & walkway, often beating me or George to the steps.
Because of dad’s history, he decided to type up his memoirs, both in English and Russian, which are presently being edited by our sister Tatjana. Several years ago, dad was interviewed by Northern Life for a Remembrance Day edition. That interview was printed up in the Northern Life newspaper and was also posted as a live interview on YouTube which can still be found today.
One thing I can say is that God was always included in our family. As a young child, I remember our parents taking Ludmila and me to an Orthodox Church in Belgium. When we came to Canada we continued to go to different churches, depending where we lived in the Sudbury district. But it was All Nations Church that clenched it for us. I was told that Ludmila introduced my parents to this church, then my parents introduced me to All Nations. It’s approximately 50 years that the Buz family has been with All Nations Church.
We love our father for who he was, what he personally went through and survived, his colorful life, and the philosophy he imparted to all of us. Dad told me that the first time it hit him that God was real and had a plan for his life was when he was lying on the ground, German planes flying overhead and bullets hitting the ground. He survived but many did not. At this point in time he realized that he was under God’s protection; God was with him this whole time; God had a purpose for his life and ours. He knew his destiny was in God’s hands, and so he never worried. Hence his long life. Ilja’s name was and is written in God’s Book of Life.
What I learned is that we …my sisters, brother and I….. are borrowed to this earth, to our family …. and yours. God only loaned our parents to us for a time, and what we do with that time is our gift from God.
Ludmila, Tatjana, Tamara, Richard and I are very fortunate to have had our father as long as we did. In fact, we have been blessed to have had both parents as long as we did.

This is a short verse from the Bible, Malachi 4:6 that I really love….
He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.

God bless everyone of you.

~~~~Irene Aniol
December 16, 2020

I forgot to mention that Ilja also volunteered with the Multicultural Department to be the interpreter for any Russian delegation that arrived to Sudbury. There were several: World Junior Olympics in 1988; Moscow Symphony performance in Sudbury; Belarus Children with their official escorts arrived several times to Sudbury.

Janet mcgeein

Posted at 07:03pm
Irene ,George and family, We are so sorry for your loss,🙏🙏🤗🥰 to all of you. Our hearts go out to you,may your dad Rest In Peace,Sincerely Lloyd and Janet🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🥰

Garth Wunsch

Posted at 09:23am
Ilja, you’ve reached the other shore! I never got to know you very well, but you always had a big smile and a kind response. Thank you! I always felt a kinship with you... perhaps because of my Eastern European roots. Until we meet again my brother...

To Irene, George, and all the family I never met... treasure all that Ilja and Tamara gave you. They are gifts many never receive.

Diane Ikonen

Posted at 10:58pm
Dear Members of the Buz Clan, Our Family friendships were fostered as we grew up in Minnow Lake, interacted, and watched our lives unfold. At All Nations Church I was blessed to get to know Tamara and Ilja much better and to enjoy visits to our homes where I was fascinated to learn about their Family History. When teaching Grade 12 History at St. Charles College, Ilja accepted my invitations to speak about WW2 and the Cold War. He ended each visit by writing on the blackboard ...."Trust in God, and paddle to the shore". It will always be one of my favourite sayings. God bless the wonderful Buz/Antonov Clan.

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