Portland- Wladislaus John "Mike" Kazilionis, 90, passed away on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Maine Medical Center, surrounded by loving family members.
Mike was born in Portland, the second son of John and Mikalina Kazilionis, both of whom had emigrated from Lithuania. His family, which included his older brother Joe and younger brother Billy, lived on Salem Street in their three family home, overlooking Portland Harbor and the Million Dollar Bridge.
"Laddie," as he was called in his youth, became known as Mike when he attended St. Dominic Catholic elementary school in Portland. It was a name that stuck, as many assumed his birth name was "Michael." As a child, he became fluent in both English and Lithuanian. He and brother Joe continued to speak to each other in Lithuanian throughout their lives.
Mike attended Cheverus High School and following graduation, went to work for the Hub Furniture Company where he met his future wife, Una Lindsay.
Mike and Una's time together was interrupted by WWII, when Mike joined the United States Merchant Marine. He was stationed at Sheepshead Bay Maritime Station, where Mike was trained as a pharmacist mate, working ambulance duty on Staten Island.
During his years as a Merchant seaman and Ensign, he travelled extensively on the Liberty Ships the SS Alexander Hamilton, SS E.A. Christenson and SS William Dean Howells, providing care for the crew as the sole medical resource on board. Along with this duty, he served as Purser on the William Dean Howells.
In 1952 he married the love of his life, Una. Following the birth of their second child, they moved into a new house on Forest Avenue where they lived together until his passing. August 2012 marked their 60th wedding anniversary and the 70th year of their life together.
Mike who loved the city and sea, also found great joy in spending time at the Lindsay farm in Leeds, Maine, which became the summer meeting place for Una's extended family. He also enjoyed his friendship and conversation with Una's uncle, Dr. DFD Russell, for whom the Leeds, Monmouth and Turner medical centers are named.
Mike and Una were employed by Nelson & Small, Inc. in Portland where they worked for well over 50 years and formed many lasting friendships. Upon retiring from his role as vice president of the electronics division, Mike worked as an independent sales rep for Zenith Electronics Corporation. Also, Mike was past president of the Prides Corner Kiwanis Club and active in the Maine Innkeepers Association.
During their marriage, Mike and Una pursued their love of travel, initially as hosts on trips with Nelson & Small, then on their own to locations such as China, Australia, and Russia. He also used his travel opportunities to practice his use of other languages he knew but did not speak fluently.
Family was vitally important to Mike. He enjoyed time spent with his brothers and their children, as well as Una's many relatives. Both of Mike's parents had died before Mike was 23, and later in life, Mike sought information about family in Vilnius, Lithuania via contacts established with the Franciscan Monks at the monastery in Kennebunkport. He travelled three times to Lithuania to meet with relatives.
Mike had many interests that sustained him through his years. He was a voracious reader, particularly of world history, with a strong retention for facts and detail. At a very young age, he started collecting stamps, and became a lifelong philatelist, frequently attending local stamp shows. Mike loved to visit antique stores and flea markets, where there was always a treasure, in the form of a serving dish for Una, a toy for a grandchild or an old book for him to read.
His family will remember him as having a great wit and winning smile. He was the first birthday call of the day to children and grandchildren, singing his baritone version of "Happy Birthday." He was grateful for family, friends and his life with Una.
Along with his parents, Mike was pre-deceased by his brothers Joseph and Vincent ("Billy"). He is survived by his wife, Una, his son Stephen H. Kazilionis of Portland, daughter-in-law, Laurie Orfaly Kazilionis, granddaughters Danielle and Dayna, and grandson Mark and longtime girlfriend Hannah McComish; his daughter, Susan Kazilionis Murphy of Byfield, Massachusetts, son-in-law Robert L. Murphy, Jr., granddaughter Jessica Murphy Shuttleworth, husband Adam, and great-granddaughter Addison, and granddaughter Jacqueline and fiancé Garret Cunningham; and his son Paul D. Kazilionis of Hobe Sound, Florida, grandsons Pierce and Paul II, and granddaughter Siri. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews, and their children and grandchildren.
Family and friends are invited to attend a time of visitation on Thursday March 7, 2013 from 2-4 & 6-8 PM at Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home 199 Woodford St. Portland. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday March 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 699 Steven's Ave, Portland. A graveside service with military honors will follow at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.
Donations in Mike's name may be made to the DFD Russell Medical Centers, 180 Churchill Road, Leeds, Maine 04263 or to Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation, 8 Sundance Lane, Newry, Maine 04261.