In Memoriam
19th June 2011
VYTAUTAS JONAS PATAŠŠIUS 1930.8.31 – 2010.6.16
Vytas Pataššius
A year ago on June 16th, 2010, very suddenly and unexpectedly one of the noblest of Australian Lithuanians departed this world. Vytautas Jonas Pataššius was a quiet, modest, educated man, who all his life devoted to Lithuanian causes.
His father was an army officer and a doctor and his mother a high school foreign language teacher. When Russians occupied Lithuania, his parents were deported to Siberia and their fate is unknown. Vytautas was brought up and cared for by his aunt. He graduated from high school in the Detmold DP camp, which was in the British occupation zone in Germany. He came to Australia in 1948 and, like so many other Lithuanians, had to fulfil a two-year work contract, for which he worked at the Concord Repatriation Hospital. Initially he studied chemistry at the University of Sydney, but later moved to the University of NSW, where he graduated with B.Com. degree (economics and commerce) in 1962. He worked for International Harvester all his life, eventually becoming chief accountant.
Vytautas loved chess and had won various championships, including the title of NSW master. He became interested in history while still at high school, due to the influence of his history teacher Marija Gimbutas, who later became a world famous archaeologist. He became the leading expert in Lithuanian history, certainly at least in Sydney.
Launching the V.Pataššius Lithuanian Studies Scholarship:
Ona Maksvytis (second from left) with (L-R) Eoin Breen,
Dr.Algis Tašškūnas and Michael T Weitnauer
from the University of Tasmania
From the first day of arrival in Australia he was present at almost every Lithuanian function. He served on the Federal Executive of the Australian Lithuanian Community a number of times, was a long-term member of the Auditors’ Commission of the Australian Lithuanian Community of Sydney. He devoted many years to the Lithuanian community weekly “Mūsų Pastogė“ – administrating, contributing, proofreading and as President of the Lithuanian Community Publishing Society. This newspaper was like part of his family.
On June 25 last year he was farewelled for his last journey at St. Mary’s chapel at Sydney Rookwood crematorium. After the farewell addresses, the coffin descended with ‘Lietuva Brangi’ being quietly played. Tears glistened in the eyes of many there gathered when the Lithuanian national Anthem was sung, saying goodbye to Vytautas Jonas Pataššius - the calm, quiet person, who worked with dedication over the years, radiating love for Lithuania.
In memory of Vytas Pataššius, Mrs. Ona Maksvytis has made a bequest of $8,000 to The University of Tasmania to establish the V.Pataššius Lithuanian Studies Scholarship, which will be offered to students undertaking honours or postgraduate studies in an area that has a focus on Lithuania. This will be a fitting way to remember Vytautas, who was passionately fond of history, the love of which was instilled in him by his former history teacher, Marija Gimbutas.

Algis Bučinskas