CHEYENNE — Ervin Podrabinsky of Vsetin Czech Republic was born December 5, 1931 in Jasina Czechoslovakia, which became part of the USSR.
He was young when Hitler took over the country and incorporated part of it into Nazi Germany. Because his mother was Jewish he was forced to wear the Star of David and lost most members of his mother’s family in the concentration camps.
Luckily his father was Catholic so he was allowed to be baptized as Catholic, which more than likely saved him from the concentration camps and extermination like so many others suffered during this horrible time.
It was during this period Ervin witnessed the horrors of war and would often quote Hitler saying “Give me ten years and you won’t recognize Germany”.
Ervin would say it didn’t take ten years for the Americans and British to give Hitler his wish. It only took a few years and no one could recognize Germany.
He loved the United States and would often say “It is the greatest country in the world.” He never lost sight of his love for this Country and his dream was to leave Czechoslovakia to become a U.S. citizen.
Ervin attended college and in 1963 graduated from the Czech Mining Geology Faculty College with a degree in Mining Engineering.
Ervin met and married his wife Gabriella on September 8, 1964 in the town of Kosice. Gabriella and her family were refugees from Budapest, Hungary and had come to New York some 20 years earlier.
About one year later Gabriella brought Ervin to the Unites States and they moved west where Erv took a mining engineering position with Standard Metals in Silverton, Colorado.
Ervin worked for a number of companies and the Federal Government including Mine Safety and Health Administration, Minerals Management Service and ultimately retired from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) where he worked in both Cheyenne and Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Ervin was preceded in death by his wife Lee who lost her battle with cancer on October 10, 2008.
He was a resident of Laramie County and lived east of Cheyenne for over 30 years. In September of 2015, he married his college sweetheart Inge Marie Kozlovsky from the town of Vsetin in the Czech Republic and returned there in 2016 to live out the remainder of his life.
On December 3, 2018, Ervin broke his leg from a fall. Sadly, Ervin passed away on January 26, 2019 at the age of 87 after his weak heart stopped, having suffered a massive heart attack that occurred several years earlier while he was still in the US.
Ervin will be fondly remembered by all of his friends, neighbors and coworkers at the BLM for his kindness, generosity and stories of before and after coming to America.