Two days ago we lost a dear family friend - Serezha Shatskiy - he was a friend of my parents for over 50 years, he knew my grandparents, saw my brothers and me grow up. He supported us, challenged us, teased us, fought with us, worked with us, taught us. He was a part of our large family.
Always late to any gathering but always present at all the family celebrations, reunions, funerals, and just evening teas. Serezha was the one who was visiting my parents during the first days of the war with a tub of ice cream - it was the last thing left in the stores by then. But with his endless sense of humor, often dark, and often not politically correct, he reframed it: war or not war but girls deserve ice cream.
His apartment got damaged during the shelling of Kharkiv three times, yet he stayed in his cave of wonders filled with layers upon layers of musical instruments, equipment for repairing them, and antiques of all sorts. He stayed there until it was no longer possible to live like that. And as if that connection was what was keeping him alive, he expired just a few days after evacuation from Kharkiv.
Many people knew Serezha as a musical master who repaired and improved an endless number of all sorts of musical instruments. I know many guitars that went through his hands and many people who are very grateful. He was a multi-talented person with an endless fascination with the world and the ability to support curiosity in himself and others. When I wanted to learn more about the cello and how much Mstislav Rostropovich changed the world of this musical instrument, Serezha combined a huge collection of cello pieces for me to listen to. He was usually working during the night and boasted that he strived to be the first one to put a "like" on my art posts from across the world.
He is survived by family and friends dispersed all over the world and he will be dearly missed.
I last saw him in person when I visited my parents in 2021 - he greeted me with his decades-old greeting "здравствуй, Ниночка, что не день то картиночка".
Here is a sketch from that meeting, and below it, you will see a gift that I got from Serezha on that day - an antique pochade box that he restored for me. I asked my Dad and Serezha to make me a portable/lap easel for painting on location. When I was giving him my "requirements" he replied with the image at the very end of this post - commenting that he thinks that the bottom left corner contains just the right box as per my description - this was a typical дядя Сережа :)