Funeral services for Viktor Maass, 86, of Greenville will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, December 9, at First Presbyterian Church in Greenville. He died Tuesday, December 6, 2016, at his home. A visitation will be held at the church from 2 to 3 p.m. Burial will be in the Greenville Cemetery, under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
Viktor was born in Gross Tychow, in the German Province of Pomerania (now Tychowo, Poland) in 1930. After World War II, he moved with his family to Berlin. It was there that he became an apprentice blacksmith. This is also where he met Ursula, the woman who would be his wife for 58 years.
In 1956, Viktor made the decision to immigrate to America in search of a better life. Two years later, Ursula joined him. They married in Caile, Mississippi in 1958. And in 1964, they became US citizens.
Viktor held a variety of jobs in his early years in the United States, from working in a machinery shop in Caile to serving as a welder on the towboats of the Mighty Mississippi. In 1957, he joined Koestler Tile Co. in Greenville as a tile setter. He took his job quite seriously and strived to bring a level of old-world craftsmanship and artistry to all his work. His mastery is still visible in the mosaic façade of the WWII Veterans’ Memorial in Greenville—a 1963 project that brought him a profound sense of pride and love for the country that had made him feel so welcome. He remained at Koestler for the majority of his working life until he retired in 1995. Viktor was never particularly good at remembering people’s names. But if if he had worked in your home, he could recall, tile-by-tile, exactly what your bathroom looked like.
Viktor’s life is emblematic of the American Dream. He worked hard. He learned the language. He fell in love with Greenville and the Delta inhabitants who embraced him so warmly. He never even minded the heat. Viktor became a Southerner, but his German roots were always evident in his accent, as well as his love of soccer. He played a key role in founding the Delta’s first informal adult league and later, Greenville’s first youth soccer association.
Viktor was preceded in death by four brothers and one sister. He is survived by his wife, Ursula, daughter Debi Hendrix (Bobby), son Steven, granddaughter Madeleine, three sisters Vera Ohst of Easely, SC, Maria Sumerall of Hot Springs Village, AR, and Doris Endlicher of Vienna, Austria, and 8 nephews and nieces.
The family would like to express its thanks to Viktor’s many doctors and heath specialists, especially Dr. Michael Cirilli, whom he considered a true friend. Memorial donations may be made to the Greenville Youth Soccer Association, P.O.Box 873,Greenville,MS 38702.