Gardening for 90 years

John "Jay" Surufka, a 97-year-old Army veteran who served in World War II, plants cucumbers in one of the gardens at St. George Church in Tinley Park on May 29, 2020. Surufka has been gardening since he was 7 years old and plants a cucumber patch and other vegetables in the parish garden each year. The vegetables are donated to the Tinley Park Food Pantry. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Surufka plants cucumbers in a patch of St. George's garden on May 29. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Surufka poses with a giant cucumber he grew. St. George pastor Father Ken Fleck says the cucumber was 21 inches long and weighed over 7 pounds. “I joked with him that the cucumber weighed and measured about the same as me at birth. It took a whole week to eat that cucumber and it was sweet to the last bite,” Fleck said. (Photo provided)
Surufka is in the garden at daybreak planting and maintaining the plants. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Surufka uses a shovel (to his right) from his days in the Army during World War II to dig and to measure spaces between the cucumbers he’s planting. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Surufka poses with one of the giant pumpkins he grew in St. George’s garden in 2017. (Photo provided)