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Sergey was born to the family of Nina and Ivan Gashnikov on September 24, 1962.
He was he fourth and youngest child. When Sergey was only 6 years old, his mother died; since the father didn’t greatly indulge or spoil Sergey, he taught himself to be independent and responsible.
At age 16, Sergey entered school where he studied auto mechanics.
In 1981, Sergey was drafted into the army - he served and worked for two years at a military base.
After the army, Sergey worked part-time at the Almata bazaar where Valentina, mother of his then-future wife, Lyubov Pikalova, worked at the same table. One day, Valentina asked Lyubov to help and look after the goods in the bazaar. She went away for awhile, hoping that Sergey will pay attention to Lyubov. She was not mistaken! When Sergey saw a young girl with a bewildered look in her eyes and little skill in selling, he courageously took charge while joking and putting her at ease. Sergey then decided that Lyubov was the girl of his dreams. She liked him too. Almost every day, Sergey met her after her college classes or late work shifts to walk her home. He wanted to do everything for her.
Later, Sergey proposed to Lyubov and she said yes. Their wedding was celebrated on June 2nd, 1984. It was a beautiful and memorable day of their life.
In 1985, their first daughter, Nina – named after Sergey’s mother, was born to much adoration by her parents. And, in 1987, the Gashnikov family bought their first house in Kazakhstan. Sergey loved to work in the garden and help Lyubov around the house. He did it all with passion, care and from the from the bottom of his heart.
Their second daughter, Anna was born in 1991 followed shortly by their third, Sandra, in 1993. Sergey was a strict but gentle father; he listened to his daughters, offered advice and knew how to properly communicate with each.
When Sandra was just 4 month old, the Gashnikov family immigrated to the United States, where Sergey continued to provide care for his beloved family, despite hardships that accompany migration to a new country and a lack of knowing the language. If there were any difficulties, he absorbed them onto himself so that his children and wife would not suffer. He made his family feel safe and secure.
He almost immediately found work, while Lyubov was a stay-at-home mother taking care of their children. Sergey was the sole provider of the household for many years.
Despite the many hurdles, Sergey graduated from American River College with a degree in auto mechanics. He was focused on his career up until the end.
Sergey loved sports and trained in Teakwondo and boxing, as well as taking an interest in bodybuilding. He was often found early mornings training.
When Sergey’s grandchildren were born, he cherished them in a true grandfatherly manner, showering them with attention and gifts. He not only loved the role of grandfather but played it well.
In April 2018, Sergey injured his back at work and he began to seek treatment. After a short period of time, Sergey began to feel pain in his heart and overall fatigue. Visits to doctors yielded no conclusive results and Lyubov begged him to go to different specialist – a trip that resulted in an immediate redirecting to the emergency room and, shortly after, the intensive care unit.
It was determined that Sergey had internal bleeding amongst a collection of additional issues. It was too late. With his last trip to the hospital, Sergey knelt to his knees and prayed:
“Lord, I call on you. I am sorry for all that I did, and the things I did not have time to do. What was bad, wash me with Your pure blood. If I did something, it was not intended. Lord, count me amongst Your children and forgive me for everything. Thy will be done for all, Amen.”
Sergey also prayed for his children and for Lyubov, so the Lord would not leave them; he understood he may not return from the hospital to be his family’s strength again.
Sergey left peacefully and calmly. You could read his love for Lyubov, children and grandchildren through his lips. He was at peace and ready to transition from this life to the next.
On November 1st, 2018, Sergey’s heart stopped beating.
“Go with peace, my love. We will see you soon!”