Alexandre ‘Alex’ N. Vinokourov

Alexandre N. Vinokourov, better known as Alex, passed away unexpectedly, Friday, July 24, 2020, in Merrill, WI of natural causes.   Alex was born in Siberia on January 31, 1980.  He journeyed to the United States around the time of his 18th birthday. How he ended up in Merrill is a mystery, but in his twenty-plus years here, he became part of the community and was known to many. Despite being thousands of miles from home, Alex always greeted a stranger with “Hello, my name is Alex” as he sought new friends.  We do know Alex’s father was a police officer in his native land. He was killed in the line of duty and his mother made arrangements, through religious charities, to send him to the United States for his own safety and also to further his education at a University in a nearby State.   When he arrived in Merrill, he quickly became friends with Wayne and Cheryl Ford, and especially their son, Jonathan, as he had reminded Alex of his nephew in Siberia.  Alex took pride in feeling like Jonathan’s big brother and, overall, being part of their family knowing he had a loving family here for him.  Over the years, Alex always sought comfort with the Fords during time of trouble and they were comforted by the fact that he always brought love, laughter, and caring to their home when he needed family the most.

Alex received assistance from several community members as he grew accustomed to his new home.  He had several jobs, first at Hurd Millwork, then Drew’s West and then Walmart.  He lived in the Cosmo Apartments for many years where the Lerch family kept watch over him.  Later on,  Alex worked at Ku’s Wokery and then Champs Restaurant where he formed a friendship with the Schwartzman family with whom he later lived.  After Champs closed, Alex found a job at the Friendship House where he worked in the kitchen and then in the front of the restaurant. Alex enjoyed interacting with people at the restaurant and always kept his customers happy.  No matter where Alex went, he always met friends and was very inquisitive about their lives. He especially liked to speak with law enforcement officers and looked up to many of them as father figures. It was not unusual for Alex, despite his meager means, to buy a struggling mother a turkey for her dinner table during the holidays or to buy some tired cop breakfast at the Friendship House with the last few dollars in his pocket.

In the last few years, Alex had several major medical issues that left him disabled.  A reserved person, he seldom sought help, even though many offered.  It was very appropriate his final moments on earth were spent with police officers trying to save his life, many of whom were his friends through the years.

Alex’s friends are trying to arrange a memorial service and internment at Merrill Memorial Park.  Anyone who knew Alex, knew he was very private as to his family and, unfortunately, we believe some of his close family members in Siberia have since passed and we have no way of locating his living siblings and relatives at this time.   For now, we felt it best to inter Alex in Merrill, a place that became his home away from home, a place that embraced him as a lost child, a place that he found peace, a place where he was blessed with many wonderful friends, and one that will always remember his smile that he freely passed onto others.

We suspect that Alex is survived by a sister and brother, we know Alex is survived by the community of Merrill, a community that he called home, and a community filled with many people that he called friends.

Generations Funeral Home & Crematory of Tomahawk is assisting.  You may view Alex’s obituary and leave online condolences at generationsfuneral.com.

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