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 Maria Stefania Michalak

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Maria Stefania Michalak

Birth
Poland
Death 26 Jul 2015 (aged 90)
Winnipeg, Greater Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Burial Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown
Memorial ID 155707034 View Source

Maria Stefania Michalak passed away peacefully at St. Boniface Hospital after a brief battle with cancer on July 26, 2015, 10 days before her 91st birthday. Born in Poland on August 5, 1924, Maria showed musical talent and studied piano from the age of six. World War II ended her studies as her family was ousted from their home by the Nazis and shipped to an internment camp. At the age of 18 she worked with the Polish partisans as a courier and met her future husband, Stefan, who, as a former soldier, had joined the resistance. Stefan was caught by the SS and, through their association with him, Maria and her two sisters were arrested and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp for women in 1943 where they were among the fortunate to survive until their liberation in 1945.

Maria and Stefan were married in 1946 and had their first child - a daughter. Stefan continued his clandestine work as a partisan, this time against the oppressive communist regime. It was not long before he was forced to escape from Poland or risk arrest, leaving Maria pregnant with their second child - a boy. Having been whisked out of Europe by the U.S. Army, he settled in Saskatchewan and struggled to bring his family to Canada. Success finally came in 1957 when Maria and her two infant children arrived in this strange new country amidst what was, to them, an alien culture. The result of their reunion was a third child, their first Canadian-born son. Over time, Maria learned to love this country, and never pursued the possibility of returning to Poland for a visit. After seven years in Regina, the family moved to Winnipeg. Maria reinforced her love of music by becoming involved with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Women's Committee - an organization for which she was a devoted volunteer for more than 30 years.

Her passion for the piano followed closely behind her loving devotion to her family and the loyalty she extended to her friends. Born a Leo, Maria was the epitome of the very best traits associated with that astrological sign: she was a fierce defender of her home and family, placed value in the things that were important and shunned the frivolous, was always available to help when her friends needed it, stuck to her guns, and was an immovable force when she stood her ground. She took responsibility for her family seriously and frequently reminded all around her that devotion to duty was honorable, though her blatant honesty was not always understood or appreciated. We will miss her love of a fine cup of coffee and the joy she was able to bring to everyone who listened to her play the piano.

She is mourned and celebrated by her daughter Ewa, son Stan, daughters-in-law Leslie and Sybil, granddaughters Christy (husband; Michael) and Marnie (husband; Mike), and great-granddaughters Maya and Alina. Maria was predeceased by her husband, Stefan, her eldest son Mark, and her sister Wiesia. Her younger sister Mira and extended family in Poland mourn her loss as a loving family member despite the vast distance between them. The family would like to thank the nursing staff of the St. Boniface Hospital for their kindness and compassion. Cremation had taken place.


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