Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned nearly a century, Anna Gawarecki impacted the lives of those around her in such a special way. She was no stranger to hardship, but she faced whatever trials came her way with great resilience, strength, and grace. Anna was deeply devoted to her loved ones, and she was so grateful to witness her family tree blossom to include the branches of loved ones who made her so very proud. Deeply loved, Anna will be forever missed.
As tensions were front and center in Poland in the 1920s, there was great anticipation in the lives of Josef and Antonia (Hetman) Mariniski as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as summer was on the horizon in Buczek, Poland, in 1924. Their wait was finally over when the baby girl they named Anna drew her first breath on June 6th that year. She was one of three as she was joined in her family by her sister, Josephine, and her brother, Peter. Anna’s formative years were anything but easy as as corruption was rampant in the Polish government, and the Polish citizens faced great challenges. Anna spoke of a farm during her early years, and she also experienced a fire while living near Buczek. Sadly, her parents passed away early in her life as well.
From a young age, Anna was known for her determined strength. When she was 14, she was taken by the Nazis and sent to work camps. For a year Anna cooked in Latvia, and she went by truck to Russia to build roads. The road was littered with roadside bombs, and when one went off next to her truck Anna suffered an injury to her leg. Her friend then carried her, and for meals they got just one piece of bread with soup and coffee. They were also harassed by soldiers.
Thankfully, Anna was able to make it out of the work camp and then made her way Germany. Anna was able to find a house over a laundromat in Paderborn, Germany, with British soldiers. With the end of WWII in 1945, and the following April she was brought to the displaced persons barracks by British soldiers. There, she met and married Eugene Falasa in 1945, and together they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Jozefa, the following year.
Anna’s journey to America came to fruition in 1949 when her family of three took a transport ship from Germany to Boston, Massachusetts. They later made their way to Detroit, and although their marriage ended shortly thereafter in 1953, Anna was forever grateful for the daughter they shared. In 1954 Anna had a son, Antoni “Tony,” and she married John Gawarecki a few months later. During this time she worked as a cook and cleaning houses. It would be in 1994 that Anna officially became a United States citizen.
Although Anna faced great challenges, these challenges were a testament to just how strong she was. John died just 13 years after they married, and in 1978 she lost her son, Tony, to cancer. In her later years Anna had struggles while living in Detroit as she fell down some stairs, was held up by gunpoint, was hit by a car, had her garage catch on fire, and had both homes on the sides of her home fall victim to Arson.
There were so many things that kept Anna busy over the years. After the death of her husband she took a job as a windshield glass inspector at Chrysler until retiring in 1992. In 2012, Anna sold her home and moved to Farmington Hills where she remained for the four years that followed. She always loved hosting family and friends, and she never took even a moment’s break when hosting guests. Anna was a fantastic cook and cooked for all the holidays, and to this day the family treasures many of her most loved recipes. She loved all things Polish and loved to dance the Polka so much that she was always the last one on the dance floor at weddings. Anna also frequented Polish festivals and often spoke in Polish with her daughter although she spoke good English as well. When married to John, Anna was very social. After his death she gathered with family even more often. In 2016, she suffered some medical complications, which brought her to American House in Jenison. It was a memorable celebration earlier this year when Anna’s whole family celebrated her 97th birthday, including the grandchildren who live in California.
Outgoing, loving, and selfless, Anna Gawarecki was an extraordinary woman to know and love. She freely shared smiles and always gave the best hugs, and her love for her family was easy to see. Anna lived a life of purpose and made the most of each and every day she was given. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Anna Gawarecki, age 97 of Jenison and formerly of Detroit, passed away October 24, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband John Gawarecki, and by her son, Tony Gawarecki. Anna is survived by her daughter, Josephine Mondro of Commerce Township; grandchildren Philip Mondro, Jason Mondro, Rebecca Valko (Mondro), Tonia Boeye (Gawarecki), and Anna Gawarecki; great grandchildren Maya Boeye, Regina “Gina” Mondro, Ben Mondro, Thomas Mondro, Zack Valko and Ethan Valko. Cremation has taken place and a private gathering will be held.