Stasia (Stanislawa) Janina Malaszewski, aka “Babcia” February 19, 1929 - June 17, 2020 A true survivor ever bound to her faith in God and a love for her family. Our beloved Stasia, also known as “Babcia” to many, passed away peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday June 17, after three months of repeated and increasingly difficult complications from degenerative heart disease, compounded with the inability to physically connect with her loved ones due to the COVID pandemic, which was so much a part of her intrinsic nature. As the true survivor she was throughout her life, she fought to keep her boundless hopes up and her undying faith in God alive until the very last few days, when her body simply could go no more. Stasia was born Stanislawa, an only child, to Leon and Bronia (Borkowska) Kubilus in Suwalki, Poland in 1929. When she was a toddler, her father had a stroke, leaving him paralyzed and bed-ridden for the last eight years of his life. When she was ten years old, as World War II took hold and Germany invaded Warsaw, German soldiers came and took her to work for the first of three German families as nanny and cook for the next six years of her life forcing her to forego her own schooling and many freedoms. “I remember walking along the river with a bottle of milk hidden in my sweater. If they catch me, they shoot me.”
When she was 18, she married Roman Malaszewski. Their first son died in infancy, the next son died at only two years old. They had three more children during a marriage that lasted 20 years, until his death at an early age. The first of the three children was their daughter Elzbieta (Ella) Stolecka, who now lives in Poland again after several years in the U.S. She had two children of her own. She lives near her daughter Agnieszka and her son Jakub. And Ella’s (late) son Mariusz, who lived in IL and is survived by his beloved Anna, and their son Adrian (and fiancé Katie) who all remained very close with Stasia. Their second beloved son was (the late) Jerzy, who is survived by his wife Anna and their son Andrzej and his family, who are in England. Their third of the three and the youngest, was (the late) Zbigniew (Zbyz or Gary), who came with her to the US at the age of six in 1969. He is survived by his beloved wife Dawn and their daughter Abigail, who remained very close with Babcia as well.
Stasia’s family tree is peppered with loss and distance but also a tethered bond of love, faith, resilience and generosity by her example that has built and maintained her network of close connections for so many years. …And extended family. Stasia also is survived by several cousins in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she first landed upon arrival in the US. She worked in different factories for several years doing everything from sewing baby pajama booties to wrapping little motors with wire and layering metal sheets - perfectly, of course. “The overseer ask me if I have good eyes, I say no! But I have good glasses!” And then she found work as a “cleaning lady” as they called it then in the late 70s but she might be better entitled as Housekeeper Specialist and Inspector. And she also found more connections - dear lifelong friends and her adopted family - the Marchi’s. She started as clean- ing lady when they were just babies but quickly became entwined in their family tapestry and when their mother passed away when the kids were 12 and 13, Babcia moved in and pulled the family together. She will always be Babcia to Michaela and Michael Paul and their families as well. In between hard work and making a life for herself and her son, she always sent goods and whatever she could to her family back in Poland.
Later on, she traveled quite a bit. She loved a good cruise, loved to be in nature, loved to visit family and friends in different places and see and learn new things. She taught herself English and although she never learned to write in English, she loved reading novels! She loved a good bargain but always looked elegant and coordinated so perfectly. She was very frugal and practical and always shared whatever she had. If you ate with her, you know her cooking was unsurpassed. And she had such a sweet tooth. She often became nostalgic about eating a spoonful of sugar whenever she could as a child as it was often hard to come by. She loved to recite Polish proverbs and sing children’s songs, and was just smitten with a baby’s presence. She loved things to be just so - clean, bright, ironed and put away properly. “Done well or not at all.” She was definitely shaped by the circumstances of her upbringing but also found a way to persevere with a code of unassuming generosity and forgiving for anyone she met. While she may have had some regrets, she held no grudges. She was patient and kind and her love knew no boundaries. She always tried to make the best of things. She was resilient. “I would have had my own restaurant if I could learn how, or I’m good in sewing, every machine! But I never think about what I want to do. Never. I just thinking how to work to feed myself, my son. I just go and find something in garage sale and come home and just think where I can put it on and I’m so happy, everything make me happy. Everything.”
There will be a small visitation at her cherished St John Vianney church at 46 North Wolf Rd in Northlake, IL for only 30 minutes at 9:30am on Wednesday, June 24th with a traditional mass immediately following. Guests must follow CDC regulations, wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. She will be buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery at 1400 S Wolf Rd, Hillside, IL next to her sons and grandson. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Heart to Heart International, an organization that has launched international, domestic and local responses to COVID-19. Link: https://www.- hearttoheart.org/hhi-responding-to-covid-19-updates/
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