In Memory

Angeline A Dzierla (Michalak) - Class Of 1939 VIEW PROFILE

Angeline A. Michalak

March 16, 1920 - Oct. 21, 2020

GRANGER, IN - How does one tell the experiences of a 100-year life story of a woman who was very proud of her Polish Heritage, its history and culture, and of her parents who came to America from Poland in order to start a family and make a life for them in the Land of Opportunity.

Angeline Antionette was born to Francis and Antionette Dzierla, the 6th of 8 children born here in South Bend, and lived here all of her life.

Going through three years of depression, experiencing epidemics that quarantined the whole family, and four brothers going to war did not seem all that bad growing up, due to her parents and older siblings working and contributing to the family, making these times, in her eyes, not a hardship.

Polish was spoken at home until she attended Linden School, learning English and coming home to teach her parents as well. An excellent student and very athletic all through grade and high school, she graduated in 1939 from Central High School with excellence in math, English, and business.

She began her first real job with the Northern Indiana Wholesale Company as the bookkeeper. As a young woman in her 20's she joined the Fraternal Organization of the Polish Heritage of America known today as Z.B. Falcons, to establish camaraderie with young adults and practicing in the dances, singing groups, bowling league, and all various club activities. Lo and behold, that is where she met her dear husband, Albert, whom she married May 30, 1946 at St. Stanislaus Church, wearing her “Unique” wedding gown; a seamstress in her own right, she and her mother made her gown from two silk parachutes sent to her from her brother in Japan serving in the war. Gowns were hard to come by in those days, she told her brother through letters, and it was his idea and talent that made it happen. It took over three months to make the gown (which is a story in itself) and it was the talk of the neighborhood as she walked to church through her neighborhood to be married on that day.

Mom & Dad were very active with Falcons, both receiving the organization's highest award, the “Legion of Honor” Gold Cross for their years of dedication, work, and community involvement. As of January 2020 Angie was recognized as an 80+ year member.

Having mastered her speaking talent during all these years, she became a Toastmaster, opening banquets, political occasions, and special events, always preparing herself for what the event was about, and studying those involved; plus, she had a voice that carried.... rarely did she need a microphone, which lead to her singing at many of these events, opening the programs with the Star-Spangled Banner & God Bless America, many times leaving you with goose bumps.

Her retirement came after 25 years with the Indiana Department of Revenue in the Marycrest Building. During these years as well, mom & dad were able to travel to Poland visiting relatives; her parents were never able to go back. Traveling with friends, going to conventions, always part of the Polish Heritage Community, the South Bend Ethnic Festival Committee, and Memorial Day Parade, and bringing the Polish Dance Group to the Morris Civic twice from Poland, she was very dedicated to her Heritage and Culture.

Forever Learning became a great place to be involved, taking water color classes and at the time, Polish History classes, where she was asked many times to be a speaker and did speak in the Polish Language.

Our family home built on the Old US 20 across from the airport closer to the bypass was bought out in the 1980's by the airport for the Air Rights. We had a view of the lights every night and could almost see downtown South Bend.

Now a new neighborhood, wonderful neighbors, and friends who loved to hang out with mom and couldn't wait to see “Ms. Angie” in her yearly always-something-of-a-surprise costume.

The Center of History/Copshaholm became a wonderful volunteer job for 15 years. She became a docent for the “Workers Home” on the Oliver Mansion Property speaking to many people and school groups. Many times, she would “go off script” & speak in Polish to explain how life really was for families during those times, and did so until she retired at the age of 94.

Finally, the days of sitting on her front porch on her rocker with her four-legged companion “Stasha”. Albert no longer at her side, he preceded her in death in January of 2005. She always had a hello, a wave, and conversation to those walking by; and so, another chapter in life began.

She is survived by her daughter, Camille (Philip) Bujeker of Granger, and a son, Philip (Lyn Liu) Michalak; grandsons, Adam (Victoria) Bujeker of Georgia, and Ryan Bujeker and partner Jason Olin from California; great-grandchildren, Lain, Clara, Clancy, & June of Georgia; her last remaining brother, John Dzierla of South Bend; cousin, Trudy Strantz of Mishawaka; sister-in-law, Julie Michalak; and many nieces and nephews; she felt honored to be their Aunt.

To her wonderful neighbors throughout the years who were like family, giving help and companionship -- especially Sally, Carol, Connie, and Marilyn; and to Heritage Pointe, where she received the care she needed these last two years to live out her life, especially during this Covid time, we thank you all.

As always MOM “Dowidzenia” (in Polish), until we meet again. Your life here on this earth was very wonderful, rewarding, and in our hearts, and you will never be forgotten.

Visitation for Angie will be 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Monday, October 26, 2020 in St. Joseph Funeral Home, 824 S. Mayflower Rd., with a Funeral Service to begin at 1:00 pm. Entombment will take place at St. Joseph Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers memorials contributions in Angie's name may be made to Polish Falcons of America Scholarship Fund, 1016 Greentree Rd., Suite 201, Pittsburg, PA 15220-3125; ZB Falcons, Nest 80, Building Fund, 323 S. Sheridan, South Bend, Indiana 46619; or the Sylvester & Tessie Kaminski Foundation Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 4339, South Bend, Indiana 46634-4339. Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, social distancing and masks will be required.

Condolences to the family can be made at www.sjfh.net.

 

 

Published in South Bend Tribune on Oct. 23, 2020.

10/23/2020 JFC





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