May 8, 1926 – March 10, 2019
On March 10, 2019, Natalia Wojciechowski (née Sesetko) passed away in her home in Austin, Texas, at the age of 92, surrounded by her family. She lived an extraordinary life, working hard and loving even harder.
Natalia will be warmly remembered by her daughters, Grace (Kari) Karhi and Elizabeth (Darrell) Schulte, as well as her grandchildren, Jeanette (Drew) Horn, Ryan and David Karhi, and Natasha (Allen) Brzykcy. She joins her husband, Roman Wojciechowski, her sisters Helen Kontek and Nadia Sesetko, and her brother Gregory Sesetko.
Natalia was born in a rural village in southeastern Poland on May 8, 1926. She was just a teenager during World War II when the community was rounded up by the Nazis and taken to a prisoner labor work camp near Leipzig, Germany, to build airplanes. When the camp was liberated by the Americans, Natalia and her family jumped on a freight train and ended up in Nuremberg. There, she worked in a hospital for terminally ill tuberculosis patients, risking contagion because the American Red Cross was paying staff with food packages her family needed to survive. In 1945, a young Polish soldier who had lost his leg offered her a Life Saver candy at a dance. Soon after, they married and, for the next six years, lived in several displaced persons camps in Bavaria.
When the rest of Natalia’s family emigrated to Australia, she, Roman, and three-year-old Grace set sail for America, putting down roots in a Polish community in Munster, Indiana. Natalia soon found work as an arc welder for the Junior Toy Company and, later, on the Simmons Mattress Company assembly line. She and Roman scrimped and saved and were able to build a number of homes and rental properties. She was always grateful for the opportunity to have lived the American dream.
Upon their retirement in 1984, the couple moved to Austin, Texas, to be closer to their grandchildren, but in 1985, Roman died suddenly. Thereafter, Natalia put her energy into her family and charity work.
An active member of St. Louis King of France Catholic Church, she attended mass several times a week, prayed the rosary daily, and joined a rosary group. She also volunteered at the Salvation Army, Caritas, several nursing homes, and a local soup kitchen.
Natalia’s life was defined by her generosity. She was happiest when feeding people, gave much to the Catholic Church, contributed to the building of a church in Bendigo, Australia, and would stuff a few dollars into an envelope for any charity that asked for a donation. She also always had a bit of cash on her for her kids and grandkids, who, if they refused the gift, would later find the money tucked into their pocket.
Even at the end, the doctors said her heart was strong.
The visitation will be held at Cook-Walden Funeral Home on Anderson Mill Road at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 13, with a rosary at 7 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. the following morning (Thursday, March 14) at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, with the burial afterward at Cook-Walden Capital Parks Cemetery in Pflugerville.
- Visitation Wednesday, March 13, 2019
- Rosary Service Wednesday, March 13, 2019
- Funeral Service Thursday, March 14, 2019
March 13, 2019
I believe we met on a plane with Liz going to Lubbock ...
Every time I would serve pierogies with an onion mushroom gravy recipe I got from Natalia, my kids heard about this wonderful lady! I smile every time I pass the Mr. T pierogies at HEB. Her memory will live on in my heart always!
March 13, 2019
Your dear Mama gave me my first cup of coffee with lots of sugar and milk. I will always treasure the times sitting around your kitchen table. Your Mom, the best cook, filling the air with the BEST smells of her Polish cooking, Roman telling non-stop jokes, and laughing so hard, that Lizzie threw up her noodles! God bless you all. Love, Celka