Teodora Wanda SZAMBORSKI
July 14, 1934 – January 20, 2021
I want to thank you all for coming to honor our mother. We cannot hug you but our hearts embrace you and we are grateful that you were all a part of her life.
I’m sorry that our father could not be here with us today due to his physical constraints. He was by her side to the very end.
And I’d like to share a special thank you to my brother Andrew for all the time and love he lavished on mom in her last years. And to Richard for all the phone calls to dad to keep up his moral.
Father Thuma spoke about her spiritual journey to come.
But I just wanted to share with you a little bit about her amazing temporal journey through life.
We are all too young to have personally known her early life, and she rarely spoke of it. We just saw her in what we perceived to be a happy, stable and comfortable existence in Scarsdale NY. But it didn’t start like that.
She was born in 1934 to a WW1 hero and his wife. Her parents had been granted a small plot of farmland in the east of Poland in reward for her father’s wartime service. They had almost nothing, but somehow transformed that empty plot into a comfortable and happy family farm.
Then in 1940 at age 6 the Soviet Socialists showed up and deported their entire village in cattle cars to Siberia and the gulag. Mom’s hair froze to the side of the wagon and her dad had to chop it off with an ax. Yet somehow the family survived for two years there until the British made a deal with the Soviets to take the Poles off their hands. The men were drafted into the British commanded Free Polish Army, and the women of all ages were sent to British refugee camps, traveling first through Iran and Pakistan, finally ending up in east Africa in 1942.
My mother and her sister grew up in Africa from 1942 to 1948 (mom’s ages 8 to 14) spending lots of time in the African villages surrounding their camp where they attended Polish school. They celebrated their communions with little bows resting on their heads shaved to prevent lice. Her mother was a security guard, and my mom were responsible for the chickens!
They were finally taken in by the British in 1948 and were transferred to a refugee camp at Diddington, England....a former WWII POW camp for German prisoners.
At the camp they were finally reunited with her father and brother who had served with the Polish FREE Army attached to the British Army.
Thankfully, the United States finally granted them visas to come to America in 1951.
My mom studied bookkeeping and worked in a bank in Linden NJ.
She met our father, Edmund, at a Polish picnic in New Jersey and they were married in 1956.
They first lived in an apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens, where I was born in 1957.
Our dad’s business was thriving then, and they moved to Scarsdale NY in 1960.
While my dad worked in the city, mom grew and managed our growing family. She was the foundation of our home life. She taught and nurtured her four children. She ran our household with a firm managerial hand. She handled the finances. She worked hard to make us comfortable, knowledgeable and polite. And all the time she was incredibly kind, affectionate and supportive to all of us.
As a small business owner, I now realize that she was the CEO of the family enterprise. My parents were so successful as a couple because they had a marriage of equals. He ran the outside business, and she ran the business of the family.
Thankfully they had a short period of prosperity they had both built that enabled them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives.
By the early 1970s we were able to travel, return, and live in Europe and reconnect with their wartime and post-war Polish friends in London. What an incredible privilege for our family. She had come from a farm in eastern Poland and landed in a posh flat in Mayfair London. And she was able to make that move with almost no effort. She was equally comfortable on the farm or on the Riviera dancing with American Seventh Fleet Admirals for July 14 celebrations.
The Riviera ended up being an important part of her life. Her husband loved her so much that he made every effort to ensure that they were on the Riviera in France for every Bastille Day possible. And why? Because July 14 was her birthday and he wanted her to have fireworks for her special day.
Back home in Scarsdale, we had a big one-acre yard. And I remember our mom tending to her vegetable garden. In summer, there was always the smell and taste of ripe tomatoes and cherries fresh off the tree. She loved being in that garden. And in the winter she loved hosting holiday parties for the entire family. In the 80s the kids grew up. Mom and Dad started to downsize their homes, but managed to stay in their new hometown of Scarsdale.
Mom reveled in the grandchildren that came. And her grandchildren loved her strawberries!
We are so grateful for her life. For her bucolic upbringing. For her surviving the gulag. For her good fortune in being saved by our British brothers. For the British and Africans caring for her. For the British taking her in after the war. For the generosity of America in accepting her. For the great love she found with our father. For the grace and beauty she shared with everyone who met her. For the education and discipline she bestowed upon her children.
My brothers and our families are proud of the legacy that Mom left us. Her journey here on earth is over. God Bless Her and God Bless You All.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Teodora Wanda SZAMBORSKI
January 23, 2021
Sending our love to all the Szamborskis.
We are so sorry for your loss.
Love, Joanne & Joshua
(longtime friends of Ed & Mary)
Mary Ann Amodio
January 23, 2021
We are all so sorry to hear about your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Mrs. Amodio, Mary Ann, Cathy and Jim
January 22, 2021
Our deepest condolences to the Szamborski family on the passing of “Ciocia” Tada into God’s Kingdom. May her wings be strong
Sonny & Donna Stec
January 21, 2021
God's love and blessings to you all.