Bisch Funeral Home


Barbara Zakrzewska Borowiecki

November 20, 1924March 18, 2016
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Barbara Zakrzewska Borowiecki, 91, of Springfield, passed away on Friday March 18, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Home. She was born on November 20, 1924 in Warsaw, Poland to Stanislaw Zakrzewski and Irene Rago Zakrsewska. Barbara was a survivor of the German and then the Communist occupation of Poland during and after World War II, and was able to escape with her family to the United States in 1947. She had enormous passion for teaching and learning new things, and after she arrived in the United States, Barbara set out to learn English and enrolled in George Washington University. She later moved to Indiana and received both Bachelors and Masters degrees from Indiana University. After relocating to Madison, Wisconsin she completed her Doctorate in Geography. Barbara took the position of professor in the Department of Geography at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1960, and became Chairman of the department in 1971. She retired in 1992. Among Barbara’s many life accomplishments was her instrumental role in the acquisition and transfer of the American Geographic Society Map Collection to the Golda Meir Library at the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee. The Map Collection is one of the finest cartographic assemblages in the U.S. and one of the most distinguished in existence, with maps dating back to the 1400’s. In 2009, Barbara received the Distinguished Samuel Finley Breese Morse Medal for “the encouragement of geographical research” for being instrumental in securing and preserving the AGS Map Collection. Barbara married her Polish sweetheart, Mieczyslaw (“Mitch”) Borowiecki , by proxy in 1950, while she was living in the U.S. and he remained in Poland. With Mitch unable to leave Communist Poland, the marriage was annulled in 1959. Mitch was able to secure a travel visa to the U.S. in 1971 and traveled with his young son, Tomasz, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to remarry his Polish sweetheart in 1971. Barbara enjoyed her family, nature, reading and teaching. She was a prolific writer in her specialty, glacial geomorphology. She was an active member in the “Polanki” Polish Women’s Club of Milwaukee and was instrumental in developing Polish, East European and Russian Studies at UWM. She was a member of the Church of St Jude in Rochester, Il. Mrs. Borowiecki is survived by her step son, Tomasz W. Borowiecki and his wife (Sandra W. Borowiecki) of Springfield and two grandchildren: Andrew J. Borowiecki and Rebecca S. Borowiecki. She was preceded in death by her brother Jack Zakrzewski. A Visitation will be held from 10:00am until 12:00pm followed immediately by a Funeral Mass on Tuesday March 22, 2016 at the Church of St Jude, 633 South Walnut in Rochester, IL. Burial will be private at St. Adalbert Cemetery in Milwaukee. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Geographical Society. Please visit the online “Life Remembered Story” at


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

  • Funeral Mass

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Barbara Zakrzewska Borowiecki

have a memory or condolence to add?

Brian Kiedrowski

June 5, 2016

I had only one class with Professor Borowiecki in Spring 1987, the Geography of Poland. She professionalism, passion and manner of education has positively impacted me to this day.I am saddened to hear of her passing. I had no idea she was part of bringing the AGS collection to UWM, which only deepens the admiration. Prayers and blessings to the family
B.J. Kiedrowski, M.D. UWM class of 1987

Gerald Ney

June 2, 2016

I have fond memories of Dr Zakrzewska from my time as a geography major at UWM in the mid 1960s. She was a regular mighty mite.
Gerry Ney BS Geography UWM 1967

David Brych

June 1, 2016

I did a number of research efforts with the Professor. Sorry to hear of her death.

May 31, 2016

I am saddened to learn that Barbara has passed away, but her memory will remain in my heart forever. She was an influential role model for me when I attended UW-Milwaukee in the 1980's; an excellent teacher, a well-respected scholar, and a kind and caring mentor. We celebrated my PhD completion with Barbara and Mitch at their home in Mequon with a tasty dinner, some Polish vodka, and many laughs. What a wonderful and caring woman she was... I will miss her... Carol Rosen

Stanley Trimble

May 26, 2016

I was hired as a new Assistant Professor in May 1972, Barbara's first year as Chair of the UWM Geography Department. Barbara was always sweet and helpful to me as I learned the ropes. Alice and I always enjoyed the company of Barbara, Mitch and Tommy as well as the other faculty at the frequent Departmental social events. I left for UCLA in 1975 but Barbara and I stayed in touch through the years. She was a great lady. Our best wishes go to the family.

Jeff Allender

May 24, 2016

I was a PhD student in her department at UWM back in the 70's. She was a fine lady and a great, classic geographer. I'm now chair of my own geography department and owe much of my success to her and the other geography professors at UWM. I'll raise a glass of Polish vodka in her memory tonight.

Ken and Marcia Watters

May 20, 2016

We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Barbara's family. Barbara was one of the most memorable people we came to know and work with during more that 30 years we spent at the UWM campus She was both a dear friend and a trusted and valued colleague. She was deeply dedicated to her students, her profession and the UWM campus.

Christopher Kierkus

May 8, 2016

I am just now hearing of the passing of my Godmother, Barbara. On behalf of the entire Kierkus family, I'd like to extend my deepest sympathies. I have fond memories of visiting Barbara and Mitch in Milwaukee, as well as Tomek and Sandra's wedding.

Kind regards,

Christopher & Marie Kierkus (and on behalf of my Mom, Daniela and my late Father, Witold)

Peggy Dixon

April 23, 2016

I met your mother in March of 1978 when I was hired in the department of Geography at UWM. It was a temporary position but your mom like me so much she asked me to take the typing test and then she could hire me. So then I worked for her many years. She was a wonderful lady and I am so glad to have known her.

Jill Friedman

March 24, 2016

Dear Tom and Sandy and Family
What an amazing life your Mother had. So many accomplishments and triumphs. I would have loved to hear her stories. Wishing you peace in your time of grief. May you find comfort and celebration in all your beautiful memories.
Jill Friedman


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