CZAPOR, Mary (Lesiow)
Mary (nee Maria Lesiow) Czapor of Plainville passed away surrounded by her loving family and entered into the peace of God and Jesus in Heaven on Monday, July 3, 2017.
She was born Aug. 9, 1922, in Zbora (village), County of Kalusz, Stanislawow, Poland (which was annexed by Russia during WW II to become part of the Ukraine). She was the daughter of the late Aleksander and Anna (Tulaj) Lesiow. Mary had one brother, Mikolaj Lesiow, and two sisters, Ola (Lesiow) Federisen and Marta (Lesiow) Behun, who continued to live in the Ukraine with their families until their recent passing.
Mary grew up in Zbora and lived her younger years helping out on the family farm. Although Mary didn’t continue her education beyond a young age, she could speak Russian, Ukrainian and Polish well. In 1935 at the young age of 13 she was sent by her father to a village about 14 miles from her home for a year to study with an accomplished seamstress. She earned her way by working as a nanny for the accomplished seamstress and at the end of the year came home to become the village seamstress/tailor. She used those skills for the rest of her life.
As World War II raged in Europe Mary’s life continued untouched for awhile, and on Feb. 17, 1941, she was married in Zbora to Michael (Mikolaj) Czapor. He was from the nearby village of Paulszowka, County of Czortkow, Ternopil, Poland. He was in the Polish Army and fought for his homeland with his fellow countrymen.
Unfortunately there came a time when they were separated when both Mary and her husband were taken prisoner by the Germans and put to work in various separate locations in Germany and did not see each other for years. During the years of forced labor, Mary remembered some of the places she worked: as a nanny on a farm for a German family where she learned to speak German, as a housekeeper and kitchen help in a German Hospital and near the end of the war as kitchen help in a restaurant when the American forces liberated Europe in 1945.
She, as were other prisoners of war, was moved to Displaced Persons Camps as family members searched for each other. By some miracle her husband, Michael, found her at one of the Displaced Persons Camps and they were able to be together again. In December of 1946 while living in the Displaced Persons Camp, Altenstadt by Schongau, they welcomed a daughter, Stella (Stanislawa).
As the years went by her husband volunteered to work on the Camp Police Force and through those efforts found a contact with the American Red Cross. After recalling that an uncle had immigrated to America and with help from the Red Cross, Michael corresponded with his uncle, Peter Chapor, in Plainville and was able to arrange a sponsorship. So on March 19, 1949, they sailed from Bremerhaven, Germany to New York City to enter the United States through Ellis Island arriving on March 29, 1949.
After Mary, Michael and daughter Stella were processed at Ellis Island they were put on a train headed from New York City through New Haven to Plainville, arriving at night and being greeted by family.
They worked hard at building their American dream. After working a full shift at Marlin Rockwell, Michael worked with Mary nights and weekends building their house at 7 Young St., which would be their home for 60 years. They welcomed more children, Peter in 1950, Helen in 1953 and Lucy in 1957. Mary also learned English, so now she could speak five languages, and she became a U.S. Citizen, another dream realized.
After her children were of school age, Mary went to work first in the kitchen at Peterson Restaurant in Plainville, then in a garment factory called Park Fashions in New Britain and finally she worked for many years at Wasley Products in Plainville. Unfortunately in 1965 Mary’s husband, Michael, passed away, leaving her to continue to fulfill their dreams with the help of her now pre-teen and teenage children. She did a wonderful job; all of her children graduated from college, which was one of their very important dreams.
In her retirement, Mary spent many happy hours at her sewing machine making clothes for her family, fixing and altering clothes for family and friends and teaching sewing, embroidery, knitting and crocheting to anyone who was willing to learn. She also bought dolls at tag sales, cleaned them, fixed their hair, made them clothes and then donated them to her church, St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in New Britain, to be shipped to orphanages in the Ukraine. Over the years she donated hundreds and hundreds of dolls. Not to mention the hundreds of hats, gloves and scarves that she sewed, knitted or crocheted for the Ukrainian orphans. She was also a member of the St. Olga’s Sisterhood for many years at her church. She also enjoyed working in her gardens always making sure that she had time everyday to give her vegetables and flowers attention and then sharing her bounty.
Family was the center of Mary’s life and she was a devoted and beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She loved to have the family over to her house for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and picnics. She would cook for days and there was always enough food for unexpected guests. Every now and then one of us would be surprised, when we got home from work, to find that our “kitchen-elf” had shown up, did our dishes and left some pierogi, golumbki, or a lemon meringue pie in our refrigerator.
This world was a better place because she was in it and her family and friends will miss her generous heart, gracious presence and her Babci hugs, which she gave freely with a very strong squeeze. Many children and children that are now adults call her their Babci because in her retirement she also babysat whenever and wherever she was needed for family, neighbors, friends and friends of friends.
Mary was predeceased by her husband, Michael, in 1965, her son-in-law, David Belisle, in 1990, and her daughter, Lucy (Czapor) Belisle, in 2010.
Mary leaves a daughter, Stella; and her husband, David Wm. Laurie of Plainville; a son, Peter and his wife, Trudy Czapor, of Apache Junction, Ariz.; a daughter, Helen, and her husband, Peter Zeleniuk, of Plainville; a granddaughter, “her sunshine”, Sandra, and her husband, Timothy Lennon, of Plainville; a grandson, Daniel Wm. Laurie of Davenport, Iowa; a granddaughter, Bridget, and her husband, Matt Lee, of Riverside, Calif.; a grandson, Alexander Belisle of Plainville; a granddaughter, Jessica Belisle, and her fiancé, Aleksander Alves, of Plainville; and two step-grandsons, Gabriel Zeleniuk of Fort Pierce, Fla., and Hunter Lennon of South Carolina; three great-grandsons, Ethan and Hunter Lee of Riverside, Calif. and Aiden Zeleniuk of Plattsburg, N.Y.
Mary’s family would like to extend our sincere THANK YOU to the hard working and loving staff at Apple Rehab Farmington Valley of Plainville for the years of love and caring for our mother and the gentle guidance and support of Seasons Hospice.
Relatives and friends are welcome to join the family at Bailey Funeral Home, 48 Broad St., Plainville, CT on Sunday, July 9, 2017, from 6 to 8 p.m. A Panakhyda Service will be held at Bailey’s Funeral Home on July 9, 2017, at 7 p.m. On Monday, July 10, 2017, visitation starts at 9 a.m. until the start of the service at 10 a.m. in Celebration of Mary’s life held at Saint Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 54 Winter St., New Britain, CT. Burial will follow at Saint Joseph Cemetery, Farmington Ave., Plainville, CT
Memorial contributions can be made in Mary’s name to St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church School.
To share memories or send a note of sympathy, visit www.BAILEY-FUNERALHOME.com .
“Love you more”