1918 – 2019, Age 101.5
Born on a farm in Poland during WW I, Stanley’s mother died when he was 4 years old, along with a baby brother. His father remarried and had 5 more sons. Stanley’s maternal uncle, a Catholic priest, Father Piotr Andryka brought him to a Catholic boarding school near Kovel, Poland (now Ukraine). After his education he joined the Polish Army, becoming a Corporal and paramedic.
While on maneuvers in eastern Poland, he was captured by the Soviets and taken to a slave labor camp. While there, the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Hitler then invaded most of Western Europe before returning to attack Soviet Russia in June of 1941. The chaos allowed the remaining prisoners who hadn’t died of starvation at the labor camp to escape.
Stanley then walked over the fields, back to Poland. Along the way, he was taken in by a woman, who happened to be a beekeeper, who used healing bee products to restore him. He would remain dedicated to beekeepers and raw honey for the rest of his life.
He was later captured by the Nazi’s and placed in a P.O.W. camp near Hamburg, Germany.
He was moved around from camp to camp, perhaps because of his ability to translate between Polish, Russian, and German. He was finally in a slave labor factory near thesouth eastern border of Germany. There an outsider, a woman from Luxembourg who worked for the Nazis, helped him escape. He hid in the loft of a barn for 2 weeks before making his way to Vienna where he had a phony passport made, and found work on a farm.
Vienna was a beautiful city with a Polish community, and he hoped to stay there. But in 1945 the Russians invaded the eastern end of Austria, bombing and pillaging. They would end up occupying this area until 1955. Stanley did not like living under Soviet rule. He and a friend managed to hike through the mountains to western Austria. They were then taken to Switzerland, and then sent to England.
Stanley lived and worked in England for 3 years until he could save money and find asponsor in order to immigrate to the United States. He came through Ellis Island inearly 1952 and came directly to the Chicago suburbs to find work. He married Veronica(Przybylski) and raised a family, living most of his life in Joliet, Illinois.
Active in the Polish American community, Stanley joined the fraternal Polish National Alliance (PNA), an insurance and financial company. He became the Financial Secretary of his Joliet area-based Lodge and grew the membership 10-fold. Stanley became a director of the PNA Youth Camp in Yorkville, Illinois. He went on tobecome a PNA National Director and served for 2 terms from 1983 to 1991. He was also active in the Polish American Congress. Through this work he had the great honor to have multiple meetings with Pope John Paul II, former President of Poland Lech Walesa, governors, majors and other dignitaries in the U.S. and abroad.
He won many sales and leadership awards from the PNA, including Man of the Year.
Every year he had a Christmas party for the children in his lodge, always including a container of raw honey. The family yearly sent packages of supplies to Poland. One year during the Cold War, Stanley collected over 7000 pairs of shoes which were sent to Poland. Stanley and Veronica consistently donated their time and talents to their church as well.
He was also active in the American Legion Post 1080 in Joliet, Illinois.
Stanley has lived the last 7 1/2 years of his life with his family in Lafayette, Colorado.
Stanley was preceded in death by his parents, Jan and Julianna (Andryka) Stawiarski,his brother and 5 half-brothers in Poland, His wife Veronica (Przybylski), a second wife Florence (Bednarski, Wiatrowskii).
He is survived by his son Kenneth of Chicago, his devoted daughter and son-in-law Dhiana and Dave Armstrong of Lafayette, Colorado, and his only grandson Justin, of California.
Stanley was always a farmer at heart and knew the value of home-grown food. He was an avid gardener who enjoyed sharing his fruits and vegetables with neighbors, friends and family. He liked people and made friends wherever he went. He lived through the insanity and cruelty of war, and still came out a kind, generous and good person, whoenjoyed helping others. Conscious and aware until the end, he was sustained by his faith and gratitude.
The funeral will be at Immaculate Conception Church, Lafayette, CO 80026 on November 26, 2019 with visitation starting at 9:30AM.
Visitation in Joliet; Carlson Funeral Home, Black Road, Joliet, Illinois 60435. Sunday, December 1, 2019, 2 to 5 PM.
The family has requested that donations made in honor of Stanley be made to either of these charities:
Boulder County Ageing Services Foundation Respite Assistance Program (RAP) PO Box 471 Boulder CO 80306 https://agingservicesfoundation.org
Coal Creek Meals on Wheels 455 N Burlington Ave Lafayette CO 80026 https://coalcreekmow.org