(Apr. 1, 2009)
Helena “Helen” Mary Wojsznarowicz, age 86, of the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston, died on April 1 at Evanston Regional Hospital.
She was born Helena Koscielna to Jozef and Honorata Paterak, of Ostrowy, Kolbuszowa, east of Krakow, Poland, near the Ukraine border. She was a Polish-Catholic Holocaust survivor of the Adolf Blum Camp. She met her husband, Franciszek, from the village of Oszmiana, between Vilno and Minsk, Poland (now Belarus, Russia), in a displaced persons camp — DP Camp Laupheim in Germany.
They immigrated to the U.S. by ship in October 1951. They arrived, with two small children, Stanley and baby Jozef, in New Orleans. Their orginal sponsorship in Roswell, N.M. was later changed to Sheridan, Wyo. The family then traveled north to Montana where they eventually met Polish-speaking Rudy Stanko and followed him back to Sheridan to work in his meat-packing business. The plant in Sheridan burned down, so they followed Rudy to work in his plant in Casper.
They had three more children, Anthony “Tony”, John, and Nelda. Helen made her permanent home at the State Hospital from 1962 until her death. John and Nelda were then raised by Joan and Ted Lord in Powell.
Helen enjoyed the hospital outings, beautiful things and she was known for her sense of humor and love of her family.
She is survived by sons Stan of Casper, Tony of Silver City, N.M. and John of Boulder City, Nev.; daughter Nelda of Denver, Colo. and two grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place under the direction of Crandall Funeral Home in Evanston, and her ashes will be placed with her husband and son, Jozef, in Highland Cemetery in Casper, in her family cemetery in Poland, and with close American-Polish friends, Tony and Aline Kawulok in Boulder, Colo.
Memorial services will take place today (Tuesday) at All Souls Chapel, Evanston State Hospital with a private memorial later at Uinta Hall.
Donations may be made to the Wyoming State Hospital or Uinta Home Health and Hospice in Evanston.
Stories of Helen can be written in a memorial journal, available until April 15, at the State Hospital switchboard office or at www.crandallfuneralhome.net.