Waldemar Respondowski, age 94, passed away peacefully at his residence with family by his side in Marianna on Sunday, November 12, 2023.
Waldemar was the oldest of three children, born in Poland to Jerzy (George) and Janina (Pawlowska) Respondowski, and lived in Glebokie until the outbreak of World War II, which scattered the family over four continents losing contact with each other for 20 years. He is survived by his daughter, Suzanne Respondowski Schulte; two sisters, Jacinta Respondowska,OS, Ph.D, of Reading, PA, and Otylia Respondowska Kornecki, of Keesville, NY; three half siblings still living in Poland, and two grandchildren, Christopher Schulte (Tanya) of Marianna and Amanda Schulte of Marianna.
At the age of 11 when the communists invaded Poland, Waldemar was separated from family when they were exiled to Siberia, leaving him alone. He lived with his aunt for six months until he had to hire himself out for work to the family of his father’s comrade owning some land and, for safety, adopted that family’s last name. After the war, he attended trade school until he took a job for the government as a photographer. He later worked as an office manager until he was able to come to the United States. He was reunited with his family at the airport in New York in 1958 after 20 long years.
Waldemar worked at McKesson in Stamford, CT before becoming employed at Handy and Harmon factory, in Fairfield, CT, where he rolled metal to make coins for the U.S. Mint. He met his wife, Margaret Babis in Stratford, and they married at St. James Church on May 21, 1960. Their union produced one daughter, Suzanne Jadwiga Respondowski. They were happily married for 59 years until her death.
Despite the language barrier, Waldemar completed classes to obtain his United States citizenship in December, 1971. He also earned a certificate in Small Engine Repair at the Community College and was awarded membership to the Royle Institute of Hynotherapy incorporating the Association of Complete Mind Therapists.
In his spare time, he enjoyed downhill skiing, fishing, wood carving and wine making. He was an avid photographer and loved to document all family gatherings in photo. Waldemar had a remarkable sense of humor, and enjoyed belly dancing and playing harmless pranks on those he loved. He took great pride in sharing his knowledge with younger generations of how to do things yourself, and never met a challenge that didn’t have a solution. On any given day, Waldemar could be found tinkering in his garage
He loved to dance, especially the polka on New Year’s Eve or any other chance he got. He was very independent, and never met a problem that didn’t have a solution. It didn’t matter how long it took, and the more challenging the more he enjoyed it. He was not computer literate, but that didn’t stop him from visiting with family through Messenger calls. He enjoyed these because he could see the person and felt like he was right there with them.
A memorial mass will be 2 P.M., Thursday, December 5, 2023 at St. Anne’s Catholic Church. Marianna Chapel Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be made online at www.mariannachapelfh.com