Krystyna Szkwarek Obituary (2022) – Thunder Bay, ON



After a life well lived, full of determination and survival, Krystyna (Christine) Szkwarek passed away at the age of 87 on January 31, 2022.

Born in Stanislawow, Poland, the youngest of 7 children, Christine and her family endured unimaginable conditions during World War II – including Soviet arrest, deportation to Siberia, internment and disease, to the only reason to be Polish.

When Christine’s family was freed from slave labor camps in Siberia, they left Siberia the same way they had been transported there — by cattle cars. They headed south, through Kazhakstan to Tehran, Iran. After a short stay in Iran, Christine, her mother and her sister were transported to a refugee camp in Uganda where they recovered their health and resided for the remainder of the war. After the war, Christine briefly attended a school for refugees, outside London

In December 1953, with a suitcase in hand, Christine boarded a ship from England and immigrated to Canada to reunite with her brother Piotr Grzegorczyk and his family in Port Arthur.

It was there that she met her husband, Wladyslaw (Walter) Szkwarek. Walter and Christine were married at Saint-Casmier Church in 1954.

Together Walter and Christine moved to Marathon for work and when they returned to Thunder Bay they opened the Top Hat Coffee Shop and the pool hall. Once they started their family, they sold their business. Christine and Walter raised two daughters, Basia (Barb) and Alinka (Aileen). They worked hard to make sure their daughters grew up and had opportunities in life that they never had.

Christine was a devout Catholic and a member of the Polish Ladies Auxiliary. She and Walter were frequent travelers and were actively involved in the local Polish community.

She placed a high value on education, which she encouraged in her children and grandchildren. Leading by example, she attended Confederation College in her late 40s. She loved the business aspect of owning and working at Sears. Christine was not only proud of her work, but also of the independence it gave her and the friendships she made while doing it.

Later in life after the death of her husband, Christine moved to Ottawa to be closer to her daughter Aileen and her husband Mark.

Christine has always been grateful to her caring son-in-law, Mark Bjorkstedt. She treasured the time she spent with her grandchildren (Evan and Annika Bunkis), of whom she was extremely proud and always their trusted confidant, encouraging them to pursue their goals.

Three things were extremely important to Christine: her family, whom she loved dearly; her friendships, which she treasured; and her faith, which guided her throughout her life.

Christine was predeceased by her husband Walter, siblings and son-in-law Eriks Bunkis.

Christine will be sadly missed by her family, but especially by her devoted daughter Aileen who served as her advocate, caregiver and companion as her health declined in her final years.

Vigil prayers and visitation will be held at Harbourview Funeral Center, 499 North Cumberland Street, on Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

Christine’s funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, February 7, 2022, at St. Casimir Catholic Church, 613 McKenzie Street, celebrated by Fr. Piotr Dudek, IMO. Interment will follow at Saint-André Cemetery.

As expressions of sympathy, donations may be made in Christine’s memory to Faye Peterson House in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a shelter for abused or at-risk women and children.

In accordance with guidelines from the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Mourning Authority, proof of vaccination and a record of attendance are required for anyone attending the service, as well as the wearing of masks or face coverings. faces.

Published by the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal on February 5, 2022.

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