(09.02.1926 – 10.26.2021)
Stephanie Sophia Frankel of Sterling Heights, a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend, passed away on October 26, 2021, at age 95. Stephanie was loved and cherished by many people, including her family and those in the Polish American community in the Detroit area, where she was active for many decades serving in positions in the Veterans of the 2nd Polish Corps and Home Army.
Stephanie was a courageous World War II survivor and an inspiration to everyone who knew her. Born September 2, 1926 in Lomza, Poland, Stephanie (Stefania) was named after her father, Stefan Roszkowski. In 1939, Stephanie was 13 years old when Hitler invaded western Poland and Stalin invaded eastern Poland, eventually arresting her beloved father. It was heartbreaking that Stephanie and her family never again saw nor heard from her father after he was taken by the Soviet Army just days before Christmas.
In April 1940, armed Russian soldiers came to Stephanie’s home in Lida, ordering her family to pack their bags in 20 minutes. Stephanie, her sister Agnieszka and their mother, along with thousands of Polish children, were forcibly deported from Poland and sent to work on farms at communes (kohoze) in today’s Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Photo was taken when Stefania was in uniform in Nazareth, Palestine, in 1943.
In 1941, General Wladyslaw Anders managed to arrange 70,000 Polish soldiers and 43,000 civilians to leave the Soviet Union and ensure the education of the students. In May 1942, Stephanie and other students under the age of 18 joined the British High Command in the Middle East. Her secondary school, Szkola Mlodszych Ochotniczek (SMO), was established in Nazareth, Palestine.
Stephanie was shipped to England in August 1947 as part of the UK’s resettlement of displaced persons at the end of WWII. Stephanie met Zbyszek Zbigniew (John) Kalinowski in one of the resettlement camps in Guilford, England. John served in the Polish Corps as 2nd Lieutenant and also the Polish Home Army. Stephanie and John married in 1948. To find engineering work for John, the couple moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where their daughters Barbara (1951) and Cristina (1949) were born.
In 1953, the couple immigrated to America, sailing the “Evita Peron” to New York, then via train, to Detroit to join Zbigniew’s parents, Mieczyslaw and Helen Kalinowski, and his brother George. Stephanie reveled in being with family. She and John were a very busy couple while raising their children. Sadly, Zbigniew passed away at age 48, leaving Stephanie a widow at age 42.
Stephanie took classes and worked in the insurance and banking industries to support herself and her daughters’ college educations at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Seven years later, she met and married Mieczyslaw Frankel and was introduced to a new family of stepchildren, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Stephanie enjoyed spending time with family, playing bridge, singing, dancing, and hosting and attending parties with friends. In recent years, Stephanie continued her involvement with the veterans of the Polish Home Army and the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy, attending monthly meetings with friends.
During the last four years, she became close to her daily caregivers, Halina Czechak and Hanna Kuczynski, forming deep bonds of love and friendship. While struggling with health challenges, Stephanie remained hopeful and positive. Her engaging smile, warmth, energy, and love for life, family and friends will be dearly missed.
Stephanie is survived by her daughters, Barbara (Patrick) Foley of Texas and Cristie Hoffman of California; granddaughter, Carrie Ann Hoffman of California; sister Agnieszka Sinka of Essex, England, and Zenon (Pam) Sinka and family; niece Rose Staines of England and family; nephews Mark (Patty) Kalinowski and family and Thomas Kalinowski of Tennessee and family; nieces, Anne Kalinowski and Susan (Chuck) Dziadzio and family of South Lyon, MI; cousins Krysia Gwizdak and family and Danuta (Janusz) Giderewicz in Lublin, Poland; and stepdaughters, Ewa Krupa and family of Birmingham and Hania (Chester) Cifani, both of Rochester, MI. Stephanie is predeceased by her second husband Mieczyslaw Frankel who passed in 2017 and her step-son Roman Frankel.
Visitation is from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., November 11, with a Rosary at 6 p.m. by Fr. Adam at A.H. Peters Funeral Home, 32000 Schoenherr Road, Warren, MI 48088. The family will be Instate at 10 a.m., Friday, November 12, until the time of Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 3100 18 Mile Road, Sterling Heights, MI, 48314. Burial will be at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.
Memorial Donations may be made to the American Polish Cultural Center, 2975 E Maple Road, Troy, MI 48083.