Frank Szeliga, a long-time resident of Yonkers, NY, and member of St. Casimir's Parish, passed away peacefully on January 25, 2022. He was 87.
"Franek" was born in Poland in 1934 to parents Józef and Anna Szeliga.
He is survived by his loving wife, Zofia of over 62 wonderful years, five children and their spouses John (Melissa), Margaret (Joe), Alina, Donna, and Mario (Patricia), five grandchildren (Kasia, Gosia, Charlie, Stephanie, and Nicholas), one great-grandchild (Serena), two siblings (Marysia and Mietek), and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Frank grew up as one of seven children on the family's modest wheat farm. He learned how to care for the livestock, harness horses, drive a wagon, and tend the crops. During harvest season, the entire extended family would come together to cut wheat by hand (using scythes and sickles); everyone contributed to the cutting, gathering, tying, and stacking. His family experienced the hardships and devastation of Poland during World War 2. He recalled seeing his entire valley burning during the Nazi retreat westward near the end of the war. One Sunday after church services, two brothers were forcibly taken to Germany as farm labor. One brother did not survive; the other brother, Tadeusz, was encouraged by their parents to find a home abroad since so many of the necessities of life had been destroyed. This early experience fostered a steadfast determination to protect the ones he loved.
As a young man in the 1950's, Frank was conscripted into the Polish Army. After basic training, he served as a truck driver, mechanic, and constructed airfields.
It was love at first dance when he met the love of his life. He met Zofia at a church dance where he showed off his gentlemanly and sweet dance moves. They were married at St. Andrew's Church in ?roda ?l?ska, Poland.
In the late 1960's, with encouragement and sponsorship from his brother Tadeusz and sister-in-law Anna, Frank immigrated to the US with his wife and three children, at that time. Although it was difficult to leave Poland, he was determined to provide a better life for his own family away from Communist oppression. He found work at the Fisher Body plant and later assembled vehicles for General Motors in Tarrytown, NY. GM awarded him a watch in recognition for his reliability, availability, and hard work ethic to get the job done. He was a member of the UAW and retired from GM in the late 1990's. He had many self-taught skills as a carpenter, painter, plumber, and mechanic. Weekends were usually spent doing odd jobs and it was rare to see him relax even on a Sunday afternoon.
Even though Frank was schooled only to the 6th grade, he stressed the importance of education. He took pride his children were college graduates with degrees in electrical engineering, marketing, finance, business administration and civil engineering.
He enjoyed dancing with his wife, especially at New Year's Eve at the Polish Community Center. He was a natural and consummate host, ensuring a full plate and a quenched thirst. For special occasions, he would raise a glass with an "okey dokey good luck" toast. He would welcome you into his home and make it yours. Even after retirement, his grandchildren could coax him to play ball in the yard. He loved the outdoors and nature. He spent countless hours on his lawn tractor tending to his property. The spring and summer were spent tending to his tomato and cucumber garden.
We would like to remember him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, and uncle, who worked tirelessly in caring for and supporting his family. We consider him a true hero, not only for giving his family a peaceful life, but also for his kindness to always help family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. On two separate occasions he saved lives: pulling one neighbor out of a fire and driving another neighbor to the hospital during a heart attack. His earliest experiences taught him the meaning of keeping close to family. We will miss him dearly but remember him always.
In lieu of flowers, if anyone wishes to honor Frank's memory, please send donations to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.»(Do not delete this line. It does not print. Text that is to appear on web must be entered before this line)