Leokadia Barwacz

Obituary of Leokadia Barwacz

It is with deep sadness that the family of Leokadia “Lodgia” Barwacz (nee Dumanowski) announces her passing with her loving family close by on Monday, May 20, 2024, at the age of 89 years. She was predeceased by her husband Stanisław “Stan” Barwacz on April 29, 1995, after 36 years of marriage. She was a devoted mother to her three children and adored as Grandma “Babcia” by her nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren: Grazyna (Brent) Clampitt and their children, Craig (Kathryn) Clampitt (Noah), Jennifer (Andy) Bilton (Lex Porfoun, Kendall, Elizabeth and Troy Bilton), Corwin Clampitt, Tyson (Riley) Clampitt (Kayden). Leszek (Anna) Barwacz and their children, Magdalena (Brady) Braund (Emilia), Olivia, and Natalia. Agnieszka (Terry) Barwacz Riou and their children, Parker and Connor Riou.


Leokadia was born to her parents Adam and Stefania Dumanowski in Wesołówka, Poland on March 15, 1935. She grew up the youngest of nine children; deceased siblings and spouses include, Eleonora (Jozef) Stolarchuk, Franek (Doris) Dumanowski, Tadeusz (Irena) Dumanowski, Edward (Sabina) Dumanowski, Janina (Stanisław) Dubiel, Irena (Stanisław) Bryg, Czeslaw (Zofia) Dumanowski and Władek Dumanowski (died in infancy), and all of Stanisław’s siblings.


Leokadia’s life changed significantly when her family relocated to Eastern Poland (now part of Ukraine) to farm. However, their plans were disrupted by the outbreak of World War II. The region descended into chaos, forcing residents to flee and fight for survival. Stalin’s regime implemented a harsh policy of forced relocation, subjecting Polish families, including Leokadia’s, to a grueling journey by train to labor camps in Siberia. There, they faced extreme hardship, enduring severe hunger and a constant struggle to stay alive. The family persevered through challenging conditions, consuming whatever limited food they could find or catch, often going for extended periods without food. After nearly two years, the family obtained permission to move to neighboring Kazakhstan, where conditions were somewhat better.


As a little girl, Leokadia demonstrated her resilience and unwavering determination by finding ways to support her family. This spirit shone through as she prepared nourishing soups from whatever ingredients were available, while her father and brother toiled side-by-side as blacksmiths, providing for their basic needs by crafting horseshoes and other essential goods for the local community. Beyond her chores, Leokadia brought a spark of joy during those difficult times. She choreographed and performed playful skits with her siblings, offering a much-needed escape from the hardships of their imprisonment. With the conclusion of World War II and after several years, the family made their way back to their original homestead in Róża, Poland.


Leokadia found love and married Stanisław on January 9, 1959. Together, they built a family and, following the passing of her father-in-law, assumed the responsibility of the family farm in Róża. Leokadia’s dedication extended to both her growing family and the land, working tirelessly alongside her children while Stanisław, also commuted to the city for employment at a steel and tire factory. Seeking a brighter future for their children, Leokadia and Stanisław, with the support of her brother Franek and his family, immigrated to Canada on August 5, 1977. After a short period of shared living with Franek, Leokadia, and Stanisław secured employment and established their first home.


Adjusting to a new life in Canada, Mom and Dad took on the difficult task of learning the language and becoming part of the community. Committed to their family’s future and their children’s education, they held multiple custodial jobs concurrently. Their dedication was evident in their jobs at Oyen Greenhouses, the Oyen Post Office, Oyen Medical Clinic, Gummo’s Grocery Store, H&H Grocery Store, and South Central High School (SCHS). While the work wasn’t glamorous or easy, they found pride in their contributions and exceeded expectations with their work ethic. Mom was especially fond of being a custodian at South Central High School (SCHS), where she dedicated 25 years of service. The school became a cherished extension of her own home, where she nurtured a genuine connection with the students, viewing them as her own children. A significant highlight of her career occurred in 1996 when the SCHS student body chose the name “Barwacz Hall” for a newly completed common room. This recognition served as a testament to Mom and Dad’s dedication to their work and the respect they held for the teaching profession.


Mom cherished spending time with her family, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere in her home. No visitor left hungry, as her culinary talents turned any ingredients into delicious feasts. Beyond her comforting staples, Mom was known for her gourmet soups, particularly her borscht, pickle soup, and beef barley soup. Mom’s immense pride in her family extended to her cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She delighted in their unique personalities, readily recognizing and celebrating their talents and achievements. During her final weeks hospitalized, her face would light up whenever a grandchild visited, a picture of them was shown, or their voices reached her over the phone. These moments with her loved ones were a source of immense joy and comfort.


Mom expressed her creative spirit through intricate knitted blankets, which became cherished gifts for family and loved ones. This same creativity flourished in the beauty of her landscaped yard and garden. An avid gardener, Mom found joy in tending to her flowers, apple trees, and vegetables, ensuring a bountiful harvest. Guided by a strong sense of resourcefulness, Mom believed in minimizing waste. She practiced composting, water conservation, and meticulous canning of fruits and vegetables, ensuring nothing went to waste.


In retirement, Mom explored new places with her children and their families. These trips included exploring Poland, Hawaii, Cuba, British Columbia, and Phoenix. The memories made and time spent with family during these travels enriched her life.


Mom enjoyed a long and fulfilling life, characterized by a remarkable degree of independence. She resided in her own home until the age of 89, a testament to her strength and resilience. Oyen held a special place in her heart, serving as her cherished home for many years. This deep connection undoubtedly fueled her determination to recover and return to Oyen for her final hospitalization.


Mom’s life was enriched by a strong and abiding faith. A devout Roman Catholic, prayer was a cornerstone of her daily routine, finding solace in the rosary and attending Sunday mass. Even in her final years, when attending church became a challenge, she continued to find comfort in televised mass services, her faith remaining a constant source of strength.


God took Mom’s hand in His and never left her side. He walked alongside her until it was time for her to journey home to be with our Lord Jesus and her family. Bóg zapłać! May you have eternal rest Mamma and Babcia you will be deeply missed and never forgotten. Kochamy cię na zawsze!


The family expresses its deepest gratitude to all the nurses, especially Jody Anderson, and the physicians, Dr. Muller, Dr. Alole, Dr. Lazarevic and Dr. Anyawu, who provided Mom with professional, kind, and compassionate care.


Memorial tributes may be directed to Oyen and District Health Care Foundation Box 1, Oyen AB T0J 2J0 or Heart Stroke Foundation Canada 1200-2300 Yonge Street Box 2414, Toronto, Ont., M4P 1E4 heartandstroke.ca


A recording of the service is now available to view.