May 15, 1921 – April 16, 2009
Jadwiga Sokolowski passed into the hands of her Lord on Thursday, April 16, 2009, at dawn as the sun came over the horizon. She was born Jadwiga Sulkowska on May 15, 1921, in Lublin, Poland. She married Stefan Sokolowski on September 12, 1939, which was a few days before World War ll started. She is a testimony to indomitable human spirit by surviving what followed. In the fall of 1942, she and her husband were rounded up by the Germans and shipped in cattle cars to Germany to become slave laborers. They were separated from their one-year-old daughter, Stanislava who was left behind with her Grandmother. They were assigned to work in a meat-packing factory in Braunschweig, Germany, and were there from December 15, 1942, to May 26, 1945. The conditions were harsh – there was very little food, very poor living conditions, no doctors or dentists and they were under constant watch. Following the war, Jadwiga, Stefan, and a new daughter, Josephine who was born during the war, came to Canada as refugees in 1949. They worked on farms in Saskatchewan until they moved to Castlegar in the fall of 1950.
They lived in a little shack up in the mountains north of Raspberry village, then built a home in Robson and later, one in Raspberry village. In 1983, Jadwiga lost her dearly beloved husband Stefan shortly after his retirement. However, in 1991, with the fall of the Iron Curtain, there was great joy. Jadwiga’s lost daughter, Stanislava, who was living in Minsk, Belarus, located her mother and came to visit her in Canada in 1993. At times it was almost impossible to obtain Canadian visitor visas for her granddaughter and great granddaughter but through this hardship Jadwiga carried on. After much effort and several attempts they were finally issued visas and this reunion took place in 2001.
Family was extremely important to Jadwiga, as she always provided gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas. She was still gardening in the summer of 2008 and lived on her own in her own home until January of this year.
She leaves behind her children Stanislava Pastoukhovitch (Kolya, deceased), Josephine (Fred) in Brentwood Bay, John Sokolowski (Roberta) in Maple Ridge, Betty Carlson (Bill) in Castlegar and Christina Proctor (Cam) in Bonnington. There are grandchildren Oleg Pastoukhovitch(Inna) in Vancouver, Lena Pastoukhovitch in Minsk, Roger Carlson (Chris) in Castlegar, Mark Carlson (Shiloh) in Prince George, Scott Carlson (Gwen) in Rossland, and Amanda and Stephanie Proctor in Bonnington. There are great-grandchildren Alexander and Anthony Pastoukhovitch in Vancouver, Christina Pastoukhovitchin Minsk, Caleb and Noah Carlson in Castlegar, and Maya Carlson in Prince George. She saw a lot, experienced a lot, and suffered a lot in her life, but she taught others how to live. May she now rest in peace.
The funeral was held on April 22, 2009.