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Obituaries

JAN WAMPUSZYC

Jan P. Wampuszyc, born on June 16, 1924, in Zwierzyniec Piotrkowski, Poland, died on March 27, 2019, in Rochester Hills, Michigan, in the company of his daughters, family, and friends. Throughout his long life, Jan maintained a keen sensitivity for the humanity of each individual he encountered, first and foremost recognizing their personhood. Jan was raised by his parents, Katarzyna and Edward, in a home that valued patriotism, democracy, and faith, and that actively opposed Nazism, fascism, and communism. His father was a teacher and a member of the Polish Legions during World War I. During the German occupation of Poland, 15-year-old Janek was deported to forced labor in Kirchenlamitz, Germany. He escaped, only to be once again taken into forced labor by the Germans at Huta Baildon in Katowice, Poland. The Soviet takeover of Poland following World War II forced Jan to go underground and engage in organized, anti-communist activities in Cieszyn Silesia. He rarely shared any details of this time, in accordance with the principle that those who truly engage in underground activity never speak of it. Only after 70 years did Jan receive a letter of recognition from the Minister of National Defense for his service to Poland. This letter of recognition accompanied Jan to his final day and served as evidence of a time that has almost been forgotten. In 1946, Jan P. Wampuszyc escaped from Soviet-occupied Poland, reached the American zone in Bavaria, and began life as a political refugee in a Displaced Persons Camp outside of Munich. He served in American uniform as a member of the Polish Guards at Nuremberg under the auspices of U.S. Forces Europe. During his time as a Displaced Person, he graduated from high school under the tutelage of refugee professors and teachers. He went on to graduate with an architectural engineering degree from the Polska Wyższa Szkoła Techniczna (Polish School of Technology), a polytechnic founded by political exiles in Esslingen, Germany. Later in the U.S., Jan continued his architectural studies at Lawrence Tech in the Metro Detroit area. In 1949, Jan P. Wampuszyc came to America as a political refugee. During his early years in the United States, he worked tirelessly to give aid and support to his fellow immigrant refugees, including family, friends, and strangers. Around that time, Jan befriended prelate and professor Walery Jasiński of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, who mentored Jan in his philosophy of cultural harmonization. Under Father Jasiński’s mentorship, Jan co-founded and presided over the Polish America Academic Association “Academia” in the Detroit metro area and in the United States. He deeply believed in the mission of “Academia,” which was to educate and integrate Polish immigrants and their descendants into American society, while helping them maintain a strong sense of cultural identity. Through “Academia,” he organized concerts, cabarets, poetry and music evenings, and art exhibits, often sponsoring artists and other performers from Poland. As an American citizen, Jan P. Wampuszyc had a deep love, respect, and gratitude for the United States. He embraced the democratic values of his adopted homeland and felt a deep responsibility towards upholding the integrity of these values. He was a loyal American citizen, as well as a political activist and ardent organizer of the Polish diaspora against the Soviet regime in Poland. This work included lobbying the U.S. Congress in support of the Solidarity movement in the 1980s. He was an active member of the Detroit Division of the Polish American Congress, particularly devoted to the political affairs committee. He participated in curating the Archives of the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade that were held by the Polish Mission at St. Mary’s of Orchard Lake, and was instrumental in transferring this Archive to the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. As an architect, he devotedly participated in the construction of Our Lady of Częstochowa church in Sterling Heights, Michigan, as well as its subsequent renovations. For over forty years, Jan P. Wampuszyc enjoyed a professional career in the metro Detroit area. For over twenty of those years, he worked with distinction as a Construction Analyst for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in Detroit. In the private sector he worked for such architectural firms as SBW/Architects and Mark English & Associates. In 1966, he married Teresa Krzyżowska and together they raised two beloved daughters, Maria and Ewa, of whom he was very proud. As a proud American citizen, Jan P. Wampuszyc enjoyed a happy and successful personal and professional life. As a political, immigrant refugee, his heart was always deeply connected to his first homeland. Although, he did not return to Poland until 1998—over fifty years after his exile—he remained committed to the ideals of a free and democratic Poland for which he had risked his life and for which so many others. Jan was predeceased by his wife Teresa, and Siblings Jadwiga, Lucjan, Wadysław, and Maria. He is survived by his daughters, Maria and Ewa, as well as twelve nieces and nephews, and countless friends. Funeral services for Jan P. Wampuszyc will be held at the Church of Our Lady of Częstochowa in Sterling Heights, MI, on Friday, April 5, 2019. There will be a Rosary at 10:30, followed by a Funeral Mass at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in Memory of Jan P. Wampuszyc to one of the below organizations: The Care Team Foundation (Hospice) In memory of Jan P. Wampuszyc Attention: Jennifer Lupo 30600 Northwestern Highway Suite 245‬ Farmington Hills, MI 48334‬ Or Our Lady of Częstochowa Parish Attention: Committee for Christian Service and Outreach In Memory of Jan P. Wampuszyc 3100 ‪18 Miles Rd‬‬ Sterling Heights, MI 48314


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