Mary Szymanski, 100+, of Friday Harbor passed away on Saturday afternoon, July 1, 2017 peacefully at her home in The Village at the Harbour. She was born December 9, 1916, in Warsaw, Poland. She had one brother who perished in a concentration camp along with her father. Mary and her mother survived the camp and Mary came to the US in 1949 with her husband, Roman Szymanski. After Roman’s death in 2012, the family found documentation Roman had subtracted 5 years from his age upon entering the US. We believe Mary did the same and as such may have been as old as 105 at her passing.
When arriving in the US as displaced persons after the war the refugee organization, NRHA, helped Mary and Roman find housing and jobs. They lived in West Virginia and Buffalo, NY before eventually settling in Philadelphia, PA. To help support themselves, Roman sold life insurance, was a DJ on a Polish radio station, sold vacuum cleaners and helped teach PHD candidates at the University of NY before landing a job in Philadelphia with a pharmaceutical firm. Mary worked in a hat factory and, later in Phila., was a secretary in a pharmacy company until becoming pregnant with her daughter.
They resided in the Philadelphia area until 2003 when the warmer climes of Florida called. Roman and Mary lived in a retirement community in St. Petersburg, FL until Roman’s passing in 2012. Mary came to live at Village at the Harbour following her husband’s death in 2012 shortly after The Village opened. She resided there until her own passing on July 1, 2017.
Mary is survived by her daughter, Ingrid Malone (Jay Malone) and grandson Kevin Roman Malone. The Malones lived in Friday Harbor for over 13 years with Kevin graduating from Spring Street International school before they moved off island.