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Alfreda Gagat

Alfreda Gagat (Zawisza)

Monday, March 11th, 1929 - Monday, May 4th, 2020
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Obituary

GAGAT, Alfreda

Our beloved Alfreda passed away peacefully at Lakeridge Health hospital on Monday, May 4th, 2020. She was born in the village of Antonówka, Poland on March 11, 1929. She was the second child and the oldest daughter of Tatiana and Jan Zawisza.

Visitation will be held at the Armstrong Funeral Home at 124 King Street East, Oshawa on Wednesday, May 6th at 10:00 a.m. The funeral service will be held at the Resurrection Catholic Cemetery at 355 Taunton Rd. at 11:00 a.m. Alfreda will be dearly missed by her relatives in the United States who will honor and celebrate her life at a memorial gathering to be held in Michigan at a future date, due to the current restrictions regarding the Covid-19 outbreak.

Alfreda was known by all for her many remarkable talents. She was a tremendous cook, seamstress and gardener. Her skills were largely self-taught and she honed them at her church, in her workplace and helping her family. She was an incredible hostess and made spectacular home-cooked meals for her family and friends. She had a big heart and volunteered constantly in the kitchen at St. Hedwig Parish on Olive Street. She worked alongside a group of women who became her dearest friends, cooking and preparing food for all the church functions. For her, it was a labor of love. She loved to sew and made most of her clothes. She could make anything: dresses, coats, skirts, curtains, quilts, you name it. She had an eye for color. She was very good at knitting, crocheting and macramé. Alfreda also had a “green thumb”. Her yard was immaculate and a vision of beauty when her flowers were in full bloom. She grew flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruit in her yard, a veritable Garden of Eden! At one time, she had an apple, a pear and a cherry tree.

Alfreda was a Polish citizen who immigrated to Winnipeg from Germany in 1948 after World War 2. She met and fell in love with her husband, Henry, on the long boat ride from Germany to Canada. They disembarked in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the main point of entry. They married soon after and she moved to join him in the Red Lake District. The couple moved to Oshawa in the early 1950s where they raised their beloved son, Richard.

Alfreda had a reputation for being “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and her extraordinary life story is worthy of becoming a movie script! At a young age, she displayed tremendous courage and tenacity throughout periods of great hardship and trials in the war-torn Wołyń region of Southeastern Poland where she was born. She is a Polish survivor of the German work camps of that time period and performed hard labor on German farms. After the war, she lived with her family in German refugee camps for three years before settling in Canada. Being the oldest daughter, in her teenage years she was often called upon to come to her family’s aid. She is credited for helping her refugee family to survive, but moreover, to thrive. Her family members are very proud of her and thank the Lord with grateful hearts for having had Freda's wonderful presence in their lives. She has left behind a beautiful legacy and indelible impression on each of the lives she has touched.

Alfreda was preceded in death by her husband Henry; mother Tatiana; father Jan; sister Shirley; and brother Joseph. She was the loving mother of Richard and adoring babcia of Martine and Atheena. Alfreda is survived by her brothers Walter Zawisza (Alice); Hilary Zawisza (Phyllis); Andy Zawisza(Terry) and sister Genevieve Bournay (the late Bernard).

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations to a charity of your choice. Alfreda’s personal favorite was Lakeridge Health.

To place online condolences, please visit www.armstrongfh.ca
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  • Service

    Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 | 11:00am
    When
    Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 11:00am
    Location
    Resurrection Catholic Cemetery
    Address
    355 Taunton Road East
    WHITBY, ON L1N 5R5
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Private Family Service

    This event may be open-casket and the livestream may contain views of the deceased.

  • Interment

    Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 | 11:00am
    When
    Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 11:00am
    Location
    Resurrection Mausoleum
    Address
    355 Taunton Road East, 355 Taunton Road East, 355
    Whitby, Ontario L1N 5R5
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Condolences

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Private Condolence
JZ

Julie Zawisza

Posted at 07:40pm
Aunt Freda gave so much of herself and carried herself with pride and dignity. She was beautiful inside and out. Most of the hardships she went through in life I will never know but somehow she was not a bitter or disillusioned person. She was super strong and resilient, like her brothers and sisters, and incredibly decent.. She had so many talents and skills, her cooking was unparalleled (OMG her cheesecake and nalesniki and roast chicken and picked beets and more), she had an artistic sensibility and a sense of style in how she dressed and how she decorated her house, she was a superb seamstress and and could make anything. She could tell great stories and I learned things from her about our family that I had never known. My most treasured moments with her were sitting with her drinking the ginger tea that she liked to drink and hearing a story about the family and the old days in Poland and the early days in Canada with Uncle Henry. She also liked the casino :-) and that Chinese restaurant that had the buffet and we did that a few times. Her greatest joy was her family, Rick, Martine, and Athena. I am so very grateful for the time we had and for the relationship we had. Aunt Freda will always be in my heart. 💚
JZ

Julie Zawisza

Posted at 06:57pm
In memory of my dear sweet Aunt Freda. Thank you for being a guiding light and an inspiration. I love you so much. Julie
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Martine Rowan gagat

Posted at 06:10pm
So many memories run through my head with my babcia but my absolute favourites was when she taught me how to knit she was so proud of me when I learned when we would bake togethier and serve the food we made to my grandfather and father, and we she would talk about her brothers and sister she adored all you so much ♥️
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Service

Wednesday, May 06 2020 at 11:00 am

This event may be open-casket and the livestream may contain views of the deceased.


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