Bronka L. Steffan was both an ardent Republican and a staunch democrat with a small "d." Forced to flee with her family when their native Katowice, Poland, was invaded by Germany at the onset of World War II, Bronka Lubelski, who was 11, spent two years trekking through Russia to Japan before arriving in the United States in 1941. The escape from tyranny influenced her emergence as a staunch patriot in her adopted country.
"She believed in freedom. She didn't like anybody criticizing the American way," said her daughter Mary of Naples, Fla.
A former director of alumnae relations at Rosary Hill College and onetime member of the Republic National Committee, Mrs. Steffan died Tuesday in Millard Fillmore Hospital after suffering a stroke in her Orchard Park home. She was 77.
She graduated from Stella Niagara and attended the University of Buffalo, where she met her husband, attorney Edwin F. Steffan. While raising their four children, she began working for Rosary Hill, now Daemen College. As its first alumnae director, she initiated its annual fund campaign.
Long an active Republican, she assisted the election campaigns of Rep. Jack F. Kemp and served on the party's national committee in the 1970s.
Mrs. Steffan spent more than 20 years as party and banquet coordinator at the Buffalo Raceway clubhouse before retiring six years ago.
She was a member of the Stella Niagara Alumnae Association, Executive Women International, Buffalo Choral Arts Society and Twentieth Century Club.
Her activities of the past six months were typical of her life: She traveled to Puerto Rico to spend three weeks with a grammar school friend and then spent two months in Naples, Fla., and two weeks in Phoenix.
Upon returning home two weeks ago, Mrs. Steffan visited Stella Niagara to see her 96-year-old high school teacher and lifelong mentor, Sister
Her husband of 45 years died in 1995.
Other survivors include two sons, Charles of Sacramento, Calif., and David of Orchard Park; another daughter, Sally of South Wales; and five grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday in Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 26 Thorn Ave., Orchard Park, after prayers at 10:15 in Quinn-Amigone Funeral Home, 6170 W. Quaker Road, Orchard Park.