Jan. 23, 1934 - April 27, 2017
As a child, Sophie Dobosiewicz experienced firsthand the horrors of war when Russian troops forced her father and older siblings from Poland and into work camps in Siberia. She would never see him or most of her seven older siblings again.
Mrs. Dobosiewicz, who died Thursday at the age of 83 in her Depew home, was born Sophie Wilk in Jakuszowice, Poland, before World War II ravaged that nation. Her maternal grandmother raised her on a farm in rural Poland during the occupation after her mother died from tuberculosis. Two of her siblings, who had been separated from their father on the train ride to Siberia, survived their journey through Russia and refugee camps in Iran.
They ultimately made their way to England. Eventually, her eldest sister, Janina, found her way to Buffalo. Janina sponsored Mrs. Dobosiewicz, then a young woman teaching elementary school in Poland, to immigrate to the United States in 1959.
Her first job in Buffalo was as a seamstress at the former M. Wile & Co. Mrs. Dobosiewicz met her husband John at a dance sponsored by Dom Polski in Buffalo's historic Polonia, and they were married on Christmas Day in 1963. Pursuing the teaching career she had begun in Poland, she obtained her master’s degree in teaching at Buffalo State College in 1969. Mrs. Dobosiewicz began teaching Polish at South Park High School, as well as Russian and German languages and math courses. She later taught at Bennett High School.
After a brief career diversion as a real estate agent, Mrs. Dobosiewicz returned to teaching and began working at School 11, teaching the Polish language and culture.
"My mother always instilled the value of hard work and commitment," said Mrs. Dobosiewicz's daughter, Lisa. "Her life was a living example of that. She had a generous heart, and was thoughtful of others before herself until the end.”
In 1992, the AmPol Eagle awarded her its Citizen of the Year designation for her innovative work in education.
In her retirement, she and her husband traveled the world, including trips to Poland, South Korea, Japan and northern Africa.
Even in retirement, she found herself teaching her grandchildren the richness of Polish traditions and customs so they would know their heritage. They enjoyed making pierogi with their babcia almost as much as eating them.
Her husband of 51 years died in 2015.
In addition to her daughter, she is survived by three grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Philip the Apostle Church, 950 Losson Road, Cheektowaga.