HADLEY, MA – Antoinette B. “Jane” Rodak of Hadley, MA passed away peacefully at home on October 29, 2021 after prolonged illness. She was 96 years old.
Born May 30, 1925 in Chicopee, Massachusetts to immigrant parents from southeastern Poland, Stanislaw and Katarzyna (Wisniowska) Brzezowski, Antoinette was the sixth of nine children. Growing up in a crowded and busy home, all of the children were instilled with a strong work ethic and the importance of religious faith in family life. At the start of World War II, as her older brothers went to war, Antoinette left school and took on a series of jobs to help make ends meet in a small household.
During the last year of the war, she met and fell in love with a young American Coast Guard coxswain, Stanley J. Rodak. He returned from the Pacific in August 1945 and the couple got married. They settled on the Rodak family estate in rural North Hadley. When her husband started his career, Antoinette became a housewife and raised three daughters. She was widowed after only 22 years of marriage. She entered the workforce and spent approximately 30 years working at UMass Amherst, first in food service and later as a manager of the sports laundry at Boyden Gym. She retired in 1991.
The decades brought him a series of six grandchildren and three great grandchildren, all of whom affectionately called him âBabciâ. His retirement years gave him more time to enjoy his favorite things in life, to cook and prepare Polish specialties, to the delight of his family, as well as to watch the Red Sox and Boston Celtics on television. Antoinette was proud of her Polish heritage and in 1992 took a whirlwind trip to Poland with her eldest grandson, first on tour
the country and then spend a week with cousins ââin the very village her mother had left 89 years earlier. In fact, Antoinette had spent half a century writing letters regularly, in Polish, to relatives in the “old country”. Weekends weren’t complete without polka music on the radio either.
Since her marriage, Antoinette has spent 76 years in the family home and has endured 54 years of widowhood. During all this time, her religious faith has been a great source of strength for her. She was a communicant at Most Holy Redeemer Church in Hadley. As her health declined and she became less mobile, Catholic Mass on television automatically became part of her daily routine.
Antoinette was predeceased by her parents, her husband Stanley Rodak, her eldest daughter Carol Fydenkevez, brothers Theodore, Joseph and Stanley Brzezowski, and her sisters Mary Brzezowski, Eleanor Misterka and Frances Pirog. She is survived by her daughters Margaret Kopec and Jane Pasquel; grandchildren John Waskiewicz, Tracy Rodriguez, Dan Waskiewicz, Carrie Woodell, Tina Allen and Alan Rodak; and great-grandchildren Kayla Allen, Alexandra Cioto and Lucas Allen. She is also survived by a brother Erwin Brzezowski and a sister Bertha Bishop, many nieces and nephews and many friends.
The funeral will be on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 9 a.m. at the CZELUSNIAK FUNERAL HOME, followed by a Christian funeral mass at the Most Holy Redeemer Church in Hadley. Interment will follow in the cemetery of the Holy Rosary. Call time will be Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For online condolences, please visit CZELUSNIAKFUNERALHOME.COM
The family would like to thank Antoinette’s physician for many years, Dr. Robert Weitzman, as well as the Cooley Dickinson Hospital VNA and Hospice for their help and support.
Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on November 2, 2021.