September 30, 1924 — June 26, 2023
Born in Hrubieszow, Poland on September 30, 1924, Gertrude Majewski was the eldest child of Nellie and John Bukowski. At the age of 12, she embarked on a life-changing journey with her family, immigrating to Canada in 1936. They settled in Cloverleaf, Manitoba, where they faced the daunting task of establishing a farm on undeveloped land.
With determination and the support of their Polish neighbors, the family transformed the bare land into a thriving mixed farm. Together, they built a home, barns, and a summer kitchen, creating a place where they could not only survive but also flourish. Cows, pigs, and chickens roamed the farm, providing sustenance and livelihood, while wheat, rapeseed, oats, and other crops were cultivated to nurture the land and sustain their growing family.
Learning English and adapting to a new culture were significant challenges for Gertrude. Yet, with her characteristic resilience and unwavering spirit, she embraced these obstacles head-on. She attended school, determined to master the language and acquire the knowledge necessary to thrive in her adopted homeland.
As Gertrude grew older, she left Manitoba at the age of 17 to Hamilton, Ontario began working at Steelco, working on the assembly line for the war. She was promoted to an elevator operator working 12-hour shifts 6 days a week. She met her husband Martin Majewski during the war and was married in 1945.
Gertrude’s warm smile and kind heart endeared her to all who knew her, and she was a pillar of strength, self-educated, and very inspiring for her family, friends, the members of the Kelowna Family Y, and the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna.
She loved to cook, dance, garden, oh my gosh her flowers and veggies, read, sew and walk. Many had a hard time keeping up with her. She was an amazing seamstress sewing all her children’s clothing including coats and wedding dresses for both daughters that were similar to Lady Diana’s.
Throughout her life, Gertrude held onto her Polish heritage, passing down traditions, recipes, and stories to future generations. Her two grandchildren and their friends called her Babci. Both grandchildren have mastered the “Art of Piroshkis’” (perogies). She instilled in her children a deep appreciation for their roots, and her love for Poland and Canada became an inseparable part of their identity.
Sadly, on June 26, at the age of 98, Gertrude bid farewell to this world. She was sadly predeceased by her husband Martin in 1999. She is survived by her children Jane McLelland, Ron Majewski, Christine (Walter) Haessig, and Wendy Majewski; grandchildren Cory Dal Ponte, and Carly (Moe Alkhazandar) Dal Ponte; sisters Christine (Bill) Reynolds, and Doreen (Ben) Parkinson; and a large extended family of “adopted” children and grandkids.
Her legacy lives on through her children, and friends who continue to embody the values she held dear—hard work, integrity, resilience, honesty, friendship, and an unwavering love for all her family and “extended adoptees”.
In honoring Gertrude’s memory, let us remember her remarkable journey—from a small village in Poland to the prairies of Canada. Working and raising a family in Hamilton then retiring in Kelowna in 1987. It took immense strength and courage to build a life filled with love, faith, and countless memories.
Gertrude’s life serves as a testament to the power of determination, the beauty of embracing a new beginning, and the lasting impact one person can have on the lives of many. May her soul rest in eternal peace, forever cherished in our hearts.
An open house Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, on what would have been her 99th birthday, at the home of her daughter Wendy.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation (Children’s Care).
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