By DIANE R. CHODAN
OBSERVER Staff Writer
Here is the question for friends and family of Angeline Domanski of Dunkirk. How can we change the traditional Polish song we sing for her birthday next year? Saturday March 24 was birthday number 100 for "Angie" who is well-known in Dunkirk, particularly in the Polish-American community.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Angeline Domanski displays her beautiful smile at her birthday celebration at St. Hedwig’s social center. In the foreground is her cake, which says “Happy 100th birthday, Angeline.”
As many people of Polish descent know, there is a special song the Polish sing to celebrate birthdays. The first two words are "sto lat," which means 100 years. The song wishes that the person celebrating a birthday may have good health and live to be 100 years. "Sto jeden lat" (101) is possible but doesn't quite fit the melody.
State Sen. Cathy Young thought this milestone birthday was worthy of recognition. On March 7, Legislative resolution 3491 was issued "Congratulating Angeline Domanski upon the occasion of celebrating her 100th birthday."
The resolution recognizes "This distinguished woman, who has experienced the incredible joys and sorrows characteristic of, and reserved for, those with the stamina and courage to savor a full life, has inspired the lives of her many friends and family members."
Angeline is a lifelong resident of Dunkirk, and was born on March 24, 1912 in the fourth ward at home. She was the youngest of eight children, born to Frank and Stanislawa (Stella) Graminski of Dunkirk. She attended school at St. Hyacinth's school in Dunkirk. She married Casmir Domanski and had four children of her own: Danny Domanski, Judy Domanski, Carolyn Domanski Greenough, and Raymond Domanski. She has eight grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
For her hundredth birthday, family, friends and her church community planned a celebration that was faith-filled, traditional, and festive.
First, Father Matt Nycz, the pastor, and Father Bob Stolinski, Angeline's grand-nephew, con-celebrated a mass at the St. Hedwig's site of Blessed Mary Angela Parish. When Stolinski talked about "Aunt Angie", he brought a smile to the congregation by commenting on the fashionable hats Angie and her sister Flo would wear. Stolinski's godfather was Angeline's husband, Casmir Domanski.
Stolinski said, "I know Uncle Cas would say I'm glad I married you. Have a great day."
Nycz had two presentations for Angeline. One was a letter from Bishop Edward Kmiec. He wrote about Angeline's commitment to the church and to the Polish community and extended his heartfelt and best wishes to her.
Nycz recognized Angeline as a special member of the parish community.
"She has been an active member of the ladies' society and rosary society through all the changes in the parish," he said.
Nycz also presented her with a rosary from the parish, blessed it at mass and then told her to pray for the parish, which he said could use the prayers.
After Mass, Angeline walked to the decorated social center on the arm of her youngest son, Raymond. There were colorful balloons, a large cake, a buffet table decorated with pussy willows complete with some favorite Polish foods , and a musician who played the accordion.
Angeline wanted to express her thanks to everyone for the good wishes, the cards, gifts, and for the birthday celebration.
When asked the secret of her long life, Angeline gave two answers. One was her motto "Never stop working." She added, "If you stop, you can't start again."
A widow for a long time, she is what one would call a "hard worker." Over the years, she worked at Cardinal Mindszenty High School and St. Mary's school in the cafeteria. In addition, she cooked fish at Sek's restaurant and the Kosciuszko Club (Doghouse). Angeline is proud to tell people that she has been and still is a secretary for the Polish National Alliance 1193. She has served in the position for more than 55 years.
Angeline and her daughter Carolyn "sign in" at the "Doghouse" each Tuesday and Thursday. With a sparkle in her eyes and a small glass of beer in front of her, Angeline gave the second reason for her long life.
"Maybe because I'm naughty," she said.
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