Adele Rose Kolassa, 95, of Dunkirk died peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk. She was born Oct. 26, 1917 in Dunkirk, the daughter of the late Zygmunt and Cecilia (Kopicki) Poniatowski. Adele came into the world prematurely as an identical twin. Her sister Henrietta died when she was 3 days old and Adele was expected to follow by morning. She beat tremendous odds, however, when her late grandmother came to her mother in a vision and instructed her on how to create a makeshift incubator. The doctor who examined Adele afterward burst into tears saying, "She's going to live. I couldn't save her. Someone
from the other world had to do it." Adele led a quiet, unassuming life, but one marked by great courage in the face of adversity. At the age of 16, she was forced to quit high school to become the sole support of her parents, younger sister and niece during the Great Depression. Although she loved school and cried when she had to give it up to work at the Van Raalte silk mill, she often was heard to say, "I don't need any degrees or diplomas. I've got common sense. That's more important." She married her husband of 45 years, Florian Harry Kolassa, on Sept. 12, 1942 only to see him off to the U.S. Army and World War II four days later. She would attend daily Mass, praying for his safe return while he fought valiantly on D-Day and in the Battle of the Bulge. A typical Polish American homemaker from the Greatest Generation, Adele was devoted to her family, faith and home. She faithfully attended Sunday Mass
at St. Hedwig's Church where she was a longtime parishioner, kept an immaculate house, and was a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Richard Paul Kolassa, and Mary Ann (Kolassa) Herrington. At 73, she became a doting "gramma" to her only grandchild, Roxanne Adele Herrington. Her one indulgence over the years was her nightly reading of murder mysteries in bed until her eyesight began to fail. Adele was blessed with another medical miracle on Dec. 6, 2003 when she regained total function of her bladder, previously diagnosed as neurogenic by two urologists following extensive testing. The healing occurred after a relic of Blessed Mary Angela, the parish patroness, had been placed on her body. She mourned the death of her husband Floyd on Dec. 16, 1987. But she kept the sorrow of having to bury her only son Richard in the prime of his life deep within herself. Her legacy of bridging the earthly and
Adele Rose Kolassa
spiritual worlds at her birth would manifest itself once again at her death. After two months of being catastrophically ill - many times
at the point of death - she defied the medical world by dying naturally on a day which held special meaning for her as a mother. On Nov. 21, 2012, Adele was called home to be with her son, who left this world on Nov. 21, 1993. So be it. Besides her daughter and granddaughter, she is survived by her son-in-law, Frank Herrington of Dunkirk; her niece and caregiver, Deborah Andin of Dunkirk; niece Carole Stafford of Ohio; niece Diane Murphy of North East, Pa.; nephew Tim Kenney of North Carolina; and several great-nieces and great-nephews. In addition to her parents, twin sister, husband and son, she was preceded in death by an infant brother, Frank Poniatowski; six sisters, Mildred "Emily" Blazejewicz, Eugenia "Irene" Urbanik, Dolores Kenney and infants Alice, Dorothy and Alice
Poniatowski; nephew and godson, Frederick Urbanik; and niece Elaine Schmitt. Relatives and friends are welcome to call at the R. Mackowiak Funeral Home Inc., 56 East Doughty Street in Dunkirk today from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday at 9:30 a.m at Blessed Mary Angela Parish Church of St. Hedwig. Burial will be in St. Hedwig's Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Northern Chautauqua Canine Rescue, 7540 North Gale Street, Westfield, NY 14787.