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Dr. Krystyna Stróżyk-Żelechowska Collection

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Dr. Krystyna Stróżyk-Żelechowska Collection


Krystyna A. (Stróżyk) Żelechowska was born on July 7,1931 in Piekary Śląskie,Poland. Because of the uncertain times and Germany's threats of war, the Stróżyk family moved to Katowice,Poland where Krystyna began her elementary school education and attended Grades 1 and 2 in the local Polish schools.After the 1939 German invasion and occupation of Poland, it was compulsory for children to attend only German schools.Krys was required to learn the German language,in which she excelled her entire life. During the German occupation of Katowice,Krys and her mother were displaced from their lovely apartment and required to seek much smaller and inconvenient accommodations. Krystyna's father was forced to go underground to hide from the German authorities in reprisal for his involvement in securing the Silesian territories for Poland. In 1945, World War II ended and Poland became subjugated to Communist rule. The Polish schools were reopened and Krys returned to high school in Katowice.Then she furthered her education in Rybnik, where she attended the Ursuline high school.

Upon graduation, Krystyna attended the Medical University in Poznań, majoring in Stomatology, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1955, receiving the title "Doctor of Stomatology." Thereafter, she was assigned to work in Bielsko-Biała as head of the children's dental clinic. Due to the lack of housing, Krys later transferred to Katowice, where she managed the local elementary school's dental office and shared a small apartment with her mother. Krystyna was a kind and generous woman, who not only treated the children's problems, but encouraged them in their studies. She also helped to clothe and feed the less fortunate.

In the political climate of Communist-controlled Poland, local businesses were constantly harassed and unjustly assessed high taxes. In order to avoid additional threats to her business and concerned for her safety, Krystyna's mother Martha, a dress shop owner, immigrated to the USA in 1960. Krys, who was very close to her mother, decided to follow her. In the USA, Krys began a new life, which she dedicated fully to dental and medical research at Astra Pharmaceuticals in Worcester,MA. During this time, she became a faculty member at Tufts University Dental School, lecturing and doing research. Krystyna was the author of many scientific papers, which were presented at several medical and international conventions.

In 1963, Krystyna went back to Poland and married her long-time fiancé, Antoni J. Żelechowski, a successful civil engineer, who subsequently immigrated to the USA. Antoni's international engineering assignments allowed them to travel around the world. At the same time, Krys and Tony operated a successful motel business on Cape Cod and invested in real estate in Massachusetts.

Krystyna was an exceptional daughter. For each Mother's Day, she gave her mother trips to exotic places. From 1986 to 1993, during her mother's illness, Krys took care of her with full devotion, Krys was also a great philanthropist. She and her husband were the original benefactors in establishing Our Lady of Częstochowa, the Polish church in Pompano Beach, FL. Additionally, Krys contributed to the memorial sculpture of Iyanough, a Native American chief, in Hyannis,MA. Tony and Krys continued their generosity by contributing to many charitable organizations in the USA and Poland.

Krystyna was well-read and and proud of her Polish heritage and history. In 1998, Krys sponsored her niece to immigrate to USA from Chorzów,Poland. Krystyna was an excellent wife, devoted friend and invaluable advisor to her husband Tony. Together they made a perfect couple-elegant dancers, brave skiers, and astute business partners. After retirement, they often traveled to Europe, including Poland.

Dr. Krystyna Stróżyk-Żelechowska died in 2005 and is interred in the historical Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge,MA. To commemorate Krystyna's achievements, contributions, and her special love, the "Dr. Krystyna Stróżyk-Żelechowska Polish Folk Art Gallery Room" was sponsored by her husband, Antoni, in her honor.

Items in the Dr. Krystyna Stróżyk-Żelechowska Collection Collection

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