At the wake following her death, at Our Lady of Mount Virgin in Garfield, NJ, the following remembrance was circulated:
Stella Gajewski was the third child born to George Jadenski and Sophie Lasica on May 3, 1913. Her father was killed in a fire while working in a bakery [Wojciech “George” Lasica’s bakery] when Stella was 7 years old. Her mother was left to raise 4 daughters: Caroline, Wanda, Stella and Matilda.
Due to these unfortunate circumstances, Stella left school at a very early age in order to work to support this family. She desperately wanted to attend a school for design to become a clothes designer, which wasn’t possible. At age 14 she worked as a housekeeper & nanny. Then at she worked for US Rubber 6 days a week and for several years took night classes in pattern drafting and design.
On January 25, 1942 she married Frank Gajewski and subsequently 3 years later Gregory was born with Linda following 2 years after that. In 1950, they bought a home to raise their children and lived in Lodi until 1973, when they then moved to Passaic Park.
Stella was a phenomenal cook and accomplished baker. She enjoyed entertaining and every summer would host weekly backyard barbeques. She also hosted annual Christmas Eve dinners for her extended family with all the traditional Polish foods, which were lovingly prepared from scratch. In 1961 she even owned a restaurant.
She always made her own dresses, coats and hats and boasted that when Linda went to kindergarten, she started school with 25 new dresses. Not only did Linda benefit from her sewing skills but her granddaughter, Lisa, through the years also always had an extensive wardrobe of dresses, coats and hats made by her grandmother.
She was employed by many area factories working in the needlework industry sewing everything from coats, dresses, upholstering furniture and she last worked for Betmar Hats. She retired in 1978.
Due to diminished eyesight, her last years were spent unable to enjoy her sewing and beloved reading. She was a very strong and forceful woman and hated being dependent on anyone, especially her daughter.
Finally, on June 10, 2006, the work she was meant to do on this earth had been done and she valiantly chose not to prolong her life any further by refusing surgery. She died peacefully in the hospital on Tuesday, June 13, 2006.
She was preceded in death by her son Gregory on April 4, 2005, her daughter-in-law, Mary Frances on May 10, 2006 and son-in-law, Joseph Simonaro on February 10, 1992.
She is survived by her daughter Linda Simonaro, by her beloved granddaughter Lisa Kyriacos and her husband Gregory, and by her grandson James. Her nieces and nephew, Florence Reid, Doris Screnock and Bob Bielen also survive her.