Walczyk, Elizabeth (Betty) Frey

Betty died on April 20th, 2020 at the age of 96. She was the last living child of J. Henry Frey and Julia Wanatowicz Frey of Farmington, CT. She was predeceased by her parents, her six siblings and her husband Lucian Walczyk. When Betty was in first grade at Center School in Farmington, now known as Noah Wallace, her teacher called the roll and asked if Elizabeth Frey was present. Betty stood up and announced her name was “Betty. She had never heard the name Elizabeth until that day. Her preferred name remained “Betty” for the rest of her life. A child of the great depression, she grew up in Farmington living in the house her father built and working on the family farm; taking care of the cows, chickens, ducks, pigs and large vegetable garden with her brothers and sisters. The only food they bought was grain for the animals, coffee, tea, salt, pepper, flour and sugar; everything else came from their farm. She learned to preserve food for the winter by home canning, pickling, drying and making juices, jams and jellies. For the rest of her life she remained a passionate gardener of flowers, vegetables, and fruit. She spent many happy hours preserving the produce she grew. She graduated from Farmington High School in 1942 where she was an outstanding basketball player and the team captain. To earn extra money, she worked cleaning houses in town and provided companionship for Mrs. Caroline Garmany whose husband provided seed money for the Hartford Foundation For Public Giving. Her first job after graduation was working with her sister Marie in the office at the New Britain Machine Company. After a trip to the hospital to have her tonsils removed, she discovered the US Army nursing program to provide trained registered nurses to join the troops in the field during WWII. She entered that program in 1944 at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT. As a freshman nurse she worked in the emergency room during the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire caring for burn victims, many of whom were dying. This experience left a lasting impression and strengthened her determination to be an outstanding nurse. She graduated as a registered nurse in April 1947. Since the war was over, she took a job at Norwich State Hospital to reimburse the government for her education. Her next-door neighbor in Farmington, Mary Vona, arranged a blind date for herself and Betty. That date led to each of them marrying the men they met on the date. Betty married Lucian Walczyk of New Britain, CT on September 11th, 1948. They bought their first house in Kensington, CT where they had their three children, Barbara in 1949, Thomas in 1951 and John in 1954. When Betty’s father died Betty and Lucian were offered the chance to buy his house and the family farm, which they did in 1957. When she returned to her childhood home in Farmington, Betty became an enthusiastic member of the Ladies Guild of St. Patrick Church. The Ladies Guild did all the interior maintenance of the church; vacuuming, dusting, ironing altar clothes and priest’s garments, washing vases, cleaning candle wax and decorating with flowers from their gardens. The Guild also held various events in the church basement such as fairs, potluck dinners and numerous card parties that were very popular. Betty especially enjoyed these social activities, but decorating the church with her garden flowers was one of her favorite things to do. In 1974 she and Lucian visited their relatives in Poland. The Communist government insisted that tourists use a state-run agency to tour the country even if they were visiting family members. Betty was frustrated when the agency conducted tours in Polish since she didn’t speak the language. Lucian hired an English-speaking taxi driver to follow the tour bus and explain in English what they were viewing so that Betty could understand and appreciate the tour. When they returned to Connecticut, she enrolled in a class at Central Connecticut State College to learn Polish. She also worked as a Red Cross volunteer at blood drives and did some private duty nursing at the request of her local doctor. In 1978 she decided to work fulltime and got a job at Mercyknoll in West Hartford as the night supervisor nurse. Mercyknoll, an institution owned by the Sisters of Mercy, was a nursing home for retired nuns of their order. Betty spent many productive years happily working with the nuns, some of whom would call her at home in Farmington on her days off to chat. In 1977 Lucian and Betty bought a summer cottage in West Gardiner, Maine, with a small beach on the Cobbosseecontee stream. Lucian enjoyed fishing and boating on the stream while Betty spent her days developing multiple flower and a vegetable garden on the property. The beaver population was prolific in the area and the beavers would cut down white birch trees around the cottage to build houses and dams. To save her trees from destruction Betty spent many hours winding chicken wire around the base of her trees’ trunks to prevent beaver damage. She also became very well known to the animal control office, requesting them, every summer, to remove the beavers. Her children and grandchildren enjoyed summer days swimming, fishing, boating and visiting Manie attractions during their vacation time. When Betty retired from Meryknoll she and Lucian were able to do limited traveling to England, Italy, and Yugoslavia as well as Florida in the USA. They also did a great deal of vegetable gardening; canning and freezing produce for use in the winter. Lucian died in July 2001 and was buried in Riverside Cemetary in Farmington. Widowed, Betty remained in her home visited by her children and grandchildren, until July 2015 when her daughter, due to her own illness, was unable to continue caring for her. She entered Cherry Brook Healthcare Center in Canton, CT as a permanent resident.
At Cherry Brook she was cared for with devotion and kindness by her nurses, Anne Monroe, Cam Nguyen, and Stephanie Sioravanti and many aides. She died of Covid-19 on April 20th, 2020. She was buried next to her husband Lucian, in a special ceremony arranged by Frank Ahern of the Ahern Funeral Home in Unionville on May 1st. Monsignor Thomas J. Barry pastor of St. Patrick Church, blessed the grave and conducted the internment prayers. The ceremony was attended by Barbara Walczyk, Thomas and his wife Maximina Walczyk, John Walczyk and his ex-wife Mary Ann Walczyk, Joel and Christine Miller and their daughter Mina, Ingrid Walczyk and her daughters Abigail and Zoe Kulas, Stephen Walczyk, Michelle Walczyk and her fiancé Jonathan Moore, John T. Walczyk and his sister Susanne Walczyk, Julio Susaya and Betty’s nephew Hank Frey and his wife Jean.
A Requiem mass will be scheduled at a future date. Memorial contributions in Betty’s name can be made to the St. Patrick Church building fund at: St. Patrick Church, 110 Main Street, Box 523, Farmington, CT 06034-0523 or the Farmington Historical Society at: Farmington Historical Society, PO Box 1645, Farmington, CT 06034.

Calling Hours

May 1, 2020 ~ The Ahern Funeral Home

Funeral Service

At a date in the future

Burial

Memorial Contribution

In Betty's name - St. Patrick Church, 110 Main Street, Box 523, Farmington, CT 06034-0523 or the Farmington Historical Society at: Farmington Historical Society, PO Box 1645, Farmington, CT 06034.

One Response to 'Walczyk, Elizabeth (Betty) Frey'

  1. Kathy arbacheski says:

    Goodbye to a very nice lady and a great aunt,She was like a sister to my mom, Genevieve when they were young, Genevieve was Lucian sister, kathy

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