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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Waleria Lipczynski

Polish Leader, Dies

After a lifetime of service to the Polish people in the United States, Mrs. Waleria Lipczynski, 84, died at her home, 918 Crescent St., NE, Monday night. She and her husband, John Lipczynski, came to Grand Rapids from Poland in 1869 and were instrumental in adding to the number of families—there were only eight—of Polish extraction who were here at that time.

She was born in Trzemeszno, Poland, Oct. 1846. With her husband, she was one of the founders of St. Adalbert’s Aid society. In 1878 she helped form the Polish National Aid Society, which, with the other groups, fostered the construction of St. Adalbert’s church in that year.

For her work with the Polish National Alliance in 1905 and later as commissioner, she was awarded the gold cross for service to her native land by the Republic of Poland in 1927. Her duties in the Alliance led her all over the United States, and in 1910 she discussed the welfare of her countrymen with President Roosevelt, and later was one of a delegation which met with President Taft.

Surviving are a son, Joseph B. Lipczynski of Grand Rapids; a daughter, Mrs. H. O. Pierce of California; two grandchildren, Mrs. Stanley Orlowski and Eugene Fiske, and a granddaughter, Miss Dorothy Fiske, all of Grand Rapids. Mrs. Lipczynski was a widow.

Funeral services will be held at St. Isidore’s Polish Catholic Church Wednesday morning. Burial will be in the Polish Cemetery.

Honorary pallbearers coming from Chicago will be John Romaszkewicz, president of the Polish National Alliance; Mrs. M. Milewski, director of the Polish National Alliance; and Mrs. A. Skercynski, director of the women’s division of the P.N.A.

Active pall bearers will be John J. Smolenski, Louis Newmann, Leon Nadolski, Michael Buzalski, John Szczerba, Frank Golembeski. Rev. Joseph Pietraski will officiate at solemn high mass. Others officiating at the service will be Msgr. C. Skory, pastor of St. Adalbert’s who came from the town of Mrs. Lipczynski’s birth; Rev. Joseph Kaminski, deacon, and Rev. S. Betka, sub-deacon.

Grand Rapids Herald, Feb. 18, 1930, pg. 8

Note: According to Eduard Skendzell, "Before Valeria Lipczynski's remains were finally consigned to the earth, Joseph Kacknowski, her friend and protégé, stepped forward with a special urn of Polish soil from Trzemeszno, her birthplace, which he had obtained at her request on a visit to Poland in the summer of 1920. He sprinkled the soil on her casket as it reached its final resting place." Grand River Valley History, Spring 1992, pg. 10


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