Celia Zoldak, 99, of Gardner passed away peacefully on January 11, at her daughter’s home after a long, declining illness.
Born in Gardner on February 10, 1920, Celia was the daughter of the late Alexandra (Poliks) and Wladislaw Wolanske, immigrants from Poland. Celia was raised and resided her entire life in Gardner until her illness required assistance at her daughter’s home in Westminster. She was a life-long member of St. Joseph’s Parish and very proud of her Polish heritage. Celia missed her 100th birthday by 30 days.
Celia is survived by a daughter, Karen Kelley, of Westminster and her husband, James. She also leaves three grandchildren; Adam C. Zoldak of Clinton, Jacob E. Kelley of Austin, TX and Shauna Zoldak Castilleja of Jacksonville, NC and several great-grandchildren.
Celia was predeceased by her husband of 34 years, Adam F. “Eddie” Zoldak in 1976. Her son, Stephen E. “Zoldie” Zoldak passed away in June 2017. She was the last survivor of her immediate family of three brothers; Tadeusz, Benjamin, and Dr. Stephen Wolanske and three sisters; Stephanie Jasinski, Jadwiga Bagdonas, and Elizabeth Glinski.
Celia is a graduate of Gardner High School Class of 1938. She was always a good student-athlete and went out for as many sports as possible, even to defy her father to do so; basketball, her specialty. She was a determined, feisty competitor both on and off the field. She graduated from the Gardner State Hospital School of Nursing and was a psychiatric nurse for several years. Celia worked in a variety of secretarial jobs at the Florence Stove Co., at the city hall for the late mayor, Gabriel Morse, O’Hearn Manufacturing Co., Hatton Printing Co., Heywood Wakefield Co., and Collier Keyworth Co. She worked for 20 years at Ft. Devens in various capacities at their hospital, in the Army Security Agency, as a passport agent in headquarters, and as an overseas levy agent. After retiring from Devens, Celia held several part-time jobs: as a ward clerk at the Heywood Hospital and as an aide at the Gardner Manor and Wachusett Nursing Homes.
Celia’s interests and hobbies were vast and varied. She loved town politics and actively participated in the Gardner Democratic Committee, enjoyed working at the polls, and often was a delegate to the state conventions. Celia was an avid reader and often had several books going at the same time. She loved going to the library where the ladies, especially Tammy, always saved her books they knew she would enjoy. She was an excellent cook and shared many recipes, especially Polish galumpkis and chrusciki. She knitted and crocheted hats, mittens, sweaters for all the family. Celia enjoyed bowling and participated in leagues for both candle pins and ten pins. Her love of golf goes back 60 years when she joined the Worcester County Women’s Golf Association. She participated in weekly tournaments and was appointed a Gardner Golf Commissioner for which she served about 16 years. She was a past member of the Holy Rosary Sodality at St. Joseph’s and the Gardner Women’s Club. She also belonged to the St. Cecelia’s Choir, Polish Women’s Political Club, AARP, and the Gardner Golden Agers. Celia loved the beach and was often found at the PACC or Hampton Beach with family. Celia always remained a loyal Red Sox fan.
Celia’s deepest love centered around family. Her strong will and generous heart encouraged devotion to and love of family. Time spent together was precious. Do widzenia, Babci.
Celia’s family extends a special thank you and appreciation to the Gardner Visiting Nurses Association – Hospice Care and two very special PCA’s, Brenda and Karen for their compassionate, excellent care.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the GVNA – Hospice Care, 34 Pearly Lane, Gardner, MA.
Calling hours are Friday, January 31, from 10:00 to 11:30 A.M. at Mack Family Funeral Homes, Lamoureux-Smith & Poliks Chapel, 105 Central St., Gardner. The funeral will follow with a Mass at 12:00 Noon at Holy Spirit Church, 50 Lovewell St., Gardner. Burial will be private.