New London - Anna Niedojadlo, 89, of 301 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, died Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at Bayview Health Center. Anna Pruszynska was born in Konarzyce, Poland, on April 20, 1928, to land owners Francis Pruszynski and Josephine Walewska. Anna was only 11 years old during the Soviet invasion of Poland. Her father was shot, and she and her remaining family members were deported by cattle cars to Siberia, where she lost her mother and two of her siblings to dysentery. She survived by her wits and her fortitude, despite her circumstance and the stark poverty of war. Over the next few years she and her only remaining sibling, her younger brother, Felix, would be moved from one Red Cross camp to the next from Kazakhstan to Tehran, Iran, and finally to Rhodesia, Africa, where she was schooled in English, math and theater. She loved the African people, climate and animals, it was there where she discovered and became very fond of her favorite fruit, mango. Her journey was far from over when she and her brother bought passage on a ship and sailed for 28 days to reach England. It would be her home for several years. In 1950, while living in a Polish hostel, she attended university full time at North Gloucestershire Technical College in Cheltenham, England, where her love of Shakespearean theater blossomed. Four years later, with the help of the British National Assistance Board, she secured full time employment as a switchboard operator in London. Anna loved London, and considered it her home. She was single, beautiful, in her 20s and was doing what most young women yearn to do, she was loving life! It was at a USO dance one evening where she met and fell in love with the handsome Polish American GI and Korean War veteran, Bruno Niedojadlo. They married in London in 1956, and a year later welcomed Stefan, their first of four sons. In September of 1958, Anna and her young husband and new baby departed from Southampton, England, on the Greek Ocean Liner SS New York for New York, USA, for the next chapter of her life. They settled in New London and remained happily married and devoted to one another for 49 years, until Bruno's death in 2006. Anna eventually returned back to part time employment work as a seamstress at local businesses like Shalett's Cleaners, Tunxis on Garfield Avenue, Filenes in the Crystal Mall and finally to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where she worked in the uniform shop and loved being surrounded by what she affectionately called, "my boys". She attend various cadet graduations over the next few years and was endeared to so many of her boys. She was a lifetime member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, and enjoyed many Polish traditions, especially cooking for her family. Her recipes and the joy they bring to those who cook as well as those who eat, will continue to be shared and cherished for generations. Anna was predeceased by her son, Robert. She is survived by three sons, Stefan of Meriden, Richard of Quaker Hill and Anthony and his wife, Sandy, of Waterford. She also leaves three beloved grandchildren, Evan, Hannah and Jacob. The family would like to thank the staff at Bayview Health Care for the kindness that they showed to Anna during her stay.
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