Kathy Szelazek (age 72)
December 30, 2021

Kathy “Kasia” Szelazek (née Rysz), 72, of Hamtramck, MI, passed away peacefully on December 30, 2021 in Livonia, MI, after a valiant battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

Kathy was born on February 24, 1949 in Długie, Poland. At a young age she was very outgoing, having many friends, and was known for her generosity and willingness to offer aid. She pursued this passion for helping others, having studied to become a nurse, a field she would enter and stay in for most of her adult life—a testament to the fountain of generosity that flowed from her heart.

In 1968, Kathy emigrated to America and one year later met her husband George, in Stamford, CT, where they married shortly thereafter. The couple recently celebrated 52 years of marriage, receiving a letter from the President of the United States commemorating their golden anniversary.

In 1970, Kathy settled in Hamtramck with George, and soon after, their sons Gregory and Thomas were born. As a mother, she honed her baking and cooking skills, and embarked upon a lifetime of feeding everyone she loved with her finest recipes. Her life-long interest in gardening also blossomed at that time and the backyard of her family’s two-story inner-city brownstone resembled springtime in Polish Galicia.

During the summer in Michigan, she was a cook at Camp Białowieża, and as a volunteer she fed hundreds of Polish Scouts. During the Soviet occupation, she would send care packages to help loved ones in Poland. In 1986, Kathy proudly became a US citizen.

After the family moved to Canton, MI, Kathy went back to night school and earned her degree in Occupational Therapy (OT), returning to the nursing field, a career she loved and thrived in until her retirement. At the same time, she was still a doting mother and housewife who tirelessly chauffeured her sons to all their activities, encouraging and supporting them to explore their interests and broaden their horizons.

As an OT, she received hundreds of thank you cards over the years from her patients and their families. She cared about her “girls” in the office, having taken them under her experienced wings, and truly missed them when she retired, as they did her.

In her retirement, she continued to enjoy her passions of gardening and ensuring everyone who entered her home was well fed, cared for, and loved. Her final days and hours were spent in a celebration of her amazing life. In the end, she had the last laugh at PSP, and with her head held high, she chose to go exactly on her own terms by refusing treatment after a PSP-related fall. Her courage and strength in the face of such personal misfortune is an inspiration to us all. Her family is so very proud of her.

First and foremost, she was the most devoted wife and mother who had all the time and love for her family and friends. She wanted everyone to have fun and be happy, to raise a glass, to eat another plate, and to love each other just a little more. Kathy’s undying love and generosity will be missed by all those lives she touched.

She is survived by her husband George, her cherished sons Gregory and Thomas, precious grandson Tyler, brother Stanislaw Rysz and sister-in-law, Maria, nephews Bogdan Wenta, Ronnie Rysz, Mark Rysz, Daniel Rysz, and niece, Magda Rysz, numerous cousins, and great-nieces and great-nephews around the world. Predeceased by her parents Aleksandra and Jan Rysz, sister Władysława Wenta, and nephew Janusz Wenta.

Tuesday January 4, 2022 from 9:30- 10:15 AM

Jurkiewicz & Wilk Funeral Home (map)
2396 Caniff
Hamtramck MI 48212

Funeral service
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Lying in state at 10:30 AM until time of funeral mass at 11 AM.

St. Ladislaus Catholic Church (map)
2730 Caniff
Hamtramck MI 48212