Joan Frances Zawisza Godlewski, a long-time resident of West Hartford, CT and Charlestown, RI passed peacefully in her sleep while in the comfort of her home, as she had wished, on January 16, 2019. She was 93 years old.
Born March 8, in Hartford, CT her family moved to Wethersfield, CT when Joan was 3 years old. It was there that Joan and her three brothers and sisters spent their entire youth at their farm homestead, raised by their parents John and Anna Zawisza, who were both immigrants from Poland.
From an early age, Joan had a special zest for and appreciation of life! As life offered its challenges then; she loved her school years, so much so, that while attending Center Grammar School in Wethersfield she was able to skip the second grade and enter 3rd grade. In high school, she continued to be active in school functions and was the Wethersfield High School tennis champion her junior year. She went on to graduate with honors in 1942. After graduation, Joan attended the Morse School of Business while working at the Town of Wethersfield’s Tax office. Soon after that she began working for the Federal Government, specifically the U.S. Department of Labor, where she remained for many years. While working, she began her active life with the Polish community of the Greater Hartford area. Her passionate involvement and participation became a major part of her life and it was then she met her husband of 35 years, Richard John Godlewski. They soon began their life together in West Hartford, CT where they raised their daughter Jodi Ann; Joan continued her community volunteering and working nonetheless. She also helped found the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford and devoted passionate time to the success of this foundation, as well as the Polish Junior League. Her faith was always key in her life, being a parishioner of both St. Cyril and Methodius Church- Hartford and St. Brigid Church- Elmwood.
Having been blessed with 93 years of life, there were so many chapters that came together to make her wonderful story that we’ve all come to know. In her senior years, she was grandmother to adoring grandchildren Chris and Andrew and was actively involved with their lives; never parting from her continued love and joy of community effort. For many years, she was an active volunteer and participant at the Elmwood Senior Center. During her time there, she organized the Red Hat Society Chapter at Elmwood and served as President. Although, Red Hat was her last club that she was active with, she enjoyed many years of fulfillment.
Aside from her commitment to her community, Joan’s devotion to immediate and extended family was of utmost importance to her, as she called herself “the family Godmother” for her siblings and families. She loved her friends and always took care in planning events with them. She especially enjoyed driving to those events, near or far. Among many other things, Joan was notably a voracious reader. Through her literature, she sought after adventure and travel, only when she was not out there pursuing it herself. Over the course of her life, she was able to travel to many European countries and Asia. Her joy for exploration and experiencing different cultures was a trait unique to Joan, but of course nothing could surpass the love for her Polish roots. We all will miss her kindness, her love of life and will always remember her infectious laugh but her spirit lives on through the experiences and life she shared with us.
Joan is predeceased by her beloved husband, Richard J. Godlewski, as well as her sister Marian Danner of Sebastian FL, and brothers Stanly Zawisza of Pensacola, FL and Walter Zawisza of Wethersfield, CT. She leaves her daughter Jodi G. Melvin of Medfield MA, and grandson’s, Christopher R. Melvin of Nashville TN and Andrew M. Melvin of Boston, MA. As well as eight nieces and nephews.
The family would like to send gratitude to Jessica Dakin, Joan’s Geriatric Care Manager, without her, Joan would not have been able to fulfill her wish to stay at her home in her last years of life. They would also like to send gratitude to her wonderful friends and extended family for being a part of her extraordinary life.
To send a message of condolence to the family, please view the obituary at www.sheehanhilbornbreen.com/obituaries