Wanda Chmielak Szal

BANGOR - Wanda Chmielak Szal, 92, died Feb. 18, 2013, after a lengthy illness. She was born Dec. 29, 1920, in Passaic, N.J., the fourth child of Polish immigrants.

She married John R. Szal, Oct. 19, 1940, and raised four sons. While her children were young Wanda was an active participant in school musical productions at St. Luke's School, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., and Bergen Catholic High School, Oradell, N.J. She cherished her singing experience and the camaraderie during her years as a member of the St. Luke's choir from the 1950s to 1970s. The Szals lived in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., and frequently entertained business associates from Australia and the Pacific Rim nations, where John was manager for overseas operations for Standard Oil. Upon moving to Montvale, N.J., she volunteered as a school nurse at Our Lady of Mercy, Park Ridge, N.J., during the early 1970s. In 1970 Wanda began formal art lessons and painting became her passion until failing eyesight made it impossible for her to continue her detailed, realistic paintings. Her subjects ranged from wildlife to still life, landscapes and portraits, reflecting her own interests and those of her family. A retrospective of her work was presented at Boyd Place, Bangor, during her residency there. She created more than 100 pieces of art between 1970 and 2000, most of them given as gifts to members of her family. Wanda and John enjoyed 25 years of retirement in Ormond Beach, Fla., where church and service work were an important part of their life.

A member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Bangor, Wanda was predeceased by her husband, John, in 2004. She is fondly remembered by her four sons and their families, Gregory and wife, Regina, of Long Beach, Calif., Paul and wife, Christine, of Bangor, Gerald and wife, Catherine, of Phillipston, Mass., and Mark and Nathalie of Bow, N.H. She also leaves nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The family is grateful for the love and excellent care given by many compassionate caregivers.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory may be given to St. Paul the Apostle Parish, 207 York St., Bangor, ME 04401 or New Hope Hospice, P.O. Box 70, Eddington, ME 04428.

Published in BDN Maine on Feb. 23, 2013