Haszlakiewicz, Zbigniew Marian
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Aug. 19, 1922 - June 30, 2009
Mr. Zbigniew Marian Haszlakiewicz, 86, Sarasota, formerly of Stolin and Lwow (formerly Poland); Braunschweig, Germany; Chicago; and Wilmette, Ill., died June 30, 2009.
A memorial service will be at 9:30 a.m. July 27 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Sarasota.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Leonarda.
Survivors include a son, Andrew and his wife, Bozenna, of Wilmette; and a daughter, Basia and her husband, Beng Kuan, of Houston; and
grandchildren Eric, Caroline, Julie, Olivia Kuan and Eleanor Kuan.
Zbigniew's early years were challenging and difficult. Orphaned at an early age, he lived with extended family, and moved often to escape Soviet and Nazi forces.
In 1943, Zbigniew was arrested by the Gestapo on suspicion of conducting underground activities, namely "teaching," a criminal offense against the Reich. For two years until the end of World War II, he was imprisoned in various concentration camps, including Auschwitz, DORA, Bergen-Belsen, where he underwent torture, deprivation, slave labor and numerous indignities. He wrote his memoirs in the book "Madness of the XX Century: a Testimony." In 1945, Zbigniew married Leonarda Mierzwa; they emigrated to America in 1951 with their young son, Andrew.
Educated in Germany and Illinois in architecture, Zbigniew eventually undertook the practice of structural engineering. He acted as chief engineer for A. Epstein and Sons in Chicago, designing skyscrapers, bridges and large industrial facilities. Eventually, he became an independent consultant and practiced his trade internationally on numerous important commissions. Zbigniew's devotion to his Polish heritage inspired him to undertake projects in Poland that benefited the basic needs of the populace, even during the communist occupation. Upon "retiring" in Sarasota in 1987, he continued to practice his profession, even during his illness. In that sense, he never retired.
As a devout Catholic, he donated time, funds and professional expertise to the construction of numerous churches and chapels around the world.
But mostly, we like to remember his social activities, where he established many friendships. Zbigniew was an avid tennis player and bridge enthusiast, participating in both activities several times a week. He was president of the Polish-American Club of Sarasota for several years, and managed the interests of the Landings' residents association as past president and consulting engineer. He published numerous articles and wrote poetry.
Zbigniew was a gracious, generous gentleman, and leaves behind a multitude of grieving friends and family.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Scholarship Fund of the Polish-American Club of Sarasota.
Published in Herald Tribune from July 5 to July 6, 2009