Wanda Mc Namara
Northfield, MA — Wanda Regina McNamara (Podolak) age 96, died on July 26, 2021 at her home in Northfield, surrounded by family. Wanda was born in Hadley in 1924, the daughter of Joseph and Malwina Podolak. She graduated from Hopkins Academy and married Chester Storozuk of Sunderland in 1948. They settled in Hadley and raised three children. After the tragic death of Chester in 1958, Wanda resettled in Northfield with her second husband and had three additional children.
As one of four kids born to immigrant parents, her coming of age as a hard worker was preternaturally early, determined by the needs of a family farm confronting the Great Depression. Despite the challenges, she spoke fondly of that era: She cut cabbage, pulled onions, and dug potatoes, all destined for market; during the Hurricane of '38 she helped pull her father from certain death as he bolstered the barn to save the family cow (father and the cow survived, the barn did not); in high school she was named homecoming queen (to the pride of the Poles, to the consternation of others). She was a style maven from humble origins, so when she wanted a new dress, she made it.
Polish was her first language, and pride in her culture was never distant from the food made, the music played, and the conversations conducted in Polish: hard packed with consonants, animation, and laughter.
Learning from an early age to cook and bake, she once worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts teaching young mothers how to craft meals from limited resources. Respected for these culinary skills and renowned for her generosity, she also taught each of her children to cook, bake, and give beyond one's means. When she became a single parent with six children in her care, she turned a hobby into a trade known as The Silver Lantern Antiques.
Wanda was a tireless advocate for her disabled daughter Maria, first resisting professional advice to have her institutionalized, later ensuring she received a focused, formalized education. Her motherly instincts were immutable, and her daughter touched the heart of everyone encountered by the inseparable pair. Upon Maria's passing she tearfully spoke of losing the tiny, private moments of joy between two best friends.
Her creativity was omnipresent, her interests spanned generations, and when needed, ignored social norms. Art, humor, and curiosity were cultivated in her home. As an active member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church for more than 60 years, she found fellowship and solace, and her faith was integral to the dignity and resilience she demonstrated throughout a life known for perseverance, quiet acts of giving, and joy.
She is survived by her children Chet Sinclair, of Greenfield, Peter Storozuk of Northfield, William Storozuk and his wife Crystal of Bernardston, and Jim McNamara of Hatfield. She is also survived by her grandson Luke Storozuk, his partner Rilissa Caisango, and their daughter Chloe Storozuk of Girard, OH, and her dear friend Joan O'Connor of Portland, OR. Besides her husband Chester, she was predeceased by her son Matthew and daughter Maria, as well as her siblings Edwin Podolak, William Podolak, and Joanne Madenski.
A celebration of her life will be held in June of 2022. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Patrick's Church, 80 Main Street, Northfield, MA.
Kidder Funeral Home, 1 Parker Ave. Northfield, Ma. Is in charge of arrangements.
Published by The Recorder on Oct. 5, 2021.