Regina Odachowski Gregorek was born September 7, 1921 in Baltimore, Maryland in the area known as Fells Point. At the time, it was a place of hardworking Polish immigrants living in the area around their home Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Her father, Walter, was a baker. Her mother, Stephanie, ran the household with the help of her two eldest daughters, Regina and Dolores. There were ten siblings in total. Her brother, Melvin, is the last surviving sibling.
In 1941, "Gean" married the love of her life, James Gregorek. Together they raised one child, a daughter named Regina (or Gina). Gina remained devoted to the loving care of her mother until she died, cradled in her arms, on August 28, 2020. At the time of her death, Gean lived in her daughter’s and son-in-law’s home in Goodyear, Arizona.
Gean was always industrious. As a young woman she worked in her father's bakery, in a factory "ironing shorts", a market stall on Broadway and then a grocery store (where she first met James). She took a job at Western Electric and became a Floor Supervisor. She was proud of her hard work and long tenure. She retired from Western Electric after 33 years
"Gean O" and her "Jamesy" were a loving couple. Best friends who did everything together. James passed away in September 2006. Always together, they enjoyed watching sports. Their favorite teams were the Baltimore Orioles, Ravens and teams from the University of Maryland and University of Oklahoma. In later years, Gean loved listening to audio books. She loved her Maryland roots and her big Polish family. Of most importance to her was family and living a life of Catholic devotion.
When speaking of Gean, people always remarked on her beauty. Her delicate hands and fingernails. Her flawless skin. Beautiful from the inside out with the light of love in her eyes.
Everyone loved Gean. Called Aunt Gean by many generations of Odachowskis. Called Nana by her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. She will always be remembered for kindness and selfless devotion to family.
Among the projects she devoted herself to was the saving of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church from developers. She and James ran a bingo for many years, the proceeds of which funded the legal effort and the establishing of a museum. They even joined the picket line and garnered the attention of the press. Well known, too, for the bus trips she and James organized. The proceeds from the trips were given to a convent in Poland whose focus was aiding blind children. Labors of love that filled their retirement years with a cause and added many friends to their lives.
Mostly it was the people Regina loved and supported. Oh, how she loved us. A youngster selling chocolates for a school fundraiser or raising money for a trip. You could always count on her. Her hand crocheted items (blankets, baby sets and stuffed bears) remain treasured keepsakes to so many of us. Gean was always generous with her time and talents. She was a devoted and doting daughter, sister, mother, friend, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother. She was blessed to have met baby, Esme and on several occasions, play cars and games with Esme's brother, Judah. Nana and 3-year-old Judah were fast friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, James E. Gregorek; grandson, Kurt J. Tesch; her parents, Stephanie and Walter Odachowski, Sr.; and 8 siblings. She is survived by her daughter, Gina Adelman (Rodney); granddaughter, Tara Forsburg (Gerald); great granddaughter, Ashley Withey (Justin); great grandson S. Mitchell Forsburg; great great grandchildren Judah and Esme Withey; Step Granddaughter Valerie Collier (Tony and sons Aiden, Camden and Weston).
Services will be held September 11, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale, AZ 85392. The service will be available via livestream. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Arizona Friends of Talking Book Library. They made Gean’s life more pleasurable after she began losing her sight due to macular degeneration. She often listened to one book a day. The address is 1030 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008. Or go to www.AZfotb.org .
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