June 5, 1927 – September 9, 2022
Gean was born June 5, 1927, to Grzegors Pozniak and Helena Korsak in the town of Nieswiez in the district of Nieswiez of what was then, Poland. She was taken at the age of 15 as forced labor to Germany where she worked as a domestic servant. At the end of the war, she met and married Joseph Bak in a displaced persons camp in Wieldfleccken Germany in 1946 and had a daughter Christine in 1947. They were sponsored by Joseph’s sister Kachia Hodyr and emigrated to Canada in 1948.
At first, they lived and worked on a mink ranch in what is now North Kildonan. They later moved to Winnipeg and where Gean took work in the garment industry and developed her skills as a seamstress. Her a son Frank was born in 1950.
In these post-war days, they were welcomed by a growing Polish immigrant community, and they made many lifelong friends. They became members of the Holy Ghost Polish Roman Catholic Church in Winnipeg and active members of the Polish Canadian Royal Legion Branch 246. For many years Gean served as a member of the color guard and received her 50-year certificate of recognition as a member of the legion.
She actively worked in the garment industry but also ran a successful part time seamstress business. Her entrepreneurial spirit led to numerous real estate investments over the course of her lifetime.
“Genia” was a very social person and had many friends. She loved to celebrate any occasion that would come her way. The cabin at Grand Marais was a welcome get away from city life and a special destination for her children and grandchildren. Many happy weekends were spent there. Later in her life, the beach at Hillside became a favorite destination for all her children, grandchildren ands great grandchildren. She and Joseph loved to travel, and they went back to Poland and Europe several times. At age of 80 she was still travelling with her senior’s group to Mexico for vacation.
Tragically, her son Frank died in 1989 at the age of 39 and her grandson Gregory died in 2004 at the age of 26. Her husband Joseph suffered a stroke in 1985 and never fully recovered. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 85 after many years at the Holy family Personal Care Home
Gean accomplished much in her long lifetime, experiencing both joy and sorrow. She loved her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and celebrated all their achievements. This love sustained her throughout her life.
Gean lived in her home on Hartford for 51 years and then moved to the Silver View Estates in 2016. There, she became involved in the many available social activities, faithfully accompanied by long time friends Lucy and George Beckta. In 2019 she moved to the St Norbert Personal Care Home and on Sept. 9, 2022, at the age of 95 years with her family at her side, Gean passed away.
She is survived by daughter Christine Berestiansky and husband John; grandchildren Leona Sembrat and husband Eugene, Mark Berestiansky and wife Lindsay and Julia Sorenson and husband Ryan; and great grandchildren Meira and Renia Sembrat; Paige, Camilla and Ronin Berestiansky; Liam, Eli and Lilian Sorenson.
She is interred at the Holy Ghost Cemetery beside her husband and son. “Babcia Genia” will be greatly missed and never forgotten. May God grant her eternal peace.
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