Following a brief illness, Eleanor Isadora Rojcewicz Center died at her home located between Bandera and Hondo, Texas, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. She was 92. Born in Hartford, New York on August 28, 1930, she was the daughter of Izidor and Stella Morowska Rojcewicz.
Even as a small child, Eleanor delighted in the marvels of nature. Butterflies landed on her. In her later years, she appreciated the more subtle changes in trees, grasses and wind and said “Texas smells like living things.” Eleanor was feisty, adventuresome, poetic, complex and insightful. Driving tractor and milking cows on the family dairy farm in upstate New York at age 11, she later said that the unsung WWII heroes were the girls and women who stayed behind and kept the country running. She made up and sang sweet songs even during her last week of life. Eleanor entered college at age 16, then earned a masters degree in History before teaching junior and senior high school in Mayfield, NY. She married ‘Bud’ Center, started a family, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1961 where they raised their 4 children. She taught at West Anchorage High School. She and Bud had hundreds of unique adventures as they flew their bush plane all over Alaska. At their home and Nancy Lake cabin, she provided comfort and hospitality to guests, so besides good meals and a high quality bed, many were treated to her iron-skillet rhubarb pie. Eleanor was constantly reading, learning or tackling something new. In her 20’s she sewed custom red upholstered seats for an old salvaged ski boat, in her 40’s she learned to fly and yelled with excitement when she did her first solo flight, in her 60’s she went back to school for a counseling degree, and in her 80’s she independently set up a complex computer system on their rural Texas ranch.
Eleanor once said, “I’m proud to be Polish. Not that being Polish is better than anything else. I’m proud to be Polish in the same way a Mexican is proud to be Mexican.” She felt it was important for everyone to have a sense of place and belonging in their family, in their community, in their nation and in God’s world and to be proud of having that place. She valued heritage and patriotism and wanted that to be passed on to future generations.
Eleanor was preceded in death by their son, Michael Gregory Center. The youngest of 10 children, Eleanor was also preceded in death by her parents and all 9 siblings: Alice Laughlin, Rose Gruber, Leonard Rojcewicz, Theodora Wilson, Peter Rojcewicz, Josephine Valenti, Constance Deen, Napoleon Rojcewicz and Clifford Rojcewicz.
She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Myron H. ‘Bud’ Center Jr.; daughters, Mary Cartwright (Gary), Stella Josephine, and Ruthie Glynn (Daniel); grandsons, Michael R. Center, Wes Cartwright, Chris Cartwright, Peter Cartwright and Jarek Halat; granddaughters, Kelsey Riemenschneider, Anna Bailey, Caley Garcia, and Rachel Glynn; 11 great-grandchildren, extended family and long-time friends.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Flying L Ranch in Bandera on November 12.
Rather than a memorial fund, Eleanor would have loved having a tree planted and enjoyed in her memory.