Dolores Zawaski Weslowski Chosen HVPS
2014-2015 Citizen of the Year
Dolores (Dolly) Zawaski Weslowski is extremely proud to have been chosen for this year’s Hudson Valley Polonaise Society’s “Citizen of the Year”. She was born in New Hampton, New York, and is the oldest of four daughters born to Walter Zawaski and Elsie Dombroski Zawaski. Her three sisters are Carole Zartman, Betty Slesinski, and Lex Zawaski. Following her graduation from Goshen High School, she had a career in the insurance and income tax business. For 40 years, she was employed by Reineke, Inc. as an Executive Secretary-Office Manager. After working twenty-five years, Lawrence Reineke, a retired Lt. Colonial in the U.S. Air Force, honored her with a party in the Officers Club at West Point. One of the highlights of the party was when Dolly met James Michener, the author of POLAND, who happened to be at the Officers Club autographing his book.
For thirty-five years Dolly’s parents owned and operated “The Lower Road Inn” on Lower Road (now County Rt. 12) in New Hampton, N.Y. In addition to this business, Dolly’s father owned a piece of the black dirt and raised onions and lettuce. Dolly and her sisters worked in the black dirt fields cutting lettuce, pulling and topping onions regardless of the weather or temperature. Dolly loved to dance and working in the fields never stopped her from going to Polish dances. Dolly also danced in two Onion Festivals.
St. Stanislaus Church, Pine Island, N.Y., was where Dolly received all her sacraments. At the age of 17 she was the Sodality President, and once she was “May Queen.” A day of rejoicing in the Church was October 26th, 1963, when Fr. John Felczak married Dolly to Chester Weslowski. Sadly, 30 years later, on January 19, l993, Chester passed away. Dolly continues to be very active in the Church. Currently, she is a member of the Rosary Society and was always willing to help Fr. Joseph Tokarczyk.
Dolly’s family always celebrated the holidays with all the Polish customs and traditions. As she grew up, Dolly witnessed how her Mom would cook for each holiday, not only for the family, but for anyone who had no place to go. Word got around the community that there were many places set at their table. Men without families would come and eat on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Easter and Thanksgiving Dinners with Dolly and her family. After her Dad passed away and the Lower Road Inn closed, Dolly started to entertain for all the family holidays and the celebrations moved to her home in Warwick, NY. She still entertains family and guests with all of the Polish traditions and her home always has a festive atmosphere. Dolly’s greatest pride is her family. She treasures Lou Poloniak, is always in touch with her sisters, loves her nieces and nephews and cherishes her numerous great nieces and a great nephew. Everyone in her family adores her!
Dolly is a very caring, kind, and considerate person who is very dedicated to her Polish heritage and community. She is a member of the Hudson Valley Polonaise Society where she is the membership chairman, as well as part of the scholarship committee. She is also a member of the Ladies Auxiliary; Polish Legion of American Veterans, Post #16, Pine Island, NY, and the General Pulaski Memorial Committee of Orange County. She is always willing to help with any tasks these organizations may require.
“Proud to be Polish” is her motto and her love of everything Polish positively shapes the family dynamic. This summer, Dolly’s great nieces and nephew are taking Polka dance lessons and she always attends to see how her beloved family continues these important Polish traditions. Being “Proud to be Polish” is now part of the younger generation and this makes Dolly very happy.
Submitted by Hilda Ellis