Anna D. Sywulak, a longtime resident of Cheltenham, died Monday, November 5, 2018. She was 91.
"Anna Drabyk Sywulak was born March 1, 1927, in Turzansk, Poland, the second daughter of Eva Uhryn and Andrew Drabyk. She had an older sister, Maria, and two older brothers, Metro and Bill. Mom’s sister Maria died in an accident as a toddler. Her father was an American citizen born in Kingston, PA and her mother was born in Eastern Europe. Mom’s father and mother met and married after World War I ended. In 1927, shortly after Mom was born, her father Andrew decided that he should go back to the United States, make some money, and bring his family along as soon as he could do so. Sadly, his wife Eva suffered a leg injury for which she refused proper treatment, resulting in her early death, when Mom was only about four or five years old. Her brothers were about 12 and 7 years old at the time.
Mom and her brothers went to live on a farm in Southeastern Poland (Turzansk) with an uncle and aunt after their mother had died, waiting for word from America as to when they would be able to rejoin their father. It took many years, but in November 1938, they arrived by ship in New York harbor. Mom was nearly eleven years old and her brothers were teenagers. Immigration was very restricted in those days leading up to WW II, and the Drabyk siblings would probably not have been admitted except for the fact that their father was an American citizen and they also were citizens. Mom and her brothers arrived in America less than one year before Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began. If they had been delayed any further, it is unlikely that they would have been able to leave at all. Our Mom treasured her brothers, my uncles, Metro and Bill. These three traveled together, without an adult chaperone, by ship [Pilsudski], from either Gdansk or Gdynia, Poland, in 1938.
Mom and her brothers went from New York City to live in coal country, the town of Frackville, Schuylkill County, upstate Pennsylvania, after arriving in America. They stayed there until about 1942. As America went to war, Andrew Drabyk moved his family to Philadelphia, PA where he opened a tailoring shop on Girard Avenue, between Front and Second Streets, across the avenue from the old Schmidt’s brewery. Mom would be living at this location at the time she was married.
In September 1948, Mom married Leon Sywulak and traveled to Bermuda by ship on their honeymoon during a hurricane. At one point our Dad could not locate Mom inside the ship; he found her outside, observing the forces of nature, oblivious to the danger. Over the next 16 years they formed a family of seven children, four boys and three girls. In 1951, they moved to a new home in Cheltenham, PA. Mom and Dad celebrated 60 years together before his passing in November 2008.
Stephen, Andrea, Michael, Daniel, Mark, Daria and Maria grew up in Cheltenham, attending public school from kindergarten through senior high school. Over the years, the family attended the Ukrainian Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Franklin Street, Christ the King Church in Nicetown, and finally, Annunciation BVM Church in Melrose Park, beginning about 1961. Dad and Mom were founders and benefactors of this parish, along with Dad’s mother.
Her home in Cheltenham was always Mom’s favorite place, for over 67 years. Mom told us so many times during hospital and rehab stays, that she just wanted to go home. On Monday evening, November 5th, Mom changed her address. Our Mom now knows her true and very best home for all eternity, in heaven."
Anna is survived by her children: Andrea Mannino (Joseph), Michael Sywulak (Linda), Daniel Sywulak (Grace), Mark Sywulak, Daria Sywulak and Maria Sywulak; she was the loving grandmother of Christa (Jeremy), Jonathan, Laura, Madeleine (Andrew), Hannah, Christopher and Anya and great grandmother of Henry and Charlie. She is predeceased by her husband, Leon Sywulak; her son, Stephen Sywulak (Beverly); and her siblings: Metro Drabyk (Anna), William Drabyk (Helen) and Maria Drabyk
Relatives and friends are invited to her Viewing on Saturday from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM at Fletcher-Nasevich Funeral Home. Requiem Liturgy will be celebrated at 11:30 AM at Annunciation BVM Ukrainian Catholic Church, Burial will follow at St. Mary Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Elkins Park, PA.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Anna's memory may be made to: Annunciation BVM Church (Elevator Fund); Alzheimer's Association; or the Stephen Michael Sywulak Memorial Fund (benefits Cheltenham High School graduates).
Annunciation BVM Ukrainian Catholic Church
1206 Valley Road, Melrose Park PA 19046
225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago IL 60601
Stephen Michael Sywulak Memorial Fund (benefits Cheltenham High School graduates),
c/o Christa Sywulak-Herr, 8256 New Second St, Elkins Park PA 19027