Anne R. Pellowski Profile Photo

Anne R. Pellowski

June 28, 1933 — June 14, 2023

Winona

Anne R. Pellowski

 

Anne Rose Pellowski, age 89 entered eternal life on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at her home, surrounded by her family.

Anne was born June 28, 1933, on the family farm in rural Pine Creek, Wisconsin, the sixth child of Alexander and Anna (nee Dorawa) Pellowski. The Pine Creek area was predominantly Polish speaking Catholic settlers from the Kashubian area of Poland.  Anne grew up there attending Sacred Heart Parish School.  Fortunately, she had a special teacher at her grade school, Sr. Virginia a retired missionary to China who shared countless exciting stories that sparked Anne’s lifelong interest in cultures and languages. Anne was very proud of her Polish ancestry and wanted to know her family’s ancestral roots.

After the family relocated to Winona, Minnesota, she excelled at Cathedral High School followed by the College of St Teresa graduating in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in languages. Here she met Sr. Eone, College Librarian, and Pere Bruckberger, a French Dominican, who became lifelong mentors greatly influencing her career. She studied French and learned German by immersion during her Fulbright Fellowship. She earned a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University in 1959, graduating with Honors.  Anne was comfortable in many languages, able to communicate with many across the globe. She brought memorable international friends Kiyoko, from Japan, Rachael Kalulu from Zambia, and Virginia Betancourt and family from Venezuela home to Winona to experience Pellowski Polish hospitality.

Family was important to Anne.  She rarely missed any significant family events.  She was able to arrange her schedule to always be a part of weddings, reunions, graduations, etc.  She LOVED reunions, helping to plan programs to entertain and educate those who attended.  Her family so enjoyed the re-enactments, family tree illustrations, and stories from our ancestors. In the early 1970’s Anne became a foster parent, influenced by her work with poor children and the many TV ads reminding folks of the great need for nurturing homes since orphanages were no longer a thing. She fostered several girls from Puerto Rico and Germany.

She was honored with many awards during her career. She was especially proud of her Fulbright Fellowship, 1955-56 from the University of Munich, Germany and The Council on Library Resources Fellowship, Library of Congress, 1965-66. These opportunities formed the core of her professional learning. Some awards earned were the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award, Women’s National Book Association, 1980, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Children for Winding Valley Farm Wisconsin State Historical Society Book Award 1983, Woman of the Year, Humanities, Winona Chamber of Commerce, 1999, and CUTTS Lifetime Service Award, U.S. Board on Books for Young Children (USBBY) honorary member of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young Children) 2010.

Anne is survived by a sister, Sr. Virginia, a Daughter of Charity, of St Louis, Missouri.  She was “Aunt Anne” to her surviving 17 nieces and nephews, Linda, Kathy, Dan, Carol, Ramona, Dorothy Clare, Julie, Betsy, Sara, Kristine, Robert, Donna, Mary, Bette, Michael, Thor and John supporting each and every one generously with her time, stories, shared travel (all 17 were treated to a trip to New York City at High School Graduation!), performances, games, solving riddles, cooking family Polish recipes, and authoring whole books that preserve our shared family history.  She is further survived by numerous grand, great-grand, and 8 great-great-grand nieces and nephews.

She was a master storyteller, who could hold any audience captivated with her abilities. (Her nieces and nephews each had their favorite story, which they always asked for and she unfailingly accommodated with a prolonged story time. Everyone would LOVE to hear her tell Master of All Masters one more time!)  She visited oodles of schools, including ALL of the schools her nieces and nephews attended, where she performed and charmed our schoolmates.

Her outstanding storytelling expertise allowed her to perform on programs at the new public TV station NETA in New York, on television programs like Romper Room, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and Captain Kangaroo. Some of these Anne Pellowski episodes are still being rerun today. She was asked to tell stories in parks, on stages, while riding in cars and even to earn travel passes when confronted with obstreperous soldiers at controlled national borders.

Anne’s Professional Life included founder director of the Information Center on Children’s Cultures, part of the United States Committee for UNICEF, children’s librarian, and storytelling specialist for the New York Public Library, spoken word recording artist producing 9 full length albums featuring multicultural stories, rhymes and riddles, authoring nearly 2 dozen books, traveling to 128 countries, lecturing at schools and universities, and most importantly hosting bookmaking events.

Some of her most captivating stories were first-hand accounts of things that happened on her many trips across the globe.  Early on she and a group of Fulbright students were arrested and spent a night in jail in Yugoslavia while on a trip to Greece and Turkey.  She told of her visit to a Mongolian Yurt where the ceremonial greeting ritual demanded that guests drink a cup of fermented mare’s milk before being welcomed into the home.  Her description of this foul-smelling beverage will forever live in our memories.  YES, she drank it. The image of her performing a snake dance on the floor of an African domicile is also mind-blowing. Anne was a participator, she danced every dance, sang every song, and approached every child who sat on the sidelines. She was strong, rarely ill no matter what she ate or drank in less than sanitary settings.  She maintained her strength she claimed by regular exercise, playing tennis in college and keeping it up during her New York summers, then switching to ice skating in winter. 

Anne Pellowski was a world leader in children’s literature, children’s rights and needs.  She believed that ALL children need access to books and reading.  Through her volunteer work with IBBY she traveled to other countries to conduct cloth book making seminars.  She helped all seminar participants create and write their own stories so children could have books written in their native tongue with illustrations from their own environment. Her supreme goal was to make literature accessible to children no matter where they lived or what language they spoke.  Her passion was to begin small native libraries for developing nations.

Faith and community service were essential to her, in letters to family she often described the remote and beautiful churches she found to attend Sunday Mass.  Wherever Anne lived she made it a priority to join her local parish and volunteered to serve as a lector, song leader or liturgist. She spent five years working with Habitat for Humanity on building projects in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In retirement she supported the Winona Polish Museum, often by sharing her love of Polish cooking and hosting tasting events and formed a close relationship with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Winona where she proudly served home cooked Polish meals to as many as 30 workers at a time. As her health declined the Catholic worker folks often brought a meal to her.

Anne is once again sharing paczki and stories with her parents, Alex and Anna, and 7 siblings who predeceased her, Raymond, Lawrence, Francis, Angeline Bork, Mildred, Sr. Jane, a Medical Mission Sister, and Mary Collard.

Visitation will be held from 10 AM until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 AM on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at St. Casimir's Catholic Church, 626 West Broadway in Winona. The Very Reverend Mark C. McNea will officiate. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Pine Creek, WI.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the Daughters of Charity (Daughters of Charity Provincial House, 4330 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO. 63108-2262).

 

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Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, June 24, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Casimir's Catholic Church

626 W Broadway St, Winona, MN 55987

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Casimir's Catholic Church

626 W Broadway St, Winona, MN 55987

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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