Catholic 04

Barbara A. Smith

October 24, 1930 ~ September 15, 2022 (age 91)



Barbara A. Smith passed away on September 15, 2022.   

She was born on October 24, 1930, the second child of Andrew V. and Isabel C. (Herek) Lelwica.  Barbara grew up in Winona, immersed in a Polish culture that she proudly shared her entire life.  It would be hard to match the joy she had when, in 2011, she was gifted the opportunity to go with her daughters back to the roots of her Polish heritage, touring Poland and walking the streets of her grandparents’ hometown of Studzienice, Poland.

On February 14, 1953, Barbara married her one and only first love and best friend, A. Eugene (Gene) Smith at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Together, they would cherish each other, for nearly 70 years.  Mom would dote on dad with such tender care and dad, in turn was ever kind and loving with her.  They never tired of saying, “I love you” to each other, typically followed by a gentle kiss.  Anyone entering a room where both were present could instantly feel the love they shared for each other and that love never wavered.

After marriage, Barbara devoted the next 35 plus years of her life to being a dedicated and devoted stay at home wife to dad and mother to us kids where she orchestrated family clamor into beautiful memories.

In all aspects of raising a family Barbara filled the home with love and compassion.  She set high expectations for her children, loved them through their bumps and bruises, made any necessary sacrifices she could to help them achieve their dreams and filled their hearts with praise when celebrating their accomplishments.  She was the confident woman who handled whatever was in front of her with grace and calm, leaning on her faith and the strength she found in the love she and dad shared. 

With mom at the helm, her family recalls memories of family filled with the smell of homemade rolls and Polish pastry on Saturday mornings, hand sewn Easter dresses for all six girls, supper at 6 PM sharp every evening (don’t be late), Sundays on the sandbar, a hug for each child as they ran out the door to the bus and a kiss every night with the same, never changing blessing: “Good Night, God Bless You, I Love You.”

For Barbara that same love didn’t stop at the back door. She was the first to help a neighbor, first to share a laugh with friends and always the one to remind everyone to appreciate the joys of life.  Over the years, Barbara shared her talents with the Winona Women’s Jaycees, including serving as president, and with the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Rollingstone.  She was a long-time member of the church choir and also served for ten years as the coordinator and instructor for the Holy Trinity CCD program where she influenced the lives of many seminarians from St. Mary’s College. Once the children were out on their own, she accepted a position as clerk with H & M Plumbing where she had a chance to enjoy so many of her Rollingstone friends. With the help of several of those friends one of her proudest community accomplishments was being part of a successful campaign to build Rollingstone Elementary School. 

Barbara is survived by her cherished husband of nearly 70 years, Gene; seven children: Mary Lin (Jeff) Wershofen, Vickie (Mark) Malay, Beckie (Mike) Rolbiecki, Bobbie (Chris) Gostout, Amy (Lloyd) York, Patsy (Dan Fradl) Yelsa, Eric (Nicki) Smith; twenty grandchildren: Jason, Justin (Emily), Adam (Alison) Wershofen, Molly (Nathan) Wershofen-Stockdale, Allison (Jack) Queensland, Lucas (Hailey), Colin (Alex Lundford) Malay, Matt (Heather), Danny, Rolbiecki, Anna (Mark) Urbick, Zach, Noah (Elizabeth), Christian Gostout, Katie (Bryan) Techel, David (Angie) Mahlke, Isabel, Max Yelsa, Drew, Ava, Ethan Smith; and twenty-five great-grandchildren. Barbara is further survived by her brother: Ted (Marge) Lelwica; her sister-in-law: Marihelen (Bob) Liegel; cousins: Carol Kjos and Mary Ann Empson; special guardian angel neighbors: Bill and Penny Roskos; as well as many nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents; her older brother, John Lelwica; and sister-in-law, Mary Lelwica.

A celebration of the grace and the love of Barbara will be held at 11 AM on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, with a Mass of Christian burial to be held at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka.  Visitation will take place at the church on Tuesday from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM.  Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery.  A luncheon and reception will be held at Whalan's Restaurant, 1460 W. 5th Street in Winona.

In lieu of flowers it is Barbara’s wish to have memorials made to Rollingstone Community School or to the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka.

The family would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to Mayo Health Systems – the Rochester and Holmen campuses, as well as the Winona Health System Hospice services.

“Good Night, Mom. God Bless You, We Love You”





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September 20, 2022

9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
The Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka
625 East Fourth Street
Winona, MN 55987

Mass of Christian Burial
September 20, 2022

11:00 AM
The Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka
625 East Fourth Street
Winona, MN 55987

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