Veronica Wojtowicz (lovingly known as “Verna” or “Cioci Verna” to many) was born at Margaret Hague Hospital in Jersey City in November 1933 to Florence (Godleski) and Joseph Grabowski. She is a graduate of Ferris High School and Jersey City State College (now NJCU) where she trained as a teacher. Verna had a thirty year teaching career in Jersey City at Our Lady of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Mercy, and the Cornerstone School.
She met her husband of 55 years, John, in the York Street neighborhood of downtown Jersey City where they both grew up. In October 1956, Verna and John were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Linda Marie, who was a Nurse Practitioner.
Her love of science, medicine and nursing benefited so many as she practiced for 20 years at New York Presbyterian Hospital in a profession that she loved and one in which she excelled. She brought great kindness and empathy to all of her patients and was a trusted and respected mentor and colleague to many. Sadly, Verna is predeceased by both John and Linda.
After retirement, Verna loved to travel with her husband in the USA and abroad. However, the highlight of her travels was a solo trip she took to Poland where she could practice her excellent skills as an accomplished Polish speaker. Verna is a “Jersey Girl” through and through, and she was a lifetime volunteer. Some of her volunteer activities over the years included Meals on Wheels deliverer, Liberty Science Center docent, Eucharistic Minister, Funeral Ministry helper, CCD Instructor, and the Fun and Games Committee at Seabrook. Her most fulfilling volunteer service was as an assistant teacher for pre-kindergarten special education students at a Tinton Falls elementary school.
Verna often said one of the best experiences in her life was watching these students and parents visit with Santa. Prior to relocating to Saint Joseph’s Senior Home, Verna had been a long-time resident of Jersey City, homeowner at the Lake Ridge Retirement Community, Toms River, NJ, before moving in 2014 to Seabrook Senior Living Community, Tinton Falls, NJ.
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I have been part of Verna’s extended family for many years. When we were looking for a new place for Verna with more constant care than she was receiving, St. Joseph’s Senior Home was recommended to me by some of my co-workers in Woodbridge, NJ. As soon as I drove up to the facility and saw the beautiful buildings and well-manicured gardens, I had a very good feeling. When I took the tour and saw the building, rooms, etc., I was overwhelmed at how beautiful it was and how well everyone was being taken care of.
When I brought the brochure to Verna to get her opinion, her face lit up when she read that the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception also spoke Polish. We were completely sold! I immediately completed the application and when we were informed that a room was available, we felt like we hit the lottery! It is such a relief knowing that she is being well taken care of and is safe and sound in beautiful surroundings. Verna enjoys calls and visits from her family and friends who love to surprise her with her favorite goodies like Kruschiki (Chrusciki in Polish), cupcakes, crunchy cheese doodles, cookies and milk shakes.
She is very blessed to be surrounded by such kind, caring and compassionate nuns and caregivers and is happy to participate in activities and enjoy the beautiful peaceful garden. Thank you to everyone who made the transition from independent living to assisted living so easy. Verna is looking forward to many happy years at St. Joseph’s Senior Home.
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