20 May 2022

A remembrance of Piotr “Pete” Mazurkiewicz

We regret to share the sad news that Peter Mazurkiewicz, one of the last few native speakers of Polish in the community of Chappell Hill, TX, passed away on the 19th of April, 2022. He was a farmer, a rancher, and a businessman – an incorporation of the American and Texan way of life based on hard work and dedication to tradition. His great grandfather Piotr (Peter) Jóźwiak was one of the six parish leaders that established St. Stanislaus church in Chappell Hill in 1889. COLING project team members had an opportunity to interview Peter Mazurkiewicz, his wife Pauline, along with some of their fellows in Chappell Hill in 2019 thanks to immense help from Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz. The natural transmission of the Polish language competence was largely gone in this community with the generation of Peter Mazurkiewicz. Their children heard Polish (the Greater Poland dialect) at home but primarily became native speakers of American English. Now Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, Peter Mazurkiewicz’s son, and many other members of the Polish community in Texas, make great efforts to revitalize and preserve Polish language and culture, but they often learn Polish almost from scratch, as adults.
[Biography facts based on the Obituary by Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz]