Henry A. Wojciechowski

October 8, 1940 - July 27, 2023

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Henry A. Wojciechowski

October 8, 1940 – July 27, 2023


Henry A. Wojciechowski boarded the train bound for the great polka party in the sky on July 27, 2023.  He was welcomed by his mother, Stanislawa (Stella) Wojciechowski; his father, Wladyslaw (Walter) Wojciechowski; and his four siblings: Isabell, Walter R, Theresa and Teddy. No doubt his beloved eldest sister Isabell greeted him with a hug, kiss and a boisterous, “What took you so long?”

He was also preceded in death by beloved family members Ronald and Elnora Vining (Goché); Nicholas Carl Vining; and Arthur (Butch) Elliott.

Henry was born in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania on October 8, 1940 and raised on the family farm in Fairmount Springs, Pennsylvania. He served in the Air Force in Germany, then returned to study at Southern Oregon College where he received a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a minor in Political Science. The call of the rails interrupted his teaching career and he worked for Southern Pacific Railroad, later Union Pacific, for 34 years. Henry returned to education following his long career with the railroad. He earned a degree from Marylhurst College and supported students in the Salem-Keizer school district as an aide to special needs children for 11 years.

Henry’s nieces, Barb and Faye, set him up with their babysitter, Debra Kay Vining. The two were engaged six weeks later and welcomed their first child nearly a year to the date of their first meeting. They settled in Salem, Oregon and faced the joys and trials of life together for 49 years. Henry married well.

His parents and sister showed Henry that opening your home and giving to those in need is how God’s love is spread on Earth. He gave his time and resources in countless ways including serving at the Table of Plenty food pantry at Queen of Peace Catholic Church, where he was a parishioner for 47 years. Even near the end of his life, as he battled Parkinson’s Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Henry never forgot a birthday. Friends and family were likely to find surprise flowers on their doorstep in times of celebration, and food in times of trouble. He ran up a healthy tab with the local florist.

Henry gave. He gave his time to his children, always finding a way to be there for sports games, choir concerts, plays, and staying up late to turn his kids’ scrawling handwriting into a nicely typed report on the history of Oregon or the meaning in the symbols on the Polish flag.

Henry is survived and greatly missed by his wife, Debra Wojciechowski (Vining), Salem, OR;  daughter, Janice (Javier) Fernandez, Tualatin, OR; son, Jason (Mathilde) Wojciechowski, Brooklyn, NY; his grandchildren, Emily, Isabella, Alina, Anthony, and Léon; his great-grandchild, Myla; with another blessing on the way. He loved them all, and many more, “To the moon and back.”

His family and friends surrounded Henry in his final days, filling his room with so much laughter, singing and love that some hospital staff were convinced he must not be dying after all. His life was well-lived and Henry was well-loved.

A Mass of Christian Hope will be held at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Salem, OR on August 24th at 11:00 AM (10:30 AM Rosary) with luncheon to follow in the church gathering area.  The service will be live-streamed https://www.qpsalem.org/ for those unable to attend.

Henry Wojciechowski will be interred in a private ceremony at Willamette National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers for Henry, the family asks you to send some to someone you love (accompanied by a heartfelt card), or to send a donation to an organization you value, or better yet, volunteer yourself. Henry would be honored.