January 17, 2023
Tadz Aaron Lewandowski, son of Linda Lewandowski and the late John Lewandowski, was born on October 14, 1973, in New York City. Survivors include his beloved wife, Marzena Lewandowski of Opole, Poland; his mother Linda, of Alfred; his sister Alix Brantley, brother-in-law Sage Brantley, and nephew Axel Brantley of Arvada, Colorado; aunts and uncles, cousins, and many old and new friends.
Tadz attended Alfred-Almond School, Purchase College (BA), University of Rochester (MA) and Opole University, Poland (PhD, D. Litt.). He lived and worked in Poland for 22 years, becoming fluent in the language and acquiring dual US-Polish citizenship. For nearly two decades, he was a professor of literature and history at the University of Opole and later also at the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, institutions where he won the respect and good-will of his colleagues and students. Through the universities’ auspices he became a frequent participant in the Erasmus Program, giving lectures and presentations throughout the European Union and beyond.
He was the author of four monographs, a popular handbook for Polish students of English, and more than three dozen articles published in periodicals and books in Europe and the United States. In the US he is perhaps best known for his three well-received and favorably reviewed books which examine the effects of assimilation on Native Americans and their fight for recognition, citizenship, and justice through the lives of three influential activists: Zitkala-Sa, Father Philip Bergan Gordon, and Arapaho Priest Sherman Coolidge.
Marzena, his wife, was his best proof-reader and supporter; they were a terrific team. Together they visited 60 different countries in Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Their travels typically concluded with a trip to Alfred where they spent time with Tadz’s mother and enjoyed their long evening walks. Tadz was kind, personable, witty, and generous. Contributions in his memory can be made to the American Cancer Society, Hart Comfort House in Wellsville, or to the Smile Train, a charity he supported for many years. A memorial service will be held this spring.