Julia was born in Poland in 1922, a few months after her parents Mikolaj Papinczak and Maria Paslawska Papinczak returned to Poland from the U.S.A. They lived in the Presston community of McKees Rocks, PA from 1910 to 1922. Julia’s father worked at the Pressed Steel Car Co. and her mother was a loving housewife taking care of the family of four children: Kathryn, John, Anna and Ewa. After their return to Poland Julia was born and later two more siblings, Mary & Rose came along. Julia lost her mother when she was five and her father sometime later.
In 1940, when WWII was raging through Europe, she with many others were taken to Germany where for four years she worked as a hard labor slave along with her three siblings John, Anna & Ewa. In Germany she met her future husband, John Pelc, and married him once they were liberated by the Allied forces and returned to Poland. They parented five children: Helen, Barbara, Richard, John and Grace. In 1960 Julia’s husband was killed by lightning leaving Julia with five children to raise on her own. She bought a farm, worked hard to make a living and raised her children the best she could. In 1981 she re-married. Her second husband, Wladyslaw Balik, and she were married for five years until his death in 1986.
In 1991 Julia came to join her eldest daughter Helen in the U.S.A. and became the strong pillar on which Pierogies Plus was built. For over 20 years she devoted herself to the support and success of the business, working diligently alongside others. Her sister Anna Marciw joined her and together they peeled countless pounds of potatoes and pinched thousands of pierogies. Years later her sister in law, Eugena Papinczak, joined the two of them.
Several years ago Julia developed heart and lung problems. She slowed down her hard working pace and started to enjoy her gardening, socializing with the neighbors who spoke her native Polish and Ukrainian languages.
All her life Julia loved God and raised her children in that love for Him. During her years in the U.S. she strengthened her faith (as she used to say) and she declared Jesus Christ to be her personal Lord and Savior! She loved Him more than ever, spent much time in prayer, reading the Bible and missing church only when she was sick. She had a personal relationship with her Lord, believing that He died for her, paid the penalty for her sins and opened the way for her to the Heavenly Father and everlasting life in heaven. She died knowing she belonged to Him!
Thankfully she was only sick for a short time, four short stays in the hospital due to her weakened heart, caused by congestive heart failure, and the pain of a fractured back caused by osteoporosis. She spent her last three days in palliative care at Forbes Hospice Care.
She went on to her eternal life surrounded by her family holding her hands. The joys of her last few years of life were numerous; frequent trips to Poland to see her children, 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She also enjoyed vacationing in Florida, cruises, watching her cooking shows and admiring the flowers in the garden.
She is and will always be greatly missed.