San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition : 2019-02-11
BAY AREA : 21 : C3
C3 | | Monday, February 11, 2019 SFChronicle.com XXXXX• LifeTributes IN THIS SECTION MICHALSKI, Felicia REYES, Linda Felicia Michalski Linda Aurora Ponce Reyes Felicia Kuvent Michalski
1919-2019 A powerful force of nature, a body in motion, passed from the scene this week, a fighter till the end. Felicia Michalski was a Holocaust survivor running for her life at the age of 19, but she staunchly refused to be cast as a victim, determined to survive and thrive. Hardened by the contradictions of life, she was a warrior for justice and at five-feet-two stood taller and stronger than any team of men. Her life story defied all common sense because hers was the story of spirit, hope and faith and an intense desire to survive. With her husband Joseph they never looked back, fully embracing the blessings of American freedom and opportunity, determined to educate their three boys and “make it” in their beloved new home. Never shy about expressing her thoughts, opinions or wishes, Felicia was remarkably independent in a world that did not value or acknowledge strong capable women.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Fela Kuvent and her brother Yaacov (Uncle Kuba) ran for their lives from their native Poland. Making their way through Poland to Ukraine in the depths of winter, they escaped capture by the Nazis several times. Ironically, the Russians captured them and sent them to Siberia as slave laborers. When their camp was needed to house captured Nazi soldiers, the civilians were released. She led in the construction of two large rafts fashioned out of tree logs. They floated down several Siberian rivers for two weeks with many escapees dying along the way. Near death herself, she and her brother arrived in Dzumbul, Kazakhstan. A few miracles later, her betrothed, Josef Michalski, also from her village of Gostynin, found her dying of typhus fever. He nurtured her back to health, and soon they married and had two sons in Dzumbul, Jerry (1943) and Henry (1945).
Back in Europe, the horrors of the Holocaust which consumed their entire families were revealed, making emigration to a safe country imminent. For three years the young family lived as refugees in June 17, 1936 - February 6, 2019 a DP (Displaced Persons) camp. After years of paper work, the United States finally granted permission for the Michalski family to settle in America. Eager to start a new life, one of hope and opportunity, they never looked back, instead instilling in their sons a love of American values and the promise of a better life. After a difficult year in New York, the family moved to San Francisco where in 1952 George, named after Felicia’s father Gershon, was born.
Felicia spoke more than six languages and possessed a keen eye and a sophisticated taste for beautiful objects d’art. Selftaught, she mastered the art of collecting and became an expert in many areas to the point where dealers and curators sought her opinion. Above all, she deeply loved and was proud of her three sons: “My three hot boys, my dear little chickens”. No one worked harder than Felicia and Joseph in providing for their family, truly the last of the Greatest Generation.
Felicia was preceded in death by her adoring husband Joseph of 54 years, her beloved brother Kuba and sister-in-law Tova of Israel, and her oldest son Jerry who passed away in 2014. She is survived by her sons Henry (Lynn), and George; three grandchildren Wendy (Ryan), Elaina and Geoffrey (Meghan); four great-grandchildren Bryson (7), Caleb (5), Dylan (5), and Jacob (2); and her nephew Reuven (Mirella) and niece Zahavah of Tel Aviv. Anyone who has met Felicia cannot forget the experience. She was charming, straightforward, deeply intelligent in the ways of the world and of human behavior, and had no time for pills, ills, or fools; preferring the arts, culture and a meaningful conversation. May her memory be for a blessing. Linda Aurora Ponce Reyes was welcomed into the kingdom of heaven on February 6, 2019. She died, surrounded by her loving family, at the age of 82, in South San Francisco, California.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents, Severo and Consolacion, her brothers and sisters, Johnny, Manuel, Tony, Boots, Consie, Mely, and the baby children she lost long ago, Joseph Martin and Alma. Linda will be forever remembered by her husband of 52 years, Ramon de Leon Reyes, Jr., her daughters and sonsin-law Noemi and Serge, Monique and Leonardo, and her grandchildren, Kyle, Aristotle, Madison, Ezra and Aleksander.
Linda was born on June 17, 1936 in Davao, Philippines. She met Ramon at the Malaria Eradication Training Center where they both worked in 1964. They married two years later.
In the early 70’s, Linda worked at the US Embassy in the Philippines, where she earned special immigrant status. She came to the United States in 1983 with her husband and two daughters.
Linda worked at Levi Strauss, but took an early retirement in the mid-90’s as soon as she paid off the mortgage! She then devoted much of her time to lovingly caring for her grandchildren. She enjoyed her trips to Reno, playing with nickels and dimes at the slot machines (winning buckets of coins from time to time!) She played classical piano and passed on her love of music to her daughters and grandchildren. She was a wonderful cook. Her lumpia and leche flan were staples at every family gathering - and there were many. And oh, how she loved her Golden State Warriors!
A celebration of Linda’s life will be held on Thursday, February 14, 4pm- 9pm at Cypress Lawn Funeral Home, 1370 El Camino Real, Colma.
Funeral Services will be held at the Our Lady of Mercy Church, 1 Elmwood Drive, Daly City, on Friday, February 15, at noon. Life Tributes To publish: Online: By mail: ezads.sfchron.com/obits Life Tributes Desk and receive special discount San Francisco Chronicle for using self-serve 901 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94103 All notices must be typed. We regret we cannot process hand-written notice or phoned-in information. For more information, call (415) 615-3554 or email [email protected] To assure prompt publication please provide: 1. Your name, address and phone number 2. The name of the funeral home or cremation service that handled 3. Deadlines: Must be approved and paid by 2pm except for Sunday, must be approved and paid by n1o0o:3n0oanmSoantuSrdaatuyrday. Omission of any of this information will delay publication Pay tribute to the great life your loved one lived Visit SFGate.com/obituaries Hello Nautilus Society CREMATIONS Honor the great life of business Cremation Services partners, leaders and influencers. $895.00 + tax FD1432 Contact 415.777.7483 to book a corporate tribute today. Not including disposition 415-648-5500 BAY AREA
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