Cecilia A. Zaneski, a resident of Coal Township for 101 of her 103 years, died Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, at the Brookdale Grayson View assisted-living home, Selinsgrove, due to complications from advanced kidney cancer.
She was born January 1915, the third child of 10, of Alexander and Nellie (Roslewicz) Targonski.
Cecilia became a breadwinner the day after her eighth grade graduation. She began a full time job in a shirt factory where she wrestled and conquered a 22-pound gas fired iron. Her first pay was $7.50 for 12 days' of work.
While her toil helped feed a growing family, it undermined Cecilia's dream of becoming a teacher. Her St. Stanislaus School report cards showed she had the smarts, straight A's and effusive praise written in Polish by the school's famously hard-to-please nuns.
Cecilia worked in Shamokin's shirt factories for almost 50 years, with her longest stint being at the Anthracite Shirt factory, from which she retired in 1975.
Throughout her factory years, she finally became a teacher to her own three children. She used a kitchen blackboard to tutor them in mathematics (her favorite subject), grammar, and religion, using toys as rewards for memorizing prayers, diagramming sentences, and mastering long division.
Physically robust, Cecilia walked to daily Mass at St. Stanislaus Church and then at Mother Cabrini until she was 95 and lived independently with help from her devoted lawn-mowing, hair-styling nieces and a snow shoveling neighbor until she was 101. She enjoyed cooking, marathon pinochle games, good arguments and wisecracks.
She became a grandmother for the first time at 89 and made the most of it, dancing polkas with her granddaughter, Alexandra, teaching her to bake pumpkin pies and never tiring of Alexandra's favorite card games, Hearts, Old Maid and Crazy Eights.
Cecilia is survived by her granddaughter, Alexandra; her son, Cyril Zaneski, daughter-in-law, Margo Zaneski, all of Bethesda, Md., and a legion of nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Alexander S. Zaneski, and two children, Carl Zaneski, who died of cancer at age 12 in 1955, and Linda "Lyn" Leto, who died of breast cancer in 2009; two brothers, Adam and Leonard Targonski; and six sisters, Mildred Zelones, Florence Witkoski, Ann Roth, Helen Rebilas, Theresa Sandri, Agnes Milberger and Lucille Targonski, who died in infancy.
A memorial visitation will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, March 10, in Mother Cabrini Church, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10.
Burial will follow in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Coal Township.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her memory to Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School, 2001 Clinton Ave., Coal Township, PA 17866.
Leonard J. Lucas Funeral Home, Ltd., 120 S. Market St., Shamokin has been entrusted with the arrangements.
Published on March 1, 2018