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Walerian Baran of Burlington, NJ passed away peacefully on Friday, October 20, 2023 at Mt. Holly Virtua Hospital surrounded by his loving family. He was 95.
Walerian was born in Poland on February 1, 1928, son of the late Jozef and Maria (Kozub) Baran. His life’s path was directly shaped by the most historical events of the 20th century. In his early teens, he was captured by the German soldiers. His sister hid and escaped capture, but the soldiers caught Walerian and put him to work on a farm in Germany. After his release, he returned to his hometown, Wiewiorka Poland. He then enlisted in the Polish Army where he was trained as a Tank driver and was promoted to a Lieutenant in the Polish Armed Forces.
Following his service in the Polish Army, Walerian then earned a living in masonry construction and build his own two-story home for his family. He also was a blacksmith. Working and shaping metal as a blacksmith became his passion; this passion also filled a need in the small village he grew up in. In those days, the use of horses for farming, transportation and in the police was common so his ability to outfit horses with quality horseshoes was greatly appreciated making Walerian well known in his community. After immigrating to United States in 1968, Walerian continued to show his blacksmith skills performing live events utilizing an open-hearth fire at annual Burlington County Farm Fairs throughout the 70’s and 80’s. (He gifted the Fair spectators with wrought iron horseshoes he made at the Fair.) He also made wrought iron horseshoes plaques for all his children and grandchildren with special engravings.
Walerian will be remembered most for being the heart of his family. He was a deeply religious, hard-working, strong-willed, generous man who was very kind to all who knew him. Walerian came to the United States in 1968 at the age of 40 seeking a better life for his family. He worked as a foreman, managing the Jersey Jerry Apple Farm in Vincentown, from where he retired. Walerian also invested in real estate, where he converted large homes into multi-unit apartments. His construction skills served him to be able to provide for his large family, which included six children. By 1978, he sponsored his wife, Helena (nee: Jachym, deceased 1992) and his six children to come to the United States. Walerian established himself to be a great provider for his family which afforded for all his children to attend private, All Saints school.
In his pastime, Walerian also enjoyed sharing his skills with family and friends making Polish Kielbasa. He truly enjoyed spending his time with his grandchildren and loved to dance the Polka.
Walerian is survived by his brother, Walter Baran of Arizona, his six children who reside in New Jersey: Donna Risoldi (Angelo), Joseph Baran (Patricia), Ursula Risko (Steve), Teresa Sumara (Krzysztof), Anna Baran and Chris Baran, his 9 grandchildren: Cynthia Carter (John), Anita Menewisch (Ian), Samantha and Christian Sumara, Darek Risko (Jessica) and Nicole Risko, and Joseph, Helena and Alexandra Baran, and three great-grandchildren, Beckett Menewisch, Henryk Risko and Juniper Carter.
Family and friends are invited to attend his viewing at Page Funeral Home, 302 E. Union St., Burlington on Wednesday, October 25 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Thursday from 9:30-10:30am. The Funeral Mass is on Thursday October 26, at 11:00 a.m. at All Saints R. C. Church, 502 High Street, Burlington, NJ 08016. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations in Walerian's memory be made to: St. Katherine Drexel Parish, 223 E. Union St., Burlington, NJ 08016.