Anne George

GEORGE, Anne Marie (Jarkowski) – of Durham, NC, formerly of Davison, MI, age 84,  passed away Friday, January 6, 2023 at DuBose Health Center in Chapel Hill, NC. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 AM Saturday, January 28, 2023 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 404 North Dayton Street, Davison, MI 48423; Rev. Fr. Andrew A. Czajkowski celebrant. The family will receive visitors 10-11 AM Saturday, January 28, 2023 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Anne will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband, Sabah, in St. John Catholic Cemetery in Davison, Michigan.

Anne Marie George, devoted wife and loving mother, was born on September 13, 1938, in Warsaw, Poland. She passed away peacefully in her sleep in Chapel Hill, NC on January 06, 2023. Her father Marion Jarkowski was a journalist, her mother Helena Jarkowski, a seamstress. When she was less than a year old, Germany invaded Poland.

As part of Hitler’s plan to colonize Poland, her family and hundreds of thousands of other Polish citizens were either murdered or forced off their land at gunpoint. German soldiers packed Anne’s family into an open train car with dozens of other displaced Poles in the dead of winter, their destination a concentration camp. Her mother’s extraordinary courage, quick wits and knowledge of the German language got them to the front of the train, where it was warm. When they disembarked, they saw that everyone who remained in their boxcar had frozen to death.

In 1945, American and Russian troops liberated the camps of Poland. Her family immigrated to America and worked for 7 years on a farm and furniture company in Martinsville, VA to repay the Hooker family who paid for their US voyage. Ellis Island, NY documents mark their arrival date as October 24, 1949. By then her little brother Christopher, who was born in Germany, was three years old.

Once in Virginia, her mother’s sewing skills became indispensable. Her father Marion, however, proved to be inept at milking cows and slopping pigs, for that topic was unfortunately glossed over at Polish journalism school, though he eventually proved to be trainable. Once their obligation was completed, they moved to a Polish community in Clawson, MI. Later in life, Anne was so grateful to the Hooker family for their freedom, she insisted on buying furniture from them.

Anne attended high school at St. Stanislaus in Detroit. After graduation, she studied to be a radiologist and got her first job at Henry Ford Hospital. There, she noticed a young handsome surgeon named Sabah George. He fell in love with the beautiful red-headed nurse with the Polish accent, horned-rimmed glasses and otherworldly cooking skills.

Their wedding in 1967 was an event filled with so much music, bellydancers, Polish and Arabic food, and adult beverages that for 50 years afterwards, all the guests said it was the best wedding they’ve ever attended.

After their honeymoon, they moved into an apartment that was so tiny, the living room and bedroom were the same room – depending on whether the folding bed was down. But they were in love and it didn’t matter. With the money they saved on living expenses, they bought new cars, because after all, that’s what people in the Motor City did in the 60s. Anne was quite a sight in her red ‘59 Thunderbird convertible, red hair wrapped up in a babushka.

In 1975, they moved to a bigger house in Davison, Michigan, where her husband’s siblings Victoria, Leila and later Namir lived close by. She loved them and their kids Harith, Zina, Issmat, Maha and Louie so much, she wanted to learn how to cook their favorite foods. Anne spent hours peeking over the shoulders of sisters-in-law / culinary geniuses Victoria and Leila. In a short while, redheaded Polish immigrant Anne was making Arabic food so legendary, to this day, her relatives’ children proudly text photos to each other saying, “Look! I made Auntie Anne’s rice!”

She even won 1st place in a chili contest with over 75 contestants. She had not one, but 3 secret ingredients: Jack Daniels, Pabst Blue Ribbon, chocolate, and no, she did not spike the judges’ bowls. Whenever the Georges had people over for dinner, Anne would cook enough food for, as her husband Sabah used to say, the entire Polish Army. She never forgot the camps in Poland and what it was like to be hungry and never wanted anyone around her to experience it. Not to mention the inadvertent effect of their only child Francis, born in 1970, having to eat leftovers for most of his childhood. Nevertheless, she spoiled him with generous love beyond measure.

Anne had such a joyous energy about her, a cheerful personality with an aura that radiated love. Her smile could start a brushfire. Family members often heard their phone ring, followed by her voice saying, “This is an ‘I love you’ phone call.”

Anne was a devoted wife and mother. She was active in the communities at St. Johns in Davison and Holy Rosary in Flint, where her son Francis attended school. A neighbor wrote, “Anne George was such a loving friend and neighbor during the time our children were growing up! If she knew you were sick, the doorbell would ring and there she would be with a huge, delicious pot of chicken soup and her wonderful smile presenting it to you!”

Anne and her husband Sabah lived an incredible life together in a loving marriage that endured for over 50 years. They traveled the world on their boats and planes. In 1987, when Sabah retired, they moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, where their son Francis finished high school, attended UNC Chapel Hill and started his career. Anne enjoyed spending half the year in Florida, where she turned sunbathing into an extreme sport.

Anne’s love for her family knew no bounds. In 2012, while recovering from a stroke, her husband Sabah’s health took an even steeper dive, and she somehow summoned the strength to take care of him. She could negotiate everything except driving, which was happily managed by her grandnephew Anthony Awdish, who spent many afternoons driving her to doctor’s appointments and the drug store.

Anne is loved, celebrated and survived by her son, Francis George and his wife, JiNan; their children, Gaetano and Rosa; siblings-in-law, Leila Naaman and Namir (Faiza) George; paternal nieces and nephews, Zina (Clifford) Victor, Issmat (Halla) Awdish, Maha (Wail) Paulus, Louie (Patty) Naaman and Fran Awdish; paternal grandnieces and grandnephews, Kenny, Tanya, Chris, Kevin, Anthony, Vanessa, Alexa, Sami, Brandon, Patrick and Andrew; maternal nieces and nephews, Julie, Andrew, Ryan, Leigha, Jim, George and Brian; sister-in-law, Pat Jaron; along with family in Warsaw: Zdzislaw, Graiyna and Agata.

In 2012, Anne moved to a retirement community in Chapel Hill, NC, close to Francis and his family. She was able to attend her son’s wedding and reside in a wonderful community where they received visits from their son and his family almost every day.