Estella BudkaLeader of large familyEstella Budka...

January 30, 1995

Estella Budka

Leader of large family

Estella Budka, matriarch of a large family with roots in Poland, as well as Hampden and East Baltimore, died Friday in her Hampden home of undetermined causes. She was 96.

She had lived 80 years in the same Hampden community. Her family had immigrated to the United States from Mielec, Poland, when she was about 3, and she grew up in East Baltimore.

Later, after moving to Hampden, she married Walter John Joseph Budka, and was a seamstress in the Clipper Textile Mills. The Budkas were married for 31 years. Mr. Budka died in 1954.

In the early 1950s, Mrs. Budka owned a bar called Mother's at South Conkling and Elliott streets.

Mrs. Budka became the subject of a Johns Hopkins Hospital medical study when she recovered quickly from a broken hip while in her early 90s. Researchers continued to visit her home until a month ago.

"Until a year before she died, she was still very physically active," said Cathy Figgs, wife of one of her grandsons. "She'd dance a lot. She had a lot of joie de vivre. She was the matriarch of the family."

Mrs. Budka was known to her family as "Busha," short for the Polish word "babushka." Relatives said, she helped rear many of her 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, 3710 Roland Ave.

In addition to her grandchildren, Mrs. Budka is survived by a daughter, Clara Figgs of Hampden; a son, Walter J. J. Budka Jr. of Alameda, Calif.; a sister, Helen Foy of Severn; and a brother, Peter Sczerbicki of Roland Park.

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