Thaddeus Grzankowski, 84, friary farm supervisor

October 21, 2003

Brother Thaddeus Grzankowski, who supervised his Franciscan religious order's Howard County farm, died Thursday of Alzheimer's disease at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. He was 84.

Born in Perth Amboy, N.J., he moved to Poland with his family as a boy but returned to the United States in 1939 and worked as a butcher. He served as an Army cook during World War II.

He entered the Conventual Franciscan Friars at Mount St. Lawrence in Becket, Mass., in 1948. He moved to St. Joseph Cupertino Friary in Ellicott City to work on the 50-acre farm that was then part of the seminary operation.

In 1954, Brother Grzankowski volunteered for the friars' new foreign mission in the Amami Oshima Islands near Japan and served there for 11 years.In 1965 he returned to Ellicott City to supervise the farm on Folly Quarter Road. He tended cattle, pigs and chickens, and also butchered them for the friars' consumption. He remained there until earlier this year.

"He was a simple and strong man, a man of deep faith with a twinkle in his eye, who always wanted to serve God and his community," said the Rev. Donald Grzymski, vicar provincial of the St. Anthony of Padua province of the friars.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated yesterday at the Franciscan chapel in Ellicott City.

His survivors include two nieces.

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