Danuta M. Barnard

Danuta M. Barnard died on April 17, 2022, in Scarborough, Maine

(The following was provided by the Tribute Archive on April 17, 2022)

SCARBOROUGH, Maine – Danuta (Dana) Mey Barnard, age 96, a resident of the Piper Shores retirement community here, died on Sunday, April 17, 2022, at the Holbrook Health Center at Piper Shores. She was born in Lwow, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine), on May 28, 1925, the only child of Tadeusz and Stefania Grochowska Mej, as the name was then spelled. She lost both parents while she was a girl. Her mother died in 1937. Her father, a businessman, disappeared in Russian custody in 1940 after the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland under terms of a deal with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, which had invaded Poland from the west. She lived with relatives for a time returning to Lwow after the Germans attacked their one-time partners in 1941 and drove the Soviets out of Poland. Danuta pursued her education at Catholic, public, and private schools; her diploma was unofficial because Nazi occupiers made no formal provision for educating Poles. She then worked in Radom, Poland, until a massive Red Army summer offensive routed German forces from Russia and brought Soviet troops to the outskirts of the city on July 29, 1944. She joined a local Bosch team on the only open road out of Radom. After they had made their way through Czechoslovakia and Austria, Danuta lost contact with her group during an Allied air raid on the railroad station in Ulm, Germany. Danuta was an office worker with the Bosch company in Goppingen, Germany, when American troops captured the city on April 20, 1945 – Hitler’s last birthday, as it happened, for he killed himself before the German surrender on May 8. A U.S. Army medical clearing company that was processing displaced persons of more than twenty nationalities hired Danuta as an interpreter. She also worked for U.S. Army Refugee Relief Team 6 in Piding, Bavaria, helping screen refugees entering the U.S. zone from Russian-occupied Austria. Once the border was closed, she worked in the personnel office of the U.S. Army recreation area in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, former site of Hitler’s alpine retreat. Sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, she came to the United States in March 1953, became a proud U.S. citizen and worked for several years in New York City. On a 1959 visit to Maine, she met Bowdoin College’s alumni secretary, Ohio native and Navy veteran, Peter C. Barnard, Bowdoin ’50. They were married on December 17, 1960, in a civil ceremony in Brunswick, followed by a religious ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral (Episcopal) in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Over the years, as Peter worked at Bowdoin, Pine Manor Junior College, and the Maine Medical Center, the Barnards lived in Brunswick, Cumberland, Boston, Freeport, and Yarmouth before settling at Piper Shores, where Peter died in January 2005. Danuta worked ten years as administrative secretary for the Bowdoin College psychology department and was a painstaking needlepoint artist. At Piper Shores, she served on the residents’ marketing committee and volunteered in the community’s nursing wing. She is survived by her late husband’s two nephews and niece, in California, by two cousins of her late husband and a host of friends. She wanted to express the highest regard she had for the Piper Shores Retirement Community and how grateful she was to the founders who conceived the idea and the management and staff who made it a success.

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