Dr. Benigna Maria Janowicz Bulas

Dr. Benigna Maria Janowicz Bulas, lovingly referred to as Babcia Benia, passed away on Sunday October 21, 2018 in Roanoke, Virginia after a long illness.
Born in Kaunas, Lithuania on April 25, 1922, she worked as an anesthesiologist for the Veterans Health Administration in Brooklyn, NY and East Orange, NJ for 35 years. She began her medical studies in Vilnius, Lithuania and obtained her MD from Heidelberg, Germany after her studies were interrupted by the onset of WWII. During the war, members of her family were deported to Siberia by the Soviets due to their landowner status, and many others perished at the hands of German and Soviet armies.
With the help of the United Nations Refugee Association, UNRA, she was sponsored to come to the United States and became a US citizen. She initially worked as a general physician in Harlem. A shining example of the success of the United States’ policy of opening arms to refugees, she became board certified in anesthesiology in the 1960s – one of few women physician anesthesiologists at that time – and dedicated her professional years towards serving American veterans.
Many of her family members were instrumental in working towards Polish and Lithuanian independence, both of which are celebrating 100 years of sovereignty in 2018. Most notable among these family patriots was Gabriel Narutowicz, the first elected president of Poland in 1922.
Benigna actively supported Polish American organizations in New Jersey including the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish Cultural Foundation all the while never forgetting her Lithuanian roots. Prior to relocating to Roanoke, VA in the final years of her life she was a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in South Orange, NJ. While in Virginia she supported Local Colors and the Opole, Poland committee of Roanoke Valley Sister Cities.
She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Romuald Bulas, and three daughters -Kristina Bulas Slowikowski, Dorothy Bulas Kurzrok, Barbara Bulas, and five loving grandchildren – Jacek, Thomas, Monika, Mark, and Adam. She was preceded in death by her brother Julius Janowicz, who fought with the Polish resistance during WWII, and sister Janina, who survived 15 years of deportation in Siberia.
The family would like to thank the staff of Our Lady of the Valley and Good Samaritan Hospice for their loving care. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you consider donations to the Kosciuszko Foundation www.thekf.org (15 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065), the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation www.victimsofcommunism.org (300 New Jersey Ave NW Suite 900, Washington DC 10001).
Arrangements by Oakey’s South Chapel (540-989-3131). Online condolences may be expressed at www.oakeys.com.