Andrzej (Andrew) Rej passed to Our Lord the morning of January 9, 2022, after living a full and vibrant life of 92 years. Andy was born on August 25, 1929, in Korytnice, a small town in Eastern Poland, now part of Ukraine.
Shortly after the 1939 outbreak of World War II in Poland, Andy and his family were arrested by the Soviets in 1940 and exiled to Siberia. This exile was the beginning of a long and life-altering journey to freedom in the West. After leaving the Soviet Union in 1942, the family, minus their beloved father, Janusz, traveled with the Polish Army in exile, as they made their way through Eurasia to Uzbekistan. There, Andy and his older brother Wally trained in the renowned Polish Army Second Corps as young teenagers. Attached to the Eighth British Army division, they went to Iran and Iraq where they were briefly reunited with their father. Andy and Wally were admitted to Junior Cadet School and were sent to Palestine, and later, Egypt.
Eventually, the young brothers found themselves in Britain in 1945, where they trained for Polish Naval School. They were joined by their mother, Roma, brother, Greg, and other family members who came from East Africa and Italy to Britain in 1948. After 11 long years and with the aid of the Red Cross, their longtime friend, Vincent Chrypinski, and his wife, Anna, were able to sponsor the Rej family to immigrate to the United States in 1951. They established a home in Detroit, Michigan.
Andy enrolled at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1951. Soon after, Andy and Wally were drafted into the US Army to serve in the Korean War. In 1952, Andy and Wally were stationed in Europe as translators, enabling Andy to utilize the four languages he fluently spoke. Upon his completion of U.S. military service, Andy completed his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1959.
In 1960, he moved to Denver, Colorado where he happily lived most of his life, working primarily for Lockheed Martin. He married Dorothy Hartwig in 1965, and lived and traveled the world with her, until her passing in March 1992. Dottie and Andy purchased one of the first units in Three Fountains, where he lived the rest of his life.
In February 1998, after multiple proposals, he married Patricia Reidy of Denver. Their married life was all too short as Patricia succumbed to breast cancer in October of that same year. While they dated, Andy and Patricia enjoyed dancing, skiing, hiking, playing golf, and watching Patricia’s family grow. Andy’s passion was snow skiing which he enjoyed well into his 80s as an active member of Winter Park’s SkiMeisters, through which he made several close friends.
On Monday, January 17, 2022, eight days after Andy passed, his older brother Wally died unexpectedly at age 94.
Andy is survived by Wally’s wife Maria Rej of Detroit; sister in-law Wanda Rej Szczepanik of Farmington Hills, MI; and his stepsons Kevin Reidy (Ann Benson Reidy) and Patrick Reidy (Ann) and his stepdaughters Ann Kelly (Chris) and Karen Winkelman (PJ), all from the Denver metro area. He is also survived by his nephew Richard Rej, his niece Ewa Rej of Detroit, nephew Gregory Rej of Panama City, FL, niece Halina Jankiewicz of Farmington Hills, MI, and Magdalena Rej of Denver. Additionally, Andy cherished ten grandchildren of the Reidy family who affectionately called him Dzia Dzia (grandpa in Polish).
Besides his beloved wives, Andy was preceded in death by his father Janusz Rej, his mother Romana Rej and his younger brother Gregory Rej.
A visitation will be held at 5:00 pm followed by a Rosary at 6:00 pm on Thursday, January 20th at Horan & McConaty at 11150 E. Dartmouth Ave. in Aurora. A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, January 21st at 10:00 am at Risen Christ Catholic Church at 3060 S. Monaco Pkwy, Denver. Andy will be laid to rest in Fort Logan National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made in the honor of Andrew Rej to Children’s Hospital Colorado to support the Diana Lake Reidy Endowed Fund for Leukemia Research. Donations can be made at http://www.supportchildrenscolorado.org/donate.
“Czesc Jego Pamieci”