Helena Tenev

Obituary of Helena Tenev

Helena Tenev, 90, of Princeton, New Jersey, died Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Born in Jędrzejów, Poland, she was a resident of Princeton for many years. She attended schools in Jędrzejów and Warsaw and, during the period of Nazi occupation when Poland ceased to exist, secret schools organized by the Polish Underground. After the war, she attended the Hochschule für Welthandel (now Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien) in Vienna, Austria. During World War II, she became separated from her family and was conscripted into labor in Warsaw. A Polish patriot, she supported the Home Army, the Armija Krajowa; she survived the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, escaped deportation, and returned to her family. In Poland, during the war, she met the late George Tenev, a medical corpsman serving in a Bulgarian Red Cross sanitary train. He returned to find her as hostilities were ending and in 1945, in Prague, they married and lived together for 70 years. After the war, she moved to her husband's native Bulgaria. An opponent of the communist regime, her husband was imprisoned periodically and tortured; her family was persecuted; her father-in-law was executed in 1955. In 1957, the couple illegally left Bulgaria with their children, a crime punishable by death. The family lived in a displaced persons camp in Vienna, Austria, and eventually came to the United States. They settled in Yonkers, New York. She worked as a medical technician and became supervisor of the electrocardiogram department at Misericordia Hospital (now Our Lady of Mercy) in New York City. She worked closely with AIDS patients for many years. She was a frequent visitor to New Suffolk, New York and Westerly, Rhode Island and, in retirement, to Menton, France and Cambridge, England. She traveled extensively throughout Europe and South America. She enjoyed music, art, nature, and reading, especially poetry; she was deeply religious. She played an active role in raising her grandchildren. She was devoted to friends and family. Daughter of the late Jozef and Marianna Marzec, she is survived by a daughter, Marie Pepper of Cambridge, England; a son Jovi Tenev and daughter-in-law Nancy Hingston of Princeton Junction, New Jersey; a granddaughter Tara Pepper Goldsmith and her husband Charles Goldsmith of Cambridge, England; a grandson Sean Pepper of New York; a grandson Liam Pepper and his wife Bic Hoang Leu of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; a grandson Nicholas Tenev of Madison, Wisconsin; grandchildren Christopher and Helena Tenev of Princeton Junction; great grandsons Charles, Thomas, and Jonathan Goldsmith of Cambridge, England; and sisters Janina Wachsberger Witkowski of Washington, D.C. and Danuta Wernik of Oceanside, California. A choral funeral Mass will be celebrated 4:30 PM Saturday, July 25, 2015 at Miller Chapel, Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, with interment at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations to the Red Cross, Trinity Church, Princeton, or the Church of the Holiest Saviour (Kościół Najświętszego Zbawiciela) in Warsaw. Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.
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