Anna Katarina Ferencko passed away on December 22, 2018, after a valiant four-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. Anna was born on September 4, 1945, in Czechoslovakia, the daughter of Jan Garaj, a doctor, and Bozena Garajova (Nosalova), a teacher. Anna was one of four children, including an identical twin sister, Bozena, with whom she remained very close her entire life. Growing up under a repressive communist regime, Anna acquired first-hand knowledge of the evils of socialism, collectivism and atheism, thus shaping her values of freedom, justice, the rule of law, hard work, family, and the sanctity of the human spirit.
While working at a resort in the Tatra Mountains one summer during college, Anna met her future husband, Victor, an American of Slovak descent. One year later they were married and Anna was able to secure a special visa to leave the country, otherwise forbidden, and to emigrate to the United States.
In the United States, Anna worked as a fashion designer and seamstress in New York City while building a family. Tanya, a daughter, was born in 1967, and four years later a son, Gregory, was born. The family soon moved from New York City to Summit, NJ, where many happy years of family life were spent. Later the family moved to Houston, TX, and Anna decided to return to school and change careers. Anna graduated from electronics vocational school and subsequently worked for Pitney Bowes Corp., Wang Computers, and Merck Corporation as a computer and software specialist. Meanwhile, she and Victor returned to NJ, where Anna spent many years together with Victor as empty nesters working, traveling back to Slovakia to visit family, cruising, gardening, and welcoming grandchildren Andrew, Nicholas and Viera into the family.
When Anna finally retired from Merck Corporation, she and Victor moved to Viera, FL, to enjoy the beautiful scenery, weather and leisure activities.
Anna was a remarkable woman of incredible intelligence, perseverance, beauty, skill and spirit. She was highly proficient at sewing dresses and curtains, managing investments, cooking and baking, gardening, using power tools, fixing computers and appliances, playing the piano, interior decorating, bowling, playing tennis, line dancing, throwing parties, and engaging people from all walks of life in deep conversations. She possessed a fierce spirit of determination and perseverance. When Anna was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2014, she committed to fight the disease with all available resources and ultimately lived far beyond her initial prognosis of 1-2 years. She endeavored to live life to the fullest during her sickness and spent her last day on earth shopping, cooking, knitting and spending time with her family.
Anna is predeceased by her husband of 50 years, Victor. She is survived by her two married children, Tanya (Daniel), and Gregory (Lauren); her grandchildren Andrew, Nicholas and Viera; her older brother Ivan (Jana), older sister Lubica (Bernard) and identical twin sister, Bozena (Peter); her brother-in-law John (Nancy); and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.
Anna was incredibly generous and went out of her way to do anything for her loved ones. She loved her family immensely and regarded her principal vocation in life as a wife, mother, aunt and grandmother (“Babka”). She took pleasure in helping her family in domestic activities as well as by taking an interest in their educations, careers and well-being. Anna was a force of nature and an inspiration to those around her. It is difficult to imagine the world without her, and her absence leaves a painful ache in our hearts. She is no doubt in heaven preparing the way for those she loves, and her memory and example will live in our hearts forever.