Sofia Wojciechowski was born in 1917, the oldest of four children of Polish immigrants. Sofia grew up in Mahwah, N.J., and in 1945 she married Edward Dembia, who was also of Polish descent. Sofia worked as a legal secretary before obtaining New Jersey real estate and insurance licenses. She was the owner and operator of Ramsey Interstate Realty and Insurance for many years.
Sofia valued hard work and frugality. She took pride in recounting that her initial salary as a legal secretary was $5 per week. At that time, she created a weekly "Christmas club" and tried to save $1 per week for the 50 weeks of the club. Many years later, she was pleased to recall that in that first year, she'd "only" saved $48.
Sofia and Ed maintained ties with Poland through their parish church, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Mahwah. They were active parishioners who worked to keep the Polish traditions alive in the parish. They traveled to Poland often and hosted Polish relatives when they visited the United States. The Dembias routinely sent packages of hard-to-find goods to relatives in Poland during the years of Communist rule.
Sofia died in 2010 at age 93. In her will, Sofia bequeathed $500,000 to create the Wojciechowski-Dembia Scholarship at Ramapo College, a permanently endowed fund for students to pursue any course of study. Whenever possible, Sofia desired that the scholarship "be given to students of Polish descent or students demonstrating a continuing interest in Polish culture."
Please contact us to learn more about endowing a scholarship to help Ramapo College students for years to come.
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