Audrey Mary Trella, 79, passed away Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at the Premier Nursing and Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She was born January 2, 1942 in Poland a daughter to the late, Stanislaus and Anna Bormach Puchalski.
Surviving the war that deprived her family of their kin, their liberty, and their prosperity, at the age of 7 she boarded the U.S. Army Transport, General Muir, from Camp Grohn in Bremerhaven, Germany with her parents, her sisters Felicija (Phyllis, 16) and Helena (Helen, 4), and her brother Kazimierz (Stan, 13). They arrived in Boston and settled at the Russell Farm in Lenoir County, N.C. under the auspices of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. They carved a new life at a small home on 3 acres, wrested from the North Carolina wilderness, that “Mamma and Tatus” transformed through hard work and determination into a veritable botanical garden, working farm, and whimsical playground to the many grandchildren and great grandchildren who would later come. She was joined in this new life by another sister, Diane, and brother, Johnny.
After finishing high school Audrey ventured to Buffalo, N.Y. to join her older siblings working in factory jobs and enjoying the large, vibrant community of people of Polish heritage. She was stunningly beautiful. It was there while working on the Sanger line at Buffalo China that she met her future husband, Thomas C. Trella. He sent her notes on the conveyer belt and sat on her steps until she agreed to go on a date. They were married May 15, 1965 at St. Stanislaus church and lived in an upstairs apartment on the “East Side,” on C Street, in the home of her sister Phyllis, which became an epicenter of Buffalo family life, hosting the annual Christmas Wigilia and other celebrations for decades to come.
As their family grew Audrey and Tom moved out of the city to 140 acres of old farmstead on a dirt road near Franklinville, N.Y. that they purchased with Tom’s sister, Dorothy. They lived for a time in a trailer, and built a new home where they raised their children and enjoyed many happy years hosting family gatherings, growing gigantic gardens, raising animals, and entertaining a steady stream of visits from siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends. Although far away from her parents, Audrey spoke with them often on the telephone, always in Polish, and she counted the days between visits when she would pack every last inch of the various family vehicles that somehow always made the long journey home to N.C. to see her parents and siblings. She was never happier than when she was at the ocean with her family, her sister Diane, her beloved mother, her children, nieces, nephews and extended family.
In 1995 she and Tom, and their son Nathan, moved back to N.C. and wrested yet another home from the wilderness where she spent the last chapter of her life creating her own whimsical botanical playground for her own grandchildren, nieces and nephews, whom she savored every moment with.
She was a fearless builder who could only see the good in things, and their potential. She gave and loved unconditionally, was “like a second mother” to many family and friends, and devoted her entire life to the care and welfare of others. She worked for more than 20 years as a nurse’s aid at the Cattaraugus County Nursing Home in Machias, N.Y., and spent a decade more working as a home health care assistant for Onslow County, in N.C.
She is survived by daughter, Suzanne Trella Curtice (Craig) of Rochester, NY; sons, Matthew Trella of Kinston, NC, Phillip Trella (Karlin Leudtke) of Staunton, VA, and Nathaniel Trella of New Bern; grandchildren, Isabel and Benjamin Trella-Luedtke; sisters, Helen Wira of Ontario, Canada and Diane Grady of Kinston; and brother, Johnny Puchalski of Kinston.
She was preceded in death by husband, Thomas; brother, Stanley Puchalski Jr.; and sister, Phyllis Lindner.