Cover photo for Edith P. Dziura's Obituary
Edith P. Dziura Profile Photo
1938 Edith 2024

Edith P. Dziura

March 10, 1938 — March 28, 2024

Holland Patent, New York

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Edith Phyllis Dziura, best known as Phyllis, died peacefully on March 27, 2024 at Wynn Hospital in Utica New York. A lifelong resident of the Mohawk Valley, she was born in Utica on that same block, on March 10, 1938. The first born of two daughters to Edward and Leona Slirzewski, Phyllis cherished her early days with her sister Lois Slirzewski who died too soon of leukemia at age 17. She grew up in her parents' boarding house at 437 Lafayette Street in Utica, developing a genuine love for her city, a love which she would stay passionate about her entire life. After graduating from Utica Free Academy she married Rudolph Dziura in 1956 and moved to Washington DC. She became a mother to two children, Lynn Butler (Dziura) and Edward (E.J.) Dziura. For over a decade, she was a full time mother to her children and later, when her husband fell ill, she also became a full time caregiver. After Rudolph's death in 1976, she immersed herself in nursing school, earning her LPN at age 38. She was never one to sit idle and never shied away from a challenge, even in the face of adversity. 

She ventured out to California briefly and worked as professional seamstress before news of her first grandchild, Lauren Butler (born to Lynn Butler), brought her back to the Mohawk Valley where she settled back in Holland Patent. Two years later, she was overjoyed at the birth of her second grandchild, Tyler Butler. She worked as a nurse at various hospitals and residential patient centers around the Utica area, including Citrin Home, the Abraham House and Heritage Home. 

Phyllis was best known as a caregiver. A role she assumed without hesitation throughout her life, both personally and professionally. Many remember her as the kind nurse who took the time to listen to the stories of their ailing parents in a local nursing home, the compassionate soul who was there for end of life care at the Abraham House, or the helpful neighbor you could call whenever you were in need. Phyllis was there when no one else was. She was a giver in every sense of the word: compassionate, trustworthy, reliable, and selfless. Her ability to connect with all those who suffer was no coincidence; as she was no stranger to tragedy in her own life, losing her sister, mother, father, husband and finally her son tragically before their time. After the unexpected death of her son, E.J. in 1997 she took on the role of grandmother with extra enthusiasm, devoting every minute she could enriching the lives of the children he left behind: Alexandra McGetrick and John Dziura. She was determined to ensure they knew how much their father had loved them. 

She was known to her grandchildren as "Baci" (a small twist of the traditional polish Babcia), and was infamous for her golumpkis, Christmas Eve parties, and always 'losing' their Christmas gifts somewhere in the house. Invariably, after several hours of searching frantically, she'd usually manage to find the gifts, but not without having accidentally switched the tags with one of the other grandchildren's gifts and forgetting to wrap it. This never troubled any of her grandchildren, in fact, it was a source of entertainment during the usual festivities and always had the whole family laughing. Baci's Christmas gifts turned into an unintentional white elephant gift exchange many times. No one left Baci's house without a full belly or a big bag full of "goodies" collected from around her house. There was no avoiding Baci's desire to give things away; If you looked at it and liked it, you LEFT with it! Baci made sure of that. She was endlessly upbeat, sharp with her wit, and giving beyond measure. 

Phyllis was also notorious for her heart for animals. From the local humane society to the World Wildlife Fund, Phyllis gave to every animal charity she could find. Each year she'd receive hundreds of animal themed calendars and pocket notebooks given as thank you gifts for her donations (each of the grandkids usually received one). She had a habit of adopting whatever unadoptable dog wound up at the shelter, eventually ending up with a rag tag bunch of pups (one with one eye, one with one leg, one with a biting problem, etc.) She drove around with them in the back of her Ford Bronco and became known to many as the crazy dog lady. She always made sure to carry plenty of treats with her, which she called "cousy-na-nas." A term no one quite knows the origin of. 

Phyllis enjoyed over 50 years with her devoted partner, Bob Griffith. Together they loved to listen to NPR, volunteer on Thanksgiving at the soup kitchen, and attend Mass. She was a patron of the arts, attending hundreds of local high school theater productions with the same enthusiasm as she had for Broadway shows. She worked with the Broadway Theatre League and Stanley Theater and appeared on stage with the Faxton Follies. She was a talented self-taught seamstress, sewing clothing for her daughter and granddaughter and providing alterations to anyone lucky enough to get her phone number. She rarely accepted payment for her work. Phyllis always spoke her mind and never backed down from a challenge. She was truly an indomitable spirit who overcame any challenge life threw at her. She is survived by her devoted partner Bob Griffith, daughter Lynn Butler, grandchildren Lauren Butler, Tyler Butler, Alex McGetrick and John Dziura, and great-grandchildren Fulton Butler, Beckett Butler, Lauren Smith, and Quinn McGetrick, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her sister Lois Slirzewski, Father Edward Slirzewski, Mother Leona Slirzewski, husband Rudolph Dziura, and son E.J. Dziura.

Funeral and cremation arrangements are under the direction and care of the locally/family owned and operated Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremations, 7507 State Route 5, between Little Falls and St. Johnsvillle, 315-508-5131.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edith P. Dziura, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, May 11, 2024

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