Teresa Leokadia Zakow, née Trojanowska, passed away peacefully on December 28, 2019, in New Haven, Connecticut, at the age of 75. She is survived by her son, Andrei Zakow, daughter, Diana Zakow Totolos, and three grandchildren, Ares Totolos, Atlas Totolos, and Artemis Totolos of Brooklyn, New York.
Teresa’s bravery, progressive thinking, and compassion will not soon be forgotten. She spent her youth in Warsaw, Poland, and studied Fine Arts receiving both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. She came to America in 1974 where she would eventually work as an Art Restorer with her husband, Joel Zakow (d. 2006), at Zakow Art Restoration in New York City. For forty years, she lived and worked in Soho, New York, with her husband and children before retiring to her home in Niantic, Connecticut. She always considered Connecticut her sanctuary.
Teresa’s genuine compassion touched and inspired all who came into contact with her. She was a guiding light that her closest family and friends could look toward during dark times. She was the one everyone could lean on until her last days when she finally needed support herself, and the honor to reciprocate was shared by all.
In one of her journal entries she wrote that she was named after St.Thérèse of Lisieux, who was also called “Little Flower.” Teresa’s mother, Mimi, had a dream one night that roses were descending on her baby’s crib. She awoke to find Teresa suffocating in her blankets. Once the baby had recovered, Mimi knew that St. Thérèse had saved her. Teresa upheld the honor of this name, having the utmost respect and love for nature. From forging through the Maine woods for mushrooms, to hiking the Tetra Mountains and skiing in Colorado, she found peace in nature akin to godliness. She knew that she played a small but integral part in all the pastoral beauty that God created.
Teresa Zakow sought to serve others, to forget herself in quiet acts of love. She believed that we must constantly reconnect with ourselves, trusting that God will draw us out of ourselves to serve others with our actions and words, and that this is the ultimate expression of selfhood. She reminded her family daily that home is not a location, but that we carry it with us wherever go. She taught us that there is no other way but through. She spoke about the need to find spirituality and God as we get older in order to anchor ourselves to our past. She said that as long as we are alive we have an opportunity to reinvent ourselves without judgment. Teresa’s guiding light will continue to burn bright, her presence forever felt, and her grace never tiring.
Teresa Zakow’s life will be honored and celebrated in her beloved home in Giant’s Neck Beach in the Spring of 2020. Details will be made available at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to The Ehlers-Danlos Society.