Franziska Walczak

Franziska Walczak

Franziska Romana (Molling) Walczak, 85 of Williamstown, MA died Saturday November 16, 2019 at her home. She was born in Innsbruck, Austria on March 28, 1934 daughter of Vincenz and Anna (Meischl) Molling. Franziska grew up during the Nazi occupation of Innsbruck and was then sent to live in a convent in Scharnitz from age 8 to 14 where she lived with nuns and taught herself to play the piano. She attended schools in Austria, received a teaching certificate, and became a governess for diplomats in Italy, France, and England where she boarded the Queen Elizabeth for New York City becoming fluent in four languages. Franziska loved hiking and backcountry skiing wherein she would climb up five hours and ski down for ninety minutes. One day on the summit of Der Patscherkofel during her skiing lunch break from her Radio Tyrol job, she met Naval Hydrographic Geophysicist, James Walczak, whom she married on December 26, 1959. They moved to the Washington, DC area where they laid the foundation for an artistic and intellectual family home with more than a touch of Austrian lifestyle. While raising three kids, she attended classes, studied, and received an associate's degree from Prince George's County Community College in Maryland. Franziska worked as a substitute teacher in the Prince George's County School System for several years. She received recognition from the US National Arboretum Herbarium for her 22 years of volunteer service. In 2012, Jim and Franziska moved north to Williamstown, MA to build their dream home across the street from their first daughter. Franziska joined St. John’s Episcopal Church and knitted many bandages for lepers with other volunteers there. It was her intention to also volunteer at arts institutions in the area when she began to feel the symptoms of Parkinson’s. In 2016 she suffered a stroke causing dementia and a long challenging period that included hip operations and rehab. Fortunately her family managed to get her to live at home in 2017 where for two and a half years she was able to swim in the family pool, play games, and enjoy frequent family dinners. Survivors include her husband, James E. Walczak; two daughters– Diana Walczak of Williamstown and Los Angeles and Erika Walczak of Los Angeles and one son– Gregory Walczak of Los Angeles. She also leaves three grandchildren including Io Kleiser, Roman Kleiser and Jackson Kleiser, nieces and nephews, and her lifelong best friend, Agnes Lorentzen still with us at 97. FUNERAL NOTICE: Services for Franziska Walczak will be at a later date. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit
March 28, 1934 - November 16, 201903/28/193411/16/2019
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