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Dr. Edmund KUFFEL

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family information

Edmund was born to Franciszek and Marta (nee Glowska) in Przysiersk, Poland, in 1924. In January 1942, the Nazis evicted the family from their farm and gave it to German settlers from Besarabia. Soon afterwards, they began forced resettlement of the dispossessed farmers from that region. His family was taken to Jasieniec, a small village near Koronowo. Edmund was assigned to one of the itinerant labour teams specializing in maintaining the infrastructure. This forced employment eventually took him to Italy, where his team was sent to build and repair roads, railway tracks, and even airstrips.


In the spring of 1944, Edmund escaped and joined the Polish 2nd Corps. He was assigned to the 15th Rifle Battalion of the 5th Brigade in the 5th Division of the 2nd Polish Corps, and later transferred to information services at command headquarters. Because of this assignment, he was not among the troops storming the Monte Cassino stronghold. Later he was reassigned to a regular unit and saw action in the last phase of the Italian campaign, fighting at Ancona, Monte Rippe, and Rimini.


Immediately after the war’s end, while still in Italy, each division began to organize junior and senior high schools. The 5th Division, in which he served, organized its high school in Modena, where Edmund attended. After the schools were reorganized in Britain, he continued his schooling near Norwich, in East Anglia, and there he completed the four years of high school. He continued his education at University College in Dublin, Ireland.


Edmund loved to learn and was passionate about teaching. His education included a B.Sc. (honors) degree (1953), M.Sc. degree (1954) and PhD. degree (1959), all from University College, in Dublin, Ireland. He would later earn a Dr. of Science degree from the University of Manchester (1967). Edmund was an academic at heart and spent much of his career as an engineering professor, head of department and finally the Dean of Engineering at the University of Manitoba (1979 to 1989). Throughout his long and successful career Edmund was well liked and respected by his colleagues, the students he taught and the engineering community.


During his studies in Dublin, Edmund met his future wife Alicja (nee Gromnicka). In 1968, together with his family, Edmund immigrated to Canada and settled in Winnipeg where he continued his academic career as a professor of engineering at the University of Manitoba.


While living in Winnipeg, Edmund and Alicja were passionately involved in the Polish community and were instrumental in sponsoring many new families to Canada. They were also actively involved in the 1984 visit of Pope John Paul II to Winnipeg which eventually led to a private audience at the Vatican.


In 2009 Edmund was honored with the distinction of Doktor Honoris Causa from the Poznan Polytechnic University in recognition of his contribution to High Voltage Engineering and his life-long support of the Polish Academic community.


Edmund passed away in Winnipeg on January 12, 2018. at age 93.

Copyright: Kuffel family

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