Mary Wanda (Kowalski) Kotkowski, the wife of the late Joseph Francis Kotkowski, died on July 14th in her home. She was born on April 10th, 1924 in Danbury, Connecticut and raised in Bethel. Mary was the youngest of the nine children of Francis and Catherine Kolpa Kowalski. She was predeceased by all of her siblings whom she missed a great deal. Mary often described her childhood as one party after another as all her siblings played musical instruments and she tap danced to entertain friends and neighbors. As the children married and grandchildren arrived, the Kowalski family still remained close and returned home every Sunday evening to share a bowl of the beef soup made famous by her mother, Catherine. Family remained the focus of Maryâ??s life as she raised her four daughters with her husband Joe. She not only taught them to make the famous Kowalski beef soup, but also many other Polish recipes. But most importantly, she passed on to her daughters a passion for cooking. Mary loved nature and instilled in her children a love of the outdoors. She and her siblings could identify birds by their calls, trees by their shape, and a multitude of varieties of mushrooms. She loved growing vegetables, which formed part of the celebration of the seasons that her daughters still enjoy. In her youth, she was an avid horsewoman and owned and rode a retired racehorse. In fact her favorite movie of all time was National Velvet. She loved animals and animals loved her and came to her for affection and protection. Mary worked at Grolier in Danbury to help support the family, both before and after her beloved husband Joe passed away in 1974. She and Joe are survived by their four daughters, their husbands, their grandchildren and great grandchildren: Kathleen and Win Loomis and their children, Christopher, Jesse, and Heather; Nancy and David Stein and their children, Carey, Joseph, and John; Jean and John Albano and their daughter, Lindsay; and Melanie and Alan Shomsky, who are the ultimate aunt and uncle to all of their nieces and nephews. Many of Maryâ??s grandchildren have married and have children â?? eight great grandchildren all told. We wish to especially thank her nurse, Laura, at the Bethel VNA for her years of caring and support. Also, our deepest thanks to Agnes, for caring for our mother in a loving, prayerful manner 24 hours a day over the past ten months.