Roma Baran

Roma Marie Baran

Sunday, February 13th, 1938 - Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
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Roma Baran (née Popek), 82, of El Cajon, California and previously of Schaumburg, Illinois, passed away on July 28th, 2020. She was born Romualda Popek on February 13th, 1938 in Lublin, Poland to Ignacy and Stanislawa Popek. She emigrated to the United States as a war refugee with her family in 1949. She married Stanley Baran (deceased) in 1958 and was married until his death in 2018. She is survived by her loving children Irene Baran (John Jahraus), Theresa McRoberts (Dave), Sue Baran, and Paul Baran; her devoted grandchildren Ashley McRoberts, Michael and Katherine Jahraus, Bryan, Cecilia, and Jason Petersen; her brother Marion Popek and her sister Halina Popek. She will be missed by many nieces, nephews, brothers-and-sisters-in-law, cousins, and friends. Roma was known for her exceptional cooking skills, her gentle sense of humor and her kindness to all she encountered. She was a talented gardener, helping flowers, vegetables, and people grow and blossom. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her siblings Begusha, Walter, Henry, and Rose Popek. We request in lieu of flowers to please donate to her favorite charity St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Memorial and Honor Gifts, PO Box 1000, Dept 142, Memphis TN 38148-0142, or at
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Due to Covid there will be a private service in CA for the immediate family.


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Sharon (Popek) Middlemiss

Posted at 01:41pm
Our condolences for the loss of your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, aunt, sister-in-law, Roma Baran, on behalf of the Popeks in Canada. Peter and Ignacy were brothers born 1897 and 1905 in Chelm Poland. They survived through two world wars and much turmoil within their country to start new lives in America. Peter, Rose, and John sailed to Canada in July 1929. Ignacy, Stella and children sailed in November 1949 to New York. One day at the Hamilton Polish Legion a friend of Peter’s told him ‘I found your brother Ignacy Popek in Chicago’. It was a joyous reunion for Peter and Ignacy at Roma and Stan’s wedding in Chicago April 1958.

Irene Baran Posted at 11:25am

Sharon thank you for sharing that story. We owe so much to those brave immigrants and how they have shaped us.

Peggy Popek

Posted at 02:28pm
Everyone will agree that Roma was the most amazing, wonderful and caring woman whom we have all been blessed to be a part of. Even before l married Marty and joined the Popek family, Roma was the one that instantly made me feel accepted as if I was more of a sister rather than a sister-in-law. I've never known a more humble and generous person as her. She could always make you smile and boy could she feed you! In 2019, Marty and I had the opportunity to go out to California and spend time with her. We will forever be grateful and keep those memories close to our hearts. Oh to reminisce about back in the days when we were young(er), the whole family would always be at Stan and Roma’s house to play cards and drink. And of course we can't forget staying up to the wee hours playing together on the slot machine. I can honestly say we always had a great time with her. I am heartbroken but at peace, because I know without a doubt, she knew how much I loved her. I will always cherish the memories of her 💟. So, until we meet again…I love you MORE! R.I.P. sweet Roma

Irene Baran Posted at 11:25am

love you Aunt Peg

Natalie Popek

Posted at 12:14am
Auntie Roma was the matriarch of the Popek family. She was such a kind and generous being whose nurturing soul beamed of life and making others happy. She was a busy woman filled with tons of energy and a smile that was contagious. She never forgot a birthday or special occasion. My childhood consisted of going over to her and Uncle Stan's Schaumburg house to swim, play pool, take my turn on the slot machine and always be with a ton of family. It was a party, a big party every time we went. There were even after parties! She would always put out a spread of food like it was a buffet at the Old Warsaw restaurant. If you were hungry, it was your own fault because Auntie Roma always made sure that everyone was fed. I'm so grateful to have had her as my Aunt. As my Dad had perfectly described his sister, she was a Gem! Her love was unconditional and worth more than all the jewels in the world! I'm sure there is a fabulous game of cards (hence the coin shortage with all those nickel/dime/quarter anti-ups) with lots of food and drinks going on in heaven right now! I will love you forever and miss you always! Rest in peace Auntie Roma!💔

Irene Baran Posted at 11:26am

hugs to you Toots

Michael Jahraus

Posted at 08:34pm
Roma Baran was a very strong and kind woman. Nobody could doubt either of that. She was inextricably powerful, caring, and inspiring. Everything that she did she did not for the greater good of herself or anybody else, but for everybody as a whole. It is hard to imagine how many times she asked me if I needed anything and how I was doing, and she was just one of the best people to know, and that I have been lucky enough to have as a grandmother. For me, it's hard to describe how big of a piece she is of me and who I am today. Many of the values I have come from her and who she was as a person. She is perhaps the strongest, most determined and also the most caring person I've met, to this day.

To go through what she went through, living through World War II in a work camp with her family, and maintain the attitude that she did, was just such a testament to how strong willed she was. I was always astounded and amazed hearing everything that she went through and dealt with. I was mostly sad at first, but seeing her strength, her determination in dealing with it all and being able to say "that was a difficult time, and it was difficult, but my life is better now, and I'm living my life now" was something that planted a seed of strength in me. It was something that I had never seen before for something so seriously difficult. And it was the singular greatest gift that she could have ever given me. I've never forgotten that even ten years after having learned about that for the first time. It's something that continues to inspire me and show me what true strength looks like: overcoming the most dire of circumstances, and being able to come up and say, "You know what, things are better now. And life is good, and thank god I'm not going to be there again". And to overcome it, and look it down in the face, and say, this does not have the power over me that it once did. She was so strong, almost unbelievably. I never saw an ounce of tentativeness in her. I never saw her complain one single time. Not about anything of importance, anyway. Maybe it was too hot, or too cold, but about the important things in life, she never took those for granted. She always faced them head on, and that was something that astounded me and blew me away. She took everything as it was, and looked it right in the face. And never backed down, or looked away from it, or let it take her for its own. She owned every single thing she did, and that's something that's still a part of me to this day. And I couldn't be more grateful for everything that she has taught me about life, and I am going to carry it with me as long as I live.

It is hard to believe now that she is gone, but it is something that I am realizing that I am lucky to know that she left peacefully, and that I can carry on the message that she didn't preach, but she practiced.

Through Roma Baran, I learned to smile every day. Didn't, doesn't and never will matter what that will be in the face of. None of that matters. Because, at the end of the day, we are all alive, and we should be happy about it. I am going to smile every day, and laugh every day, and face life and look at its struggles in the eye every day, no matter how menacing, threatening, or daunting it may seem, and if for no other reason than knowing that she would have been ashamed of me for being disappointed for not passing a test, or losing a job, or not cancelling a doctor's appointment on time. Because I know she would say, that life is bigger than that. That it is something that I don't need to stress. Or fret. Because we are not living through a war. And even though she did, she turned out stronger than most of us. I love you Grandma, and I will miss you very much. But I will not forget any of the lessons that you have taught me, and I will do whatever it takes to keep your spirit alive. I can see now, and understand why, our family is so strong. You were the best. I know the weight of being your grandson is going to be heavy, but its something that I am willing to do because it inspires me to be more like you. I love you Grandma, and I will miss you very much.

Your grandson,


Irene Baran Posted at 11:26am

much love Michael

Cecilia Petersen

Posted at 03:32pm
You were such a wonderful human and I’m so fortunate to be able to call you my grandma.
I’m going to miss your warm welcomes, fascinating stories, wonderful cooking, and gardening expertise. If only there was more time for you to teach me your abundance of recipes and how to nurture a garden. I will always remember the time you flew out to Petaluma and helped us start our own garden in the backyard. Those were the best cucumbers I ever had. In my future garden, I will be thinking of you. I’m so grateful to have visited you just a few weeks ago. Thank you for the endless love and care and pierogis. I love you and miss you always.

Sue Baran Posted at 03:38pm

I love you, Cece

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