Joe Jr. gravestone at Arlington National Cemetary
Joe. Jr's. window Wanda with grandchildren
Wanda with her family in McClean, Virginia
Pictures taken recently of Dorothy, one of Joe/Bessie's children, her sons and even me.
Cousins Steve, Dorothy & Bill Nov 2001 on Dorothy's 88th birthday
1st Cousin Dorothy Graczyk 4/6/2002...88 yrs old.
2nd cousin Steve with me 4/5/2002....Steve is the bigger fellow :)
Bessie and Joseph grave
After the death of her mother (Bessie Piechowiak Lepczyk) daughter Dorothy Lepczyk Graczyk wrote a short biography of her life. I found it interesting and thought I would share it with you. It gives insight to early life of the 1900's in Bay City.
Bolulawa (bessie) Piechowiak Lepczyk
Feb 24, 1890-July 26, 1971
Bessie Frances was born to John Piechowiak and Frances Luczak. She was born in a house they just finished building on 33rd and Jefferson, NW corner, in Bay City after moving here from East Tawas. She went through the 3rd grade at St Stanislaus school. As was the custom then, when you made your 1st communion, you could leave school (especially if you were a girl). She talked about being away from home all week working in sugar beets (in Elisha or Alicia). I gather that it was a sugar beet camp in Saginaw County. Every Monday morning the horse drawn wagon would come and pick up a gang of workers and they stayed at the camp until Friday night until all the beets were harvested.
In her later teens she got a job as a waitress at Mann's Restuarant in uptown Bay City. Through her work there she met many people involved in theatre work. Bay City had a wonderful theater on 6th & Washington where live plays were produced and well known stars appeared. She got involved in the chorus and appeared in quite a few produtions at the Bijou.
She married Joseph Lepczyk on September 23, 1912. I never found out how they met.
During the years 1920-1926 she worked as a waitress at the Wenona Hotel, Bay County Country Club & Yaht Club. She brought home many of the ideas learned at work and took great pride in fixing fancy and delicious meals. Every Saturday she'd bake cakes and cookies for the week.
After 1944 she worked at the Habitat Shop (Pine Furniture). Finally she worked as a sewing machine operator at Wolverine Knitting Mills, she worked there until she was 74 years old.
She travelled extensively such as; Panama Canel, Bermuda, Greece, Kentucky, Virginia, Washington D.C.
She was 5'6" and weighted about 160 lbs. She had dark brown curly hair and hazel eyes.
In later years she had a constant dry cough like clearing her throat. In February 1971 the doctor told her to get her things in order as she had cancer and would not live long. She wanted me to stay with her after that, so every night I'd sleep sleep there & do her cleaning & washing on Saturday. On July 24 she was admitted to Mercy Hospital and on July 26, 1971 at 4:00 a.m. she died.
She did embroidery, crocheting & sewing. She crocheted a beautiful afghan for each of her children.
DOROTHY GRACZYK EULOGY
Aunt Bessie's daughter Dorothy, my first cousin, passed away on August 13, 2005, at the age of 91. I was blessed to get to know her and the love she offered during the final four years of her life. I was honored to be able to deliver a eulogy for Dorothy at her funeral. A link to that eulogy is below: