When Betty Louise Remenak was born on October 17, 1936, in Michigan, her father, Leo, was 26, and her mother, Stella Waszkiewicz, was 23. I am writing this blog about Betty because she was the paternal grandmother of my friend Eric.
BETTY’S FATHER: Betty’s father, Leo, had been born on 30 April 1910 in Poland. Leo must have Americanized his last name at some point from Rzemieniak to Remenak. Leo was Eric’s great grandfather.
In 1929, Leo married Stella Waszkiewicz. He was 21 years old and she was 16 years old.
In the 1930 US census. Leo is 21 years old (his wife is only 17 years old). He states that he speaks Polish. In this census, he is living with his wife in Grand Rapids, MI and working as a furniture re-finisher. His wife is working in furniture upholstery. They live in a rented home on 6th Street. In this census, he states that he immigrated to the US in 1912 when he was 2 years old.
In the 1940 US census Leo is 29 years old and living with his wife Stella and their 3 children on Graceland Street in Grand Rapids. Leo states that his highest level of education completed is 8th grade. He lists his citizenship as naturalized. I found a city directory that gave their address as 843 Graceland NE., Grand Rapids, MI.
I did find some WWII Navy muster rolls that show Leo served in the military on the USS Pine Island. This record is dated 1948. I also found this application for a military headstone.
Leo died on 15 Dec 1956. He was only 46 years old. I did not find his obituary, but I did find an article about the accident that claimed his life. The driver of the car that struck Leo was brought up on charges 2 times, but each time there was insufficient evidence to charge the driver of the car that struck Leo with negligent homicide.
BETTY’S MOTHER: Betty’s mother, Stella. had been born on 17 Feb 1913 in Michigan. Her parents had been born in Poland. Stella was Eric’s great grandmother.
In the 1920 US census, Stella was 7 years old and living with her parents,George Waszkiewicz and Anna Reda, and her sister Estiva. In this census record, George is working as a sander in a fur factory and states that he cannot read or write. He lists Polish as his mother tongue. Anna is also working as a painter in a carpet sweeper industry. She also says that she is unable to read or write … would this just be a reference to not reading English? Not sure. The family lives on Blymier Court in Grand Rapids, MI.
Stella lived for many years after the death of her husband. She died at the age of 81 on 27 Oct 1994. She is buried near many of the Remenak family at Fairplains Cemetery in Grand Rapids.
BETTY: I was delighted to find that Betty’s high school has digitalized many of their yearbooks. Here are some of the photos that I found. Please let me know if any of these are not Betty so I may remove the photos from the blog!
Betty married Gerald Ladd Anderle.
Betty passed away at the age of 77. This is a link to an obituary: