05 January 2015

Happy birthday, Gigi

Happy birthday, Gigi! Gigi is what we called my paternal grandfather. Today would have been his 97th birthday.

His name was actually Joseph Ruczhak, tho many in Coatesville called him "Hotdog!" I always knew him as working at Lukens Steel Mill but sometime before that he owned a steak shop/corner grocery store up Rock Run.

He was born 5 January 1918 to Panko and Bessie Matys Hruszczak. He was their second child. He was baptized at the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (now Ukrainian Orthodox) and his Godparents were Sophran Mliczka & Catharine Zywczyn. Unfortunately, I know nothing of his Godparents.

He went to the Rock Run School, which is where he actually met Baba (Anna Kurenda). Years later, on 16 July 1939 to be exact, the two finally married.

Throughout his life he worked for Bethlehem Railroad, as a bartender, owned a steak shop/grocery store, and worked at Lukens Steel Mill as a grinder. He told me once that he had intended to work for the Railroad, unlike his father who worked at the Mill. Then one day he say someone get run hit by a train and literally split in half. At that point, he decided to find other employment!

He was active in the church, having held many positions throughout the years.

He loved golf. He was really good at it too. He played for Lukens Golf League and was among its championship team. He liked traditional golf and miniature golf. I remember staying at my grandparents at various times and he was always excited to go Ingleside. I don't think it's been there for years. It was a driving range, if memory serves right.

He passed 18 August 1997. He is buried - alongside Baba - at the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery in Valley Township, Chester County. Vichnaya Pamyat!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.