Remembrances & tributes

John Lasica’s remembrances

From left, Walter Wojcik, Emil Lasica, his mother ("Babci"), John Lasica, George Maciag and his son Gregory, circa 1951.

From left, Walter Wojcik, Emil Lasica, his mother (“Babci”), John Lasica, George Maciag and his son Gregory, circa 1951.

John Lasica died in Port Richey, Fla., on June 30, 2010, at age 91. In his late 80s, he wrote this short bio and remembrance:

My father Wojciech (George) Lasica was born on Oct. 9, 1892, in Galicia, Austria. His parents were Jacob Lasica and Maryann Dul from Spiech, Austria (now Spie, Poland). My father had two sisters. [Actually, he had three sisters and two brothers.] My mother was born on Nov. 3, 1890, in Galicia, Austria. Her parents were Andrew Delenta and Honorato Zak in Kamien, Austria. She had two brothers, Luke and Joseph. Austria was part of Poland and after the war it was taken over by Poland.

My mother came to Warren, Rhode Island, where he brothers lived and met my father there, and at an early age, 21, they were married in Warren, R.I. Shortly they moved to New Jersey, where my father worked in a bakery. After a few years of working, he had enough money and bought a bakery in Garfield, NJ. My sister Violet was born on Sept. 17, 1916, and my sister Jean was born March 21, 1917. I was born on June 23, 1919, and my brother Emil was born on Aug. 14, 1920. My sister Sophie (Tory) was born on July 3, 1926. We were born very close because my father wanted us to be a close family.

I as a young tot remember the streets were like beach sand and the delivery of supplies were made by horse and wagon because the rucks could not drive in the soft sand. I also remember going with my father to make his deliveries and the horse knew when to make his stop at each home and stores. The bakery was named Hilltop bakery because it was on top of a hill. After a few years my father sold his bakery and bought one in Passaic, NJ.

My father had his brother-in-law working for him as a baker. One night Mr. Madanski had a few drinks and was frying donuts when he fell asleep and the oil boiled over and started a fire. My mother took my two sisters out and my father put my brother and me in a big quilt and threw us down to the firemen. Mr. Madanski died in the fire and that as the end of his business. My father kept on working as a baker after that. My mother worked in a handkerchief factory and they saved enough money to buy a house for $7,000. It was a big house with 3 bedrooms on the second floor and a big living room and dining room and kitchen, plus a sun room for plants. My mother didn’t enroll me in school because she wanted my brother and I to go to school together. We had a good life and there was no shortage of food during the Depression. Before winter my father went out and bought a couple bushels of cabbage and would grate it in a 55-gallon barrel, and we had sauerkraut all winter. Any kraut left over the winter went into jars.

My father would go to a banana dealer and buy a big whole stalk of bananas and hung i in the garage for us to help ourselves. My mother’s neighbors in Poland were the Prybysz family, which included Anthony, Joseph, Rudolph and Martin. Anthony lived not too far from us, so when martin came to visit his brother Tony, my mother would ask me to take her by Tony’s house so she could see martin because they were very close in Poland.

Martin had three daughters, Stella, Loddie and Blanche. Loddie was baptized as Ladislava and the teacher’s had a hard time saying it so they changed it to Loddie. It was there at Tony’s house where I met Loddie, and I would travel from my home in NJ to NY City where she lived. After a short courtship, we were married on June 15, 1940.

John M. Lasica was born two years later in October 1942 [his bio says 1941]. I worked in a little supermarket and didn’t have a defense job so I was drafted into the Army on Sept. 1, 1944, and was stationed at Fort Knox, Ky, where I went to the Cooks and bakery school and graduated with a score of 87. I was made a mess sergeant and had six books, and had to make out the supplies and make out the menu. The menu was in our manual, so I didn’t have any worry what to feed the soliders.

I was discharged in July 1946 and went to work at Botany Mills, where they made the yarn for suits, shirts, ties and all wearing apparel. Botany Mills got slow because the USA was importing all the material from other countries. After a few years at Botany, I went to work in a supermarket and worked for the same owner for 32 1/2 years before I retired in 1981 [from A&P].

My son Robert (Bob) was born May 26, 1947, after I came out of the service. My father passed away in 1961, and my mother passed away in 1973. John M. Lasica got married at an early age and had three wonderful children, who we didn’t see much because I worked six and seven days a week and was busy on my little time I had. They lived in Connecticut and we lived in NJ.

When Loddie and I got married we lived in a house that had no hot water so we had to put on the gas tank to heat up the water for 17 1/2 years. We bought a house in 1957 in Saddle Book, NJ. We sold our house in 1989 and moved to Florida to the hot weather. A few years later Bob moved down here not far from us so we are able to see him and his companion and he does things for us that I can’t do.


Emil Lasica: Farewell to a family man