I have news to pass along. Alexander Drabik, a Toledo-area World War II hero will be inducted posthumously into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame for Valor on April 24, 2015. The induction will occur at the State House Atrium in Columbus.

Sgt. Alexander Drabik

Sgt. Alexander Drabik

Alexander was of Polish descent. His parents were John Drabik and Frances Lewandowska.

Per the information I  have been given from the Holland Springfield Spencer Historical Society:

“Sgt. Alexander Drabik was born December 28, 1910 in a log cabin on Wolfinger Road to John Drabik and Florence V. Lewandowski. He attended Dorr Street School, in Springfield Township, and lived most of his live in Holland, Ohio on Dorr Street. He married Margaret Feeney, May 14, 1954 in Angola, Indiana. They had one daughter, Rita.

Sgt. Drabik entered the US Army in 1942, and was sent to Germany where he would make the decision that would propel him into the spotlight, something he was not used to. He was a tall, lanky, quiet, simple, shy man. In charge of a nine man unit, Co. A 27th Armored Infantry Batallion, 9th Armored Division, Sgt. Drabik at age 35  years old, was the first soldier to cross the Ludendorff Railroad Bridge, crossing the Rhine River on March 7, 1945. With no thought to his own life, he turned to his men and shouted: ‘OK, who is going with me? I’m crossing the bridge!’ Under heavy fire, they ran for their lives to the other side of the bridge, which was to be blown up in ten minutes.”

Sgt. Drabik was nominated to be inducted to the Ohio Military Hall of Fame by the Holland Springfield Spencer Historical Society for his valor. Crossing the Ludendorff Railroad Bridge, he led10 riflemen across the bridge, surprising Germans that they forgot to blow up the bridge. For this, he received the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism.

As the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Gen. Eisenhower said the capture of the bridge shortened the war by six months and possibly saved as many as 50,000 Allied lives. When Eisenhower became president, he invited Drabik and the 10 riflemen to the White House and told them he was forming the Society of the Remagen Bridgehead.

Drabik received a tribute in the Congressional Record in 1993 and was a commander of the now defunct Turanski-Van Glahn VFW Post 7372. There is now an Ohio Historical Marker located on Wolfinger Road where he was born. The marker was installed in 2011.

Drabik died 23 September 1993 and is buried in Resurrection Cemetery.

A few gravestones from Calvary Cemetery again. None of these are directly tied to my family.

John Lawecki, World War I Veteran

John Lawecki, World War I Veteran, Died Aug. 10, 1921, Age 26

John Lawecki’s gravestone transcription:
World War Veteran
Meuse Argonne, Verdun
Army of Occupation
Died Aug. 10, 1921 Age 26

John’s burial record through Calvary reads:
No. 23038
Name: John Lawecki
Residence: 1417 Nebraska
Age: 28
Cause of Death: Thrombosis
Date of Interment: Aug. 13
Grave: 1823
Range or Lot: 12
Section: 3
Undertaker: W.J. Sujkowski

Casimir F. Koralewski 1890 - 1975

Casimir Koralewski 1890 - 1975

Casimir Koralewski’s grave is located here: Grave: S-1/2, Range or Lot: 21, Section 34

Beloved Daughter, Cecelia Lewandowski 1910 - 1911

Beloved Daughter, Cecelia Lewandowski 1910 - 1911

Cecelia Lewandowski’s grave is located here: Grave: 1283, Lot: 21, Section: 28

Celia Mierzejewski Starzynski

Celia Mierzejewski Starzynski

Celia was my father’s sister, the second child born to Wladyslaw and Helena Mierzejewski. Her mother, Helena was an unrelated Mierzejewska when she married Wladyslaw (Walter). Celia was born December 13, 1913 in Gerwaty, Poland.  

Celia immigrated to the US with her parents in 1923, at the age of 9, on the S. S. Frederick VIII sailing from Copehagen on February 8 and arriving in New York on February 20. The manifest notes that Wladyslaw (Walter) and Helena are traveling to Toledo to meet a brother, Jan. Jan is a brother to Helena.The address noted is on Boeckingham; however, this is a misspelling or mistranslation. The street is Buckingham, as there are other documents such as my father’s birth certificate that note this address.  

The 1930 census shows Celia living with her parents and siblings at 622 Woodstock. She and Joe married sometime after 1930.  

Joe was born March 13, 1910 and was baptized the same day in St. Hedwig’s parish as Adam Joseph Starzynski. Joe’s baptismal record is transcribed below: 

No. 50
Name of Person Baptized: Adam Joseph Starzynski
Date and Place of Birth: March 13, 1910
Date of Baptism: March 13, 1910
Father’s Name, Mother’s Maiden Name: Marianus Starzynski, Maria Lewandowski
Sponsors: Ignatius Kiszal, Stanislava Gorska
Priest: L. A. Kuzius (sp?)

His parents were Marion (Maryjan) Starzynski and Mary Lewandowski. Joe was the second of four sons born to Marion and Mary. Somewhere along the way as a child, Joe’s name changed from Adam to Joseph. I always simply knew him as Uncle Joe. The Starzynski family lived on Pearl Street as indicated in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census records.  

Joe and Celia’s marriage produced one child, a daughter named Marcia. They lived at 813 Evesham. My sisters and I knew Celia as “Ciocia.” (Polish for “aunt” or “auntie.”) 

Celia worked at Champion Spark Plugs, as did my father, for many years. Joe worked at Kaiser Jeep, the predecessor to Chrysler Jeep. 

Celia died suddenly at home on December 21, 1978. Her obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on December 23, 1978 and is transcribed below:  

Celia Starzynski  

Mrs. Celia Starzynski, 65, of 813 Evesham Ave., died Thursday in her home. She was an employee of the Champion Spark Plug Co., 35 years, retiring in 1970. Surviving are her husband, Joseph, daughter, Mrs. Marcia Zielinski, and brother Edward Mierzejewski Services will be at 1 p.m. today in St. Hyacinth Church (link takes you to the St. Hyacinth death register record). She was buried in Calvary Cemetery. Her burial record is transcribed below:  

No. 83452
Name: Celia Starzynski
Address: 813 Evesham
Age: 65
Cause of Death: Bureau Vital Statistics
Date of Interment: 12/23/1978
Grave E-Pt
Range or Lot 130
Section 33
Funeral Director: Sujkowski
Remarks: Police Sta.  

(Note: The Police Station remark is made because Celia died just as the Christmas holidays were occurring. The night she passed away, Thursday December 21st, meant there was a difficult decision to be made–either hold the funeral and bury her on the 23rd of December or wait until after the holidays. While her death was due to natural causes, the report of death was held at the local police station until the death certificate could be issued at the Bureau of Vital Statistics. I wanted to make that clear lest anyone think something criminal happened–if you look closely at the burial records, there are a number of burials listed that way. It was simply due to the timing and government bureaucracy closing down for the holidays.) 

Joe passed away April 15, 1989.  His obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on April 17, 1989 and is transcribed below: 

Joe Starzynski

Joe Starzynski

Joseph A. Starzynski 

Joseph A. Starzynski, 79, formerly of Evesham Avenue, died Saturday in Oaks Care Center, Lima, O., where he was a patient four days. He worked 40 years in the trim shop at the former Jeep Corp, retiring in 1969. He was the widower of Celia Starzynski. Surviving are his daughter, Mrs. Marcia Zielinski and three grandchildren. Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Hyacinth Church. The body will be in the Sujkowski Mortuary, Airport Highway, after 2 today, with recitation of the Rosary at 8:30 tonight. 

Joe was buried through St. Hyacinth Parish. (Link takes you to the death record of the parish.) Burial was at Calvary Cemetery and the burial record is transcribed below: 

No. 93224
Name: Joseph A. Starzynski
Residence: Form. 813 Evesham
Age: 79
Cause of death: Prov. Death Cert.
Date of interment: 4/18
Grave: E Pt.
Range or Lot: 130
Section: 33
Funeral director: Sujkowski PP