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Navigating Life

Navigating Life

The Biography of William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern

The Biography of William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern


Navigating Life

Navigating Life

The Biography of William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern

The Biography of William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern


Navigating Life

Navigating Life

The Biography of William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern

The Biography of William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern

Š 2009 William Raymond Kevern, Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern and Sheridan Hill Sheridan Hill, Author

Š 2009 William Raymond Kevern, Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern and Sheridan Hill Sheridan Hill, Author

Memoir Published by Live A Little Books, LLC PO Box 914 Black Mountain, NC 28711 828 669 6588 www.livealittlebooks.com

Memoir Published by Live A Little Books, LLC PO Box 914 Black Mountain, NC 28711 828 669 6588 www.livealittlebooks.com

All rights reserved.

All rights reserved.


! CONTENTS" Dedication One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Appendices

........................................................................................ VI Bill’s Ancestors Sail From Europe to Michigan ..................... 1 Keverns Come From Cornwall ........................................... 1 Holmgrens and Klosdotters Arrive from Sweden ............... 2 Life In Bessemer in the Early 1900s ................................... 3 Carlsons Come From Scandinavia ...................................... 5 Herald and Eva ................................................................. 12 Lou’s Ancestors Immigrate to Northern Ohio ...................... 15 The Hungarian Emigration .............................................. 15 Lajos and Mary Meet in Cleveland .................................. 20 The Danyis ....................................................................... 22 The Kozonics Move to Southside Lorain ......................... 25 Lorain in the Early 1900s ................................................... 27 A Hungarian-American Family........................................ 27 The Keverns in Eastside ................................................... 31 Idyllic Childhoods ............................................................ 36 Coming of Age ................................................................... 43 Working in Lorain ............................................................ 43 Number 21103 .................................................................. 46 Bill and Boats ................................................................... 48 World War II Emerges ..................................................... 51 Starting Out ....................................................................... 59 A Mixed Marriage ............................................................ 60 Newlyweds in Ada ............................................................ 64 Home to Northern Ohio .................................................. 69 Syracuse ............................................................................ 72 Winning the Race............................................................. 74 The Sixties in the South ...................................................... 81 Capri Circle ...................................................................... 84 Dancing in Dixie .............................................................. 88 Tim’s Love of Flying ........................................................ 91 Soaring in Arizona ............................................................. 97 A Move to Remember ...................................................... 97 Motorcycle Mama ............................................................ 99 Like Father, Like Son ......................................................101 Nan and Kevin .................................................................106 Tim and Linda ................................................................108 Outdoor Fun ....................................................................114 The New Millennium and Beyond ..................................119 Home to Hungary ...........................................................120 Pleasure Cruises ...............................................................124 Family Changes ...............................................................126 Bill and Boats, the Last Chapter .....................................129 The Last Hurrah .............................................................131 Kevern Family Genealogy ................................................ 137 Kozonics Family Genealogy .............................................. 153 Bill’s Lists and Notes ......................................................... 160 Chapter Notes and Sources .............................................. 163

! CONTENTS" Dedication One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Appendices

........................................................................................ VI Bill’s Ancestors Sail From Europe to Michigan ..................... 1 Keverns Come From Cornwall ........................................... 1 Holmgrens and Klosdotters Arrive from Sweden ............... 2 Life In Bessemer in the Early 1900s ................................... 3 Carlsons Come From Scandinavia ...................................... 5 Herald and Eva ................................................................. 12 Lou’s Ancestors Immigrate to Northern Ohio ...................... 15 The Hungarian Emigration .............................................. 15 Lajos and Mary Meet in Cleveland .................................. 20 The Danyis ....................................................................... 22 The Kozonics Move to Southside Lorain ......................... 25 Lorain in the Early 1900s ................................................... 27 A Hungarian-American Family........................................ 27 The Keverns in Eastside ................................................... 31 Idyllic Childhoods ............................................................ 36 Coming of Age ................................................................... 43 Working in Lorain ............................................................ 43 Number 21103 .................................................................. 46 Bill and Boats ................................................................... 48 World War II Emerges ..................................................... 51 Starting Out ....................................................................... 59 A Mixed Marriage ............................................................ 60 Newlyweds in Ada ............................................................ 64 Home to Northern Ohio .................................................. 69 Syracuse ............................................................................ 72 Winning the Race............................................................. 74 The Sixties in the South ...................................................... 81 Capri Circle ...................................................................... 84 Dancing in Dixie .............................................................. 88 Tim’s Love of Flying ........................................................ 91 Soaring in Arizona ............................................................. 97 A Move to Remember ...................................................... 97 Motorcycle Mama ............................................................ 99 Like Father, Like Son ......................................................101 Nan and Kevin .................................................................106 Tim and Linda ................................................................108 Outdoor Fun ....................................................................114 The New Millennium and Beyond ..................................119 Home to Hungary ...........................................................120 Pleasure Cruises ...............................................................124 Family Changes ...............................................................126 Bill and Boats, the Last Chapter .....................................129 The Last Hurrah .............................................................131 Kevern Family Genealogy ................................................ 137 Kozonics Family Genealogy .............................................. 153 Bill’s Lists and Notes ......................................................... 160 Chapter Notes and Sources .............................................. 163


Dedication

Dedication

We dedicate this biography to our family members, those we know and those to come in the future. When studying the history of the war of 1812, remember that your grandparents slept in their sailboat in the same bay used by Oliver Hazzard Perry and raced in the same waters off of Rattlesnake Island, where the final battle of Lake Erie was fought. By 1947, the biggest gun in use was the starter cannon for our sailboat race. I didn’t win the race—but I didn’t give up the ship, either.

We dedicate this biography to our family members, those we know and those to come in the future. When studying the history of the war of 1812, remember that your grandparents slept in their sailboat in the same bay used by Oliver Hazzard Perry and raced in the same waters off of Rattlesnake Island, where the final battle of Lake Erie was fought. By 1947, the biggest gun in use was the starter cannon for our sailboat race. I didn’t win the race—but I didn’t give up the ship, either.

—Bill and Lou Kevern

VI

—Bill and Lou Kevern

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The path of Bill’s and Lou’s ancestors to the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The path of Bill’s and Lou’s ancestors to the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Water. Our story begins with water.

Water. Our story begins with water.

Today, William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern—Bill and Lou, enjoy a comfortable home above a historic village in the Arizona desert. But how did they get there? First, their ancestors sailed the North Atlantic. If there had never been a battle at Put-in Bay, or if the colonists had lost that battle, Bill and Lou’s European ancestors might never have met. They might never have settled in Lorain, where the Black River runs twelve miles through northern Ohio, gaining in strength as it collects from an expansive watershed, finally pouring north into Lake Erie. After the Battle of Put-In-Bay, European settlers streamed into Ohio and Michigan. Among the English immigrants to those two states were dozens of ancestral family members of both Bill and Lou Kevern. They were from Sweden, England, Finland, and Hungary. Their journey from the old country to the Northern United States required determination, patience, and a good sense of direction—qualities that have endured in them and in their fortunate descendants.

Today, William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern—Bill and Lou, enjoy a comfortable home above a historic village in the Arizona desert. But how did they get there? First, their ancestors sailed the North Atlantic. If there had never been a battle at Put-in Bay, or if the colonists had lost that battle, Bill and Lou’s European ancestors might never have met. They might never have settled in Lorain, where the Black River runs twelve miles through northern Ohio, gaining in strength as it collects from an expansive watershed, finally pouring north into Lake Erie. After the Battle of Put-In-Bay, European settlers streamed into Ohio and Michigan. Among the English immigrants to those two states were dozens of ancestral family members of both Bill and Lou Kevern. They were from Sweden, England, Finland, and Hungary. Their journey from the old country to the Northern United States required determination, patience, and a good sense of direction—qualities that have endured in them and in their fortunate descendants.

VII

VII


B I L L’ S A N C E S T O R S S A I L F R O M

EUROPE TO MICHIGAN

B I L L’ S A N C E S T O R S S A I L F R O M

EUROPE TO MICHIGAN

! ONE" Bill’s Ancestors Sail From Europe to Michigan

! ONE" Bill’s Ancestors Sail From Europe to Michigan

Keverns Come From Cornwall

Keverns Come From Cornwall

Iron ore has played a part in the history of both the Kevern and Kozonics family. Bill Kevern’s paternal great-grandparents, James Henry Kevern and Ann Kemp, lived in Redruth, England—the richest metal mining area in Great Britain. Metals were probably mined in Redruth beginning with the Bronze Age, 2000 B.C. To imagine Redruth, picture the Atlantic Ocean lapping the rocky shores of the Cornwall peninsula, with towering granite castles on hills, and of course a beautiful stone church built in the 1200s. Natural deposits of iron, copper, and tin fill this rocky land, and iron mines were operating in Cornwall from the early 1700s. The town was formed along a stream running along Fore Street, and local lore describes the stream as so discolored with iron oxide from mining that it ran red. The Cornish mining industry declined when richer ore deposits were discovered in the New World. Bill’s grandfather, James Henry Kevern II, was born Feb. 28, 1865 in Redruth. We don’t know if the Keverns had more children or not: we only have a record of the one son. We do know that in the late 1880s, when James Henry Kevern II was an adult, they left England and relocated in Bessemer, Michigan. The face of James Henry Kevern II is a striking image in this photograph. The overall impression is one of a gentleman, in part because of his fine clothes but

Iron ore has played a part in the history of both the Kevern and Kozonics family. Bill Kevern’s paternal great-grandparents, James Henry Kevern and Ann Kemp, lived in Redruth, England—the richest metal mining area in Great Britain. Metals were probably mined in Redruth beginning with the Bronze Age, 2000 B.C. To imagine Redruth, picture the Atlantic Ocean lapping the rocky shores of the Cornwall peninsula, with towering granite castles on hills, and of course a beautiful stone church built in the 1200s. Natural deposits of iron, copper, and tin fill this rocky land, and iron mines were operating in Cornwall from the early 1700s. The town was formed along a stream running along Fore Street, and local lore describes the stream as so discolored with iron oxide from mining that it ran red. The Cornish mining industry declined when richer ore deposits were discovered in the New World. Bill’s grandfather, James Henry Kevern II, was born Feb. 28, 1865 in Redruth. We don’t know if the Keverns had more children or not: we only have a record of the one son. We do know that in the late 1880s, when James Henry Kevern II was an adult, they left England and relocated in Bessemer, Michigan. The face of James Henry Kevern II is a striking image in this photograph. The overall impression is one of a gentleman, in part because of his fine clothes but

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

more because of the ambiance about him. A strong jaw line anchors his face below a set of eyes that bear a steady air of determination. His shoulders are squared but relaxed, his crisp, white collar stands high around his neck and is open at the throat in a neat “V.” Another prominent feature is the shock of hair arising from his forehead, which makes a prominent peak pointing towards a strong nose. The small mountain of hair crowning the face is a dominant characteristic in Kevern men for five generations, as of this writing. Kevern’s wife, Mary Ann Humble (b. 1869), looks out from her photograph with deep-set saucer-sized eyes. A diminutive woman, she was under five feet tall. Mary Ann was only four years younger than her husband, but there The diminutive Mary Ann Humble Kevern, is enormous innocence about her gentle wife of James Henry Kevern II, in the 1920s. face there above a high-necked, Victorian lace dress. Her hair is quite curly and pulled back tight and done up in a bun. Although we have very little information on Mary Ann Humble (except that she was a diabetic) we do know that her father, John Humble, was born about 1842 in Bessemer, Michigan, and that his parents were born in England, according to the 1920 U.S. Census.

more because of the ambiance about him. A strong jaw line anchors his face below a set of eyes that bear a steady air of determination. His shoulders are squared but relaxed, his crisp, white collar stands high around his neck and is open at the throat in a neat “V.” Another prominent feature is the shock of hair arising from his forehead, which makes a prominent peak pointing towards a strong nose. The small mountain of hair crowning the face is a dominant characteristic in Kevern men for five generations, as of this writing. Kevern’s wife, Mary Ann Humble (b. 1869), looks out from her photograph with deep-set saucer-sized eyes. A diminutive woman, she was under five feet tall. Mary Ann was only four years younger than her husband, but there The diminutive Mary Ann Humble Kevern, is enormous innocence about her gentle wife of James Henry Kevern II, in the 1920s. face there above a high-necked, Victorian lace dress. Her hair is quite curly and pulled back tight and done up in a bun. Although we have very little information on Mary Ann Humble (except that she was a diabetic) we do know that her father, John Humble, was born about 1842 in Bessemer, Michigan, and that his parents were born in England, according to the 1920 U.S. Census.

Holmgrens and Klosdotters Arrive From Sweden

Holmgrens and Klosdotters Arrive From Sweden

The Swedish government had sent explorers as early as 1638 to establish a colony in the new country, and a small Swedish establishment soon began in Delaware Bay, named Christina, after their queen. The emigration wave that brought Bill Kevern’s Swedish ancestors was no doubt the result of a succession of failed crops in the mid-1800s, sending farmers and laborers out in search of a better life. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa all had Swedish colonies ranging from 500 to more than 1800 people. Ships from Sweden routinely carried iron ore to New York and offered passage for about twelve dollars. The trip from Sweden would have taken about seven weeks

The Swedish government had sent explorers as early as 1638 to establish a colony in the new country, and a small Swedish establishment soon began in Delaware Bay, named Christina, after their queen. The emigration wave that brought Bill Kevern’s Swedish ancestors was no doubt the result of a succession of failed crops in the mid-1800s, sending farmers and laborers out in search of a better life. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa all had Swedish colonies ranging from 500 to more than 1800 people. Ships from Sweden routinely carried iron ore to New York and offered passage for about twelve dollars. The trip from Sweden would have taken about seven weeks

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B I L L’ S A N C E S T O R S S A I L F R O M

EUROPE TO MICHIGAN

B I L L’ S A N C E S T O R S S A I L F R O M

EUROPE TO MICHIGAN

in crowded, unsanitary conditions, usually with shortages of food and drinking water: many did not survive the voyage. When they arrived, most of them became farmers, and soon also landowners. An estimated four thousand Swedes fought in the Civil War—as Union soldiers. Among the Swedish immigrants to Bessemer in the late 1800s were Bill Kevern’s maternal ancestors. His greatgrandfather, Johan Erik Holmgren (1840-1891), was a shoemaker born in Kolback, a small city in the Vastmanland Province, west of Stockholm. Johan Erik’s wife, Karolina Klason (18361914), was from Lindesbergs parish, Orebro County, also in the Vastmanland Province. Johan Erik ( John Eric) Holmgren and Karolina Klason / Klasdotter immigrated to America and settled in Bessemer. Their daughter, Hilma Sofia Holmgren, is Bill Kevern’s maternal grandmother. Hilma was born in the spring of 1868 in the city of Lund, in the southwestern tip of Sweden, just across the Baltic Sea from Denmark. Hilma’s Swedish mother, Karolina Klason Klasdotter Holmgren, about 1880. Hilma entered Ellis Island via Bremen at the age of 19 in 1887, joined her parents, and soon met the man she would marry, John Ludwig Carlson.

in crowded, unsanitary conditions, usually with shortages of food and drinking water: many did not survive the voyage. When they arrived, most of them became farmers, and soon also landowners. An estimated four thousand Swedes fought in the Civil War—as Union soldiers. Among the Swedish immigrants to Bessemer in the late 1800s were Bill Kevern’s maternal ancestors. His greatgrandfather, Johan Erik Holmgren (1840-1891), was a shoemaker born in Kolback, a small city in the Vastmanland Province, west of Stockholm. Johan Erik’s wife, Karolina Klason (18361914), was from Lindesbergs parish, Orebro County, also in the Vastmanland Province. Johan Erik ( John Eric) Holmgren and Karolina Klason / Klasdotter immigrated to America and settled in Bessemer. Their daughter, Hilma Sofia Holmgren, is Bill Kevern’s maternal grandmother. Hilma was born in the spring of 1868 in the city of Lund, in the southwestern tip of Sweden, just across the Baltic Sea from Denmark. Hilma’s Swedish mother, Karolina Klason Klasdotter Holmgren, about 1880. Hilma entered Ellis Island via Bremen at the age of 19 in 1887, joined her parents, and soon met the man she would marry, John Ludwig Carlson.

Life In Bessemer in the Early 1900s

Life In Bessemer in the Early 1900s

Bill Kevern’s ancestors may have worked the mines in England and come to Bessemer because of the massive Colby mine a mile away. The Colby possesses the largest iron ore deposit yet found in the Gogebic Range, running two hundred fifty feet wide. By the late 1900s, six hundred thousand tons of ore had been extracted from the Colby, with no end in sight. When James Henry and Mary Ann Kevern found each other in America in the late 1800s, England’s industrial revolution was fully established, as were its universities, authors, scientists and scholars. The new country, particularly the Southeast, had

Bill Kevern’s ancestors may have worked the mines in England and come to Bessemer because of the massive Colby mine a mile away. The Colby possesses the largest iron ore deposit yet found in the Gogebic Range, running two hundred fifty feet wide. By the late 1900s, six hundred thousand tons of ore had been extracted from the Colby, with no end in sight. When James Henry and Mary Ann Kevern found each other in America in the late 1800s, England’s industrial revolution was fully established, as were its universities, authors, scientists and scholars. The new country, particularly the Southeast, had

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

Bessemer power plant, where James Henry Kevern II worked from the late 1880s until about 1910.

Bessemer power plant, where James Henry Kevern II worked from the late 1880s until about 1910.

barely recovered from a brutal, bloody, devastating Civil War. While Michigan had been far removed from the fighting, it supplied more than 90,000 men and several generals, including George Armstrong Custer. Bessemer’s electorate approved an electrical light system for the city in 1888, and the Bessemer City Light Plant was built on Mine Street that year. James Henry Kevern II began working at the Bessemer power plant about that time, and managed it for perhaps as many as a dozen years. In 1909, he was credited with installing 50 new lights on poles in town. James Henry and Mary Ann Kevern had a daughter, Peryl, in about 1898, probably in Bessemer. Their first son, Harold John Kevern (Bill’s father), was born in 1901 in Bessemer and was known as Harold. The second and last son, James Henry James Henry Kevern II, baby Harold, Peryl Kevern III, was born in about 1903, and Mary Ann Humble Kevern.

barely recovered from a brutal, bloody, devastating Civil War. While Michigan had been far removed from the fighting, it supplied more than 90,000 men and several generals, including George Armstrong Custer. Bessemer’s electorate approved an electrical light system for the city in 1888, and the Bessemer City Light Plant was built on Mine Street that year. James Henry Kevern II began working at the Bessemer power plant about that time, and managed it for perhaps as many as a dozen years. In 1909, he was credited with installing 50 new lights on poles in town. James Henry and Mary Ann Kevern had a daughter, Peryl, in about 1898, probably in Bessemer. Their first son, Harold John Kevern (Bill’s father), was born in 1901 in Bessemer and was known as Harold. The second and last son, James Henry James Henry Kevern II, baby Harold, Peryl Kevern III, was born in about 1903, and Mary Ann Humble Kevern.

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James Henry III, Peryl and Harold pose for a photograph, about 1912.

EUROPE TO MICHIGAN

Harold Kevern (Bill’s father) as a youngster.

B I L L’ S A N C E S T O R S S A I L F R O M

James Henry III, Peryl and Harold pose for a photograph, about 1912.

probably in Bessemer. He married a woman whose first name was Rhoda, and their daughter, Betty, was born in 1939 in Bessemer. Later the family settled in Lorain. Bill Kevern can recall visiting Granma Kevern (Mary Ann) on the second floor of their Bessemer home, and seeing her give herself insulin shots in her leg. A few years before James Kevern’s death in 1916, his son, Harold, began working for the power company as a lineman—at the age of 14.

Carlsons Come From Scandinavia

The Humble and Kevern families had already been in Bessemer for at least sixty years when the Carlsons arrived. John Ludwig Carlson was one of Bessemer’s Finnish emigrants, the fifth of nine children born to Gustaf Carlson and Louise Johnson. A portrait of John Carlson’s mother, Louise Johnson, shows a white-haired elderly woman sitting erect in dark clothes: a highcollared crepe blouse adorned at the throat with

The Humble and Kevern families had already been in Bessemer for at least sixty years when the Carlsons arrived. John Ludwig Carlson was one of Bessemer’s Finnish emigrants, the fifth of nine children born to Gustaf Carlson and Louise Johnson. A portrait of John Carlson’s mother, Louise Johnson, shows a white-haired elderly woman sitting erect in dark clothes: a highcollared crepe blouse adorned at the throat with

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Harold Kevern (Bill’s father) as a youngster.

probably in Bessemer. He married a woman whose first name was Rhoda, and their daughter, Betty, was born in 1939 in Bessemer. Later the family settled in Lorain. Bill Kevern can recall visiting Granma Kevern (Mary Ann) on the second floor of their Bessemer home, and seeing her give herself insulin shots in her leg. A few years before James Kevern’s death in 1916, his son, Harold, began working for the power company as a lineman—at the age of 14.

Carlsons Come From Scandinavia

Louise Johnson, John Carlson’s mother.

EUROPE TO MICHIGAN

Louise Johnson, John Carlson’s mother.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

a rectangular broach. She wears a tailored long-sleeved dress. Her dark hair is pulled back tight, probably in a bun, emphasizing large, deep-set eyes. Her hands are large, the kind of hands that are able to make or mend just about anything a family of eleven would need. We do not have a photograph of John Ludwig’s father, Gustaf, who was born in 1818. John Carlson and Hilma’s wedding portrait shows a couple decked out in the best clothes they have, even though they are not precisely wedding garments. She stands a few inches shorter than her groom, her hand resting lightly on his shoulder. Hilma’s dark, tight-fitting bodice reveals her hour-glass figure, and is high-necked with puffed sleeves. The skirt is also dark, with wide pleats. Her veil and headpiece are white. John’s hand holds his pocket watch, dangling from inside a three-button jacket that sports a long tail and an open-cut front. Over their hearts, they both wear sprigs of the same flower. We do not know where or when John and Hilma married, but their eight daughters were born in Ironwood: Ruth (1892), Agnes (1893), Cora (1894), Myra (1896), Ethel (1897), Beatrice (1899), Eva (1901), and Esther (1905). Only once did they have a boy, and he died very soon after his birth. We find the Carlsons, John and Hilma (her name spelled “Helma,” which is probably how they pronounced it to the Census-taker), living on Longyear Street in Bessemer in 1910. Longyear was not far from the Black River, a favorite picnic area. For a dollar, one could take a special train to Lake Gogebic, enjoy a picnic and a steamboat ride on the lake. A little ways down Longyear Street was the sizeable Bessemer opera house, which also housed a movie theatre, roller-skating rink, basketball court and social center. About one block down was Mary Street, which offered a dozen saloons and was the scene of many parades. Hilma and John Carlson raised their eight daughters in Bessemer, in a large wood frame home in a valley. Rising in the distance behind the house was the Bessemer Bluff. Another set of cliffs in the area was referred to as Carlson’s Bluff. Bessemer had cement sidewalks and had

a rectangular broach. She wears a tailored long-sleeved dress. Her dark hair is pulled back tight, probably in a bun, emphasizing large, deep-set eyes. Her hands are large, the kind of hands that are able to make or mend just about anything a family of eleven would need. We do not have a photograph of John Ludwig’s father, Gustaf, who was born in 1818. John Carlson and Hilma’s wedding portrait shows a couple decked out in the best clothes they have, even though they are not precisely wedding garments. She stands a few inches shorter than her groom, her hand resting lightly on his shoulder. Hilma’s dark, tight-fitting bodice reveals her hour-glass figure, and is high-necked with puffed sleeves. The skirt is also dark, with wide pleats. Her veil and headpiece are white. John’s hand holds his pocket watch, dangling from inside a three-button jacket that sports a long tail and an open-cut front. Over their hearts, they both wear sprigs of the same flower. We do not know where or when John and Hilma married, but their eight daughters were born in Ironwood: Ruth (1892), Agnes (1893), Cora (1894), Myra (1896), Ethel (1897), Beatrice (1899), Eva (1901), and Esther (1905). Only once did they have a boy, and he died very soon after his birth. We find the Carlsons, John and Hilma (her name spelled “Helma,” which is probably how they pronounced it to the Census-taker), living on Longyear Street in Bessemer in 1910. Longyear was not far from the Black River, a favorite picnic area. For a dollar, one could take a special train to Lake Gogebic, enjoy a picnic and a steamboat ride on the lake. A little ways down Longyear Street was the sizeable Bessemer opera house, which also housed a movie theatre, roller-skating rink, basketball court and social center. About one block down was Mary Street, which offered a dozen saloons and was the scene of many parades. Hilma and John Carlson raised their eight daughters in Bessemer, in a large wood frame home in a valley. Rising in the distance behind the house was the Bessemer Bluff. Another set of cliffs in the area was referred to as Carlson’s Bluff. Bessemer had cement sidewalks and had

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Young John Ludwig Carlson, Bill’s grandfather, in his Finnish-style clothing about 1880.

Young John Ludwig Carlson, Bill’s grandfather, in his Finnish-style clothing about 1880.


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John Carlson and his bride, Hilma Sophia Holmgren, about 1890.

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John Carlson and his bride, Hilma Sophia Holmgren, about 1890.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

The first five Carlson girls (left to right): Myra, Ethel, Agnes, Ruth, and Cora sitting in the lower right.

The first five Carlson girls (left to right): Myra, Ethel, Agnes, Ruth, and Cora sitting in the lower right.

outlawed spitting tobacco on them, as well as walking cows on the streets. There was a Swedish neighborhood, a Finnish church and a Finnish bank, a German park, and a Chinese laundry. Four agents for the King of Sweden had recently been in town inquiring as to why the people had left their homeland. Mining had already become a main industry, and the town had recently survived a smallpox epidemic and the deadly yellow fever.

outlawed spitting tobacco on them, as well as walking cows on the streets. There was a Swedish neighborhood, a Finnish church and a Finnish bank, a German park, and a Chinese laundry. Four agents for the King of Sweden had recently been in town inquiring as to why the people had left their homeland. Mining had already become a main industry, and the town had recently survived a smallpox epidemic and the deadly yellow fever.

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B I L L’ S A N C E S T O R S S A I L F R O M

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Bessemer historian Dennis Rolando said that John Carlson was the turnkey for the Gogibic County Jail. “He was in charge of lockup: he let people in and out of jail,” Rolando explained. The original jail that Carlson worked in was built in 1880 and torn down in 1960. Carlson would have worked for Sheriff Johnny Johnson. In 1910, John and Hilma Carlson’s oldest children, Ruth, 18, and Agnes, 16, worked as telephone operators for Bell Telephone Company, which had about 150 subscribers. Agnes eventually went to nursing school and became director of student nurses at Augustana Hospital in Chicago. John Carlson died in 1925 at the age of 67. Benevolence records for Sharon Lutheran Church in 1929 show the weekly tithings of Mrs. John (Helma) Carlson and her daughter, Esther, who was a teacher. Despite the financial hardships of the Great Depression, the widow and her spinster daughter faithfully gave fifteen or twenty cents each week. Apparently, Hilma moved in with her parents a few years after her husband’s death, because the 1930 Census shows her living with her parents, 150 miles east of Bessemer in Escanaba, Michigan (on Lake Michigan). Bill also has vivid memories of his maternal grandmother. “In the mid-1930s, I remember Granma walking up the street carrying a little suitcase after traveling thirty miles on the electric railway from Cleveland to Lorain. When Hilma was 72, she slipped on ice and broke her hip. After that, walking was difficult, but she

Bessemer historian Dennis Rolando said that John Carlson was the turnkey for the Gogibic County Jail. “He was in charge of lockup: he let people in and out of jail,” Rolando explained. The original jail that Carlson worked in was built in 1880 and torn down in 1960. Carlson would have worked for Sheriff Johnny Johnson. In 1910, John and Hilma Carlson’s oldest children, Ruth, 18, and Agnes, 16, worked as telephone operators for Bell Telephone Company, which had about 150 subscribers. Agnes eventually went to nursing school and became director of student nurses at Augustana Hospital in Chicago. John Carlson died in 1925 at the age of 67. Benevolence records for Sharon Lutheran Church in 1929 show the weekly tithings of Mrs. John (Helma) Carlson and her daughter, Esther, who was a teacher. Despite the financial hardships of the Great Depression, the widow and her spinster daughter faithfully gave fifteen or twenty cents each week. Apparently, Hilma moved in with her parents a few years after her husband’s death, because the 1930 Census shows her living with her parents, 150 miles east of Bessemer in Escanaba, Michigan (on Lake Michigan). Bill also has vivid memories of his maternal grandmother. “In the mid-1930s, I remember Granma walking up the street carrying a little suitcase after traveling thirty miles on the electric railway from Cleveland to Lorain. When Hilma was 72, she slipped on ice and broke her hip. After that, walking was difficult, but she

Sophie Street in Bessemer, Michigan, 1938, at the dedication of the town hall and fire station at the far end of the street. “That’s where I first slid down a fire pole,” Bill said.

Sophie Street in Bessemer, Michigan, 1938, at the dedication of the town hall and fire station at the far end of the street. “That’s where I first slid down a fire pole,” Bill said.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

All eight beautiful Carlson daughters (left to right) Esther “Susie” (1905); Beatrice (1899); Myra (1896); Ruth (1892); Agnes (1894); Cora (1895); Ethel (1898); Eva (1901).

All eight beautiful Carlson daughters (left to right) Esther “Susie” (1905); Beatrice (1899); Myra (1896); Ruth (1892); Agnes (1894); Cora (1895); Ethel (1898); Eva (1901).

Carlson family in 1900 Census

Carlson family in 1900 Census

Gathered for a family sitting, the Carlson family. Back row: Beatrice, Cora, Ruth, Agnes, Ethel, Myra. Seated in front: Hilma, Eva, Esther, John.

Gathered for a family sitting, the Carlson family. Back row: Beatrice, Cora, Ruth, Agnes, Ethel, Myra. Seated in front: Hilma, Eva, Esther, John.

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always found a friend or relative who owned a car and was headed in the direction she wanted to go next. With seven living college-educated daughters, she kept going where the action was!” Hilma outlived her husband by thirty-five years, passing away in 1960 at the age of 93.

Harold and Eva Bill’s mother, Eva Carlson, was born in Ironwood, Michigan— five miles west of Bessemer, where Harold John Kevern was born. We don’t know how Harold and Eva met, but they may have graduated from the same high school in Bessesmer and probably would have seen each other in the Bessemer area. Harold and Eva were coming of age during the First World War, 1914-1918. After finishing high school in Bessemer, Eva attended Northern Normal

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always found a friend or relative who owned a car and was headed in the direction she wanted to go next. With seven living college-educated daughters, she kept going where the action was!” Hilma outlived her husband by thirty-five years, passing away in 1960 at the age of 93. The Gogebic County Jail in Bessemer, Michigan, where John Carlson was the jailer.

Harold and Eva Bill’s mother, Eva Carlson, was born in Ironwood, Michigan— five miles west of Bessemer, where Harold John Kevern was born. We don’t know how Harold and Eva met, but they may have graduated from the same high school in Bessesmer and probably would have seen each other in the Bessemer area. Harold and Eva were coming of age during the First World War, 1914-1918. After finishing high school in Bessemer, Eva attended Northern Normal

The Carlson home in Bessemer, Michigan, about 1905.

The Carlson home in Bessemer, 1912, with the bluffs visible in the distance. “We climbed those bluffs as kids, and later on with our own kids,” Bill said.

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The Gogebic County Jail in Bessemer, Michigan, where John Carlson was the jailer.

The Carlson home in Bessemer, Michigan, about 1905.

The Carlson home in Bessemer, 1912, with the bluffs visible in the distance. “We climbed those bluffs as kids, and later on with our own kids,” Bill said.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

School on Lake Superior from about 1918-1920. So-called normal schools were created to teach high school graduates to be teachers, establishing standards and norms that were virtually nonexistent at the time. The 1920 yearbook for Northern Normal lists the names of the graduating class: 68 women and ten men. That small school in Marquette is today Northern Michigan University. Harold and Eva married in Bessemer in 1920, possibly after Eva graduated from Northern Normal School. Their first child was born the following spring. They named the boy John Harold (an inversion of Harold’s Elizabeth Ann Kemp Kevern, outside the Kevern name) and called him John. Sometime home in Ironwood, Michigan. in the next few years, Harold and Eva moved to Ohio, where their second and last child was born. John was six years old when his brother, William Raymond—Bill, was born on February 23, 1927. The family lived in a house at 317 Alexander Avenue in Lorain, Ohio. And that is where the next part of our story begins.

School on Lake Superior from about 1918-1920. So-called normal schools were created to teach high school graduates to be teachers, establishing standards and norms that were virtually nonexistent at the time. The 1920 yearbook for Northern Normal lists the names of the graduating class: 68 women and ten men. That small school in Marquette is today Northern Michigan University. Harold and Eva married in Bessemer in 1920, possibly after Eva graduated from Northern Normal School. Their first child was born the following spring. They named the boy John Harold (an inversion of Harold’s Elizabeth Ann Kemp Kevern, outside the Kevern name) and called him John. Sometime home in Ironwood, Michigan. in the next few years, Harold and Eva moved to Ohio, where their second and last child was born. John was six years old when his brother, William Raymond—Bill, was born on February 23, 1927. The family lived in a house at 317 Alexander Avenue in Lorain, Ohio. And that is where the next part of our story begins.

The Kevern kids, Harold, James Henry III, and Peryl, with Elizabeth Kevern in about 1905.

The Kevern kids, Harold, James Henry III, and Peryl, with Elizabeth Kevern in about 1905.

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At home in Ironwood, the English-born James Henry Kevern and his wife, Elizabeth Ann. Their birthdates are unknown but Kevern may have immigrated in about 1850.

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At home in Ironwood, the English-born James Henry Kevern and his wife, Elizabeth Ann. Their birthdates are unknown but Kevern may have immigrated in about 1850.


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James Henry Kevern I, III, and II.

Englishman James Henry Kevern I, born in about 1840.

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James Henry Kevern I, III, and II.

Englishman James Henry Kevern I, born in about 1840.

Mary Ann (b. 1869) and James Henry Kevern II (1865-1916) in the early 1900s.

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Mary Ann (b. 1869) and James Henry Kevern II (1865-1916) in the early 1900s.

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The Lou Kozonics family in 1921: Magdeline, Mary, Lillian, Louis.

The Lou Kozonics family in 1921: Magdeline, Mary, Lillian, Louis.


L O U ’ S A N C E S T O R S I M M I G R AT E T O N O R T H E R N O H I O

L O U ’ S A N C E S T O R S I M M I G R AT E T O N O R T H E R N O H I O

! TWO" Lou’s Ancestors Immigrate to Northern Ohio

! TWO" Lou’s Ancestors Immigrate to Northern Ohio

The Hungarian Emigration

The Hungarian Emigration

As early as the 1500s, Hungarians were arriving in Canada and filtering down to the northern United States. The U. S. military gladly accepted Hungarians into its ranks during the American Revolution, and they proved themselves battle-worthy time and again. U.S. sympathy for Hungarians increased after they lost their War of Independence of 1848-49 and their revolutionary leader, Lajos Kossuth, toured the U.S., garnering support. The U.S. sent an American warship to Turkey to safely fetch Kossuth and his followers. During his six-month stay in 1851-52, Kossoth visited sixty cities and towns, giving speeches and asking for support against Hapsburg domination. Hungary’s struggle against Austria was seen as similar to the U.S. war against England, and the U.S. government officially recognized the Hungarian Revolutionary Government. Thus began what is called the Kossuth Emigration. Many were politicians, educators, diplomats and high-ranking army officers who served meritoriously in the War of 1848. Of approximately 4,000 Hungarian immigrants who were in the United States at the time of the Civil War, 800 served in the Union Army, the highest Hungarian immigrants in 1905, Lou’s mother, Mary, rate of participation of any other ethnic is the girl in the middle with a stunned look on her face. Mary’s brother, John, is by her side. The group in America. One of them, Major

As early as the 1500s, Hungarians were arriving in Canada and filtering down to the northern United States. The U. S. military gladly accepted Hungarians into its ranks during the American Revolution, and they proved themselves battle-worthy time and again. U.S. sympathy for Hungarians increased after they lost their War of Independence of 1848-49 and their revolutionary leader, Lajos Kossuth, toured the U.S., garnering support. The U.S. sent an American warship to Turkey to safely fetch Kossuth and his followers. During his six-month stay in 1851-52, Kossoth visited sixty cities and towns, giving speeches and asking for support against Hapsburg domination. Hungary’s struggle against Austria was seen as similar to the U.S. war against England, and the U.S. government officially recognized the Hungarian Revolutionary Government. Thus began what is called the Kossuth Emigration. Many were politicians, educators, diplomats and high-ranking army officers who served meritoriously in the War of 1848. Of approximately 4,000 Hungarian immigrants who were in the United States at the time of the Civil War, 800 served in the Union Army, the highest Hungarian immigrants in 1905, Lou’s mother, Mary, rate of participation of any other ethnic is the girl in the middle with a stunned look on her face. Mary’s brother, John, is by her side. The group in America. One of them, Major

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others were probably relatives. Mary’s parents had already immigrated.

others were probably relatives. Mary’s parents had already immigrated.


KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

The Pannonia, which brought Mary Danyi to America in 1905.

The Pannonia, which brought Mary Danyi to America in 1905.

Charles Zágonyi, led a triumphant cavalry charge of 160 Union soldiers against 2,000 Confederate soldiers holding the town of Springfield, Missouri. His Hungarian Guard lost only sixteen men in the charge, while the Confederates reported 116 men dead. Lou’s father, Lajos Bela Kozonics, was born September 4, 1890, probably in his parents’ house in Sarvar. Here, he would have been called Lajos (pronounced “Layosh”). Lou’s mother, Mary Louise Danyi, was also born in Hungary. Both Lajos and Mary immigrated to the United States where they met and married, in 1913, in Cleveland. The Hungary they left behind would never be the same. Their ancestral homes would be burned down long before Lou and Bill arrived for the first time in 1993. After Lajos and Mary left their native land, World War I was ignited when a Bosnian Serb assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. A chain reaction followed, and within a month, much of Europe was in open warfare. When ceasefire was declared in Germany on November 11, 1918, millions had died and the face of Europe was changed yet again. In the aftermath of the war’s end, the summer of 1919, the boundaries of European countries were completely redrawn. All of the Central Powers had lost territory. The German Empire was not only severely confined but also made to pay reparations for its longtime colonial holdings.

Charles Zágonyi, led a triumphant cavalry charge of 160 Union soldiers against 2,000 Confederate soldiers holding the town of Springfield, Missouri. His Hungarian Guard lost only sixteen men in the charge, while the Confederates reported 116 men dead. Lou’s father, Lajos Bela Kozonics, was born September 4, 1890, probably in his parents’ house in Sarvar. Here, he would have been called Lajos (pronounced “Layosh”). Lou’s mother, Mary Louise Danyi, was also born in Hungary. Both Lajos and Mary immigrated to the United States where they met and married, in 1913, in Cleveland. The Hungary they left behind would never be the same. Their ancestral homes would be burned down long before Lou and Bill arrived for the first time in 1993. After Lajos and Mary left their native land, World War I was ignited when a Bosnian Serb assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. A chain reaction followed, and within a month, much of Europe was in open warfare. When ceasefire was declared in Germany on November 11, 1918, millions had died and the face of Europe was changed yet again. In the aftermath of the war’s end, the summer of 1919, the boundaries of European countries were completely redrawn. All of the Central Powers had lost territory. The German Empire was not only severely confined but also made to pay reparations for its longtime colonial holdings.

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L O U ’ S A N C E S T O R S I M M I G R AT E T O N O R T H E R N O H I O

In dismantling the Austro-Hungarian Empire, new countries were created—or recreated, including Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. However, Hungary as a nation had been in existence for more than a thousand years. Records for the ship Grosser Kurfurst give the ethnicity of Lajos Kozonics’ (spelled “Kosonics”) as Magyar, a name dating back to the 1100s to describe the main residents of the Kingdom of Hungary--Magyarország. Immigration and ship records assigned Magyar as the nationality for anyone whose origins were Slovakian, Ruthenian, Rumanian, Slavonian and Croatian, as well as some Germans and Italians. Lajos’ place of birth, in handwriting so flowery it is difficult to accurately decipher, is given as Pentekfaln, Hungary. Today, Pentekfaln can’t be found on a Hungarian map, nor can it be found on a page on the World Wide Web under that spelling. His U.S. destination was his brother’s house. The Grosser Kurfurst (or, Grosser Kurfuerst) was built in Germany in about 1899 and carried emigrants from Europe to New York for more than a dozen years before it was laid up at New York harbor during World War I. Nearly 600 feet long and 62 feet wide, it was powered by three steam engines. Although the ship could accommodate about 300 in first class and an equal number in second class, most likely Lajos traveled in third class steerage, along with other manual laborers. The Grosser Kurfurst carried seventeen-year-old Lajos from the German port of Bremerhaven across the freezing North Atlantic, arriving in New York within about a week. (Immigration records for Lajos and other central Europeans show Bremen as

In dismantling the Austro-Hungarian Empire, new countries were created—or recreated, including Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. However, Hungary as a nation had been in existence for more than a thousand years. Records for the ship Grosser Kurfurst give the ethnicity of Lajos Kozonics’ (spelled “Kosonics”) as Magyar, a name dating back to the 1100s to describe the main residents of the Kingdom of Hungary--Magyarország. Immigration and ship records assigned Magyar as the nationality for anyone whose origins were Slovakian, Ruthenian, Rumanian, Slavonian and Croatian, as well as some Germans and Italians. Lajos’ place of birth, in handwriting so flowery it is difficult to accurately decipher, is given as Pentekfaln, Hungary. Today, Pentekfaln can’t be found on a Hungarian map, nor can it be found on a page on the World Wide Web under that spelling. His U.S. destination was his brother’s house. The Grosser Kurfurst (or, Grosser Kurfuerst) was built in Germany in about 1899 and carried emigrants from Europe to New York for more than a dozen years before it was laid up at New York harbor during World War I. Nearly 600 feet long and 62 feet wide, it was powered by three steam engines. Although the ship could accommodate about 300 in first class and an equal number in second class, most likely Lajos traveled in third class steerage, along with other manual laborers. The Grosser Kurfurst carried seventeen-year-old Lajos from the German port of Bremerhaven across the freezing North Atlantic, arriving in New York within about a week. (Immigration records for Lajos and other central Europeans show Bremen as

The Grosser Kurfurst, which brought Louis Kozonics to America in 1907.

The Grosser Kurfurst, which brought Louis Kozonics to America in 1907.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

the port of origin, but in truth they would have sailed from the port of Bremerhaven. Bremen, further inland on the river Weser, has served as a processing center for emigrants for a hundred years.) Lajos came to the U.S. in 1907. At the time, many Hungarians who emmigrated to America intended on returning to Hungary, hopefully with enough money to purchase land. Between 1870 and 1920, more than one million Hungarians emmigrated to the United States. (This figure does not include the ethnic minorities who came as citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.) Ohio became a favored state for Hungarian emigrants: from one district alone, Bodrogköz, more than 7,000 became Ohioans. They lived in overcrowded boardinghouses and took turns sleeping in beds that were shared according to work shifts. Immigrant women ran the boardinghouses, working slavishly to wash the boarders’ clothes, clean, and cook Hungarian-style meals—all much appreciated by the boarders, who paid around $3 per week. They worked some of the most dangerous jobs: in mills and mines. The first major explosion at Pittsburgh Steel in 1901 left twelve Hungarians dead, and the death tolls spiked as production increased. Hungarian-Americans wrote songs, poems

the port of origin, but in truth they would have sailed from the port of Bremerhaven. Bremen, further inland on the river Weser, has served as a processing center for emigrants for a hundred years.) Lajos came to the U.S. in 1907. At the time, many Hungarians who emmigrated to America intended on returning to Hungary, hopefully with enough money to purchase land. Between 1870 and 1920, more than one million Hungarians emmigrated to the United States. (This figure does not include the ethnic minorities who came as citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.) Ohio became a favored state for Hungarian emigrants: from one district alone, Bodrogköz, more than 7,000 became Ohioans. They lived in overcrowded boardinghouses and took turns sleeping in beds that were shared according to work shifts. Immigrant women ran the boardinghouses, working slavishly to wash the boarders’ clothes, clean, and cook Hungarian-style meals—all much appreciated by the boarders, who paid around $3 per week. They worked some of the most dangerous jobs: in mills and mines. The first major explosion at Pittsburgh Steel in 1901 left twelve Hungarians dead, and the death tolls spiked as production increased. Hungarian-Americans wrote songs, poems

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L O U ’ S A N C E S T O R S I M M I G R AT E T O N O R T H E R N O H I O

and short stories to express their struggle: “The coal powder absorbs our tears, Our laughter is drowned in smoke, We yearn to return to our little village Where every blade of grass understood Hungarian.” Despite homesickness and dangerous working conditions, Hungarians continued to come to the United States. One of them, quoted in Joshua A. Fishman’s book, Hungarian Language Maintenance in the United States, wrote this letter home: Here a man is paid for his labors, and I am certainly not sorry that I am here. I work from six in the morning until seven at night and get $10-$11 a week. Just now, it’s hot. When it gets cooler I’ll make more money, perhaps double, and then I’ll work only eleven hours. There are 10,000 workers in this shop and my wife is working here too. She makes $9.50 a week. At home I made that much money in a whole month and people thought my job was very good. Here I am sewing dresses on a machine. In America there is no difference between one man and another. If you’re a millionaire you are called a Mister just the same and your wife is Missis.

and short stories to express their struggle: “The coal powder absorbs our tears, Our laughter is drowned in smoke, We yearn to return to our little village Where every blade of grass understood Hungarian.” Despite homesickness and dangerous working conditions, Hungarians continued to come to the United States. One of them, quoted in Joshua A. Fishman’s book, Hungarian Language Maintenance in the United States, wrote this letter home: Here a man is paid for his labors, and I am certainly not sorry that I am here. I work from six in the morning until seven at night and get $10-$11 a week. Just now, it’s hot. When it gets cooler I’ll make more money, perhaps double, and then I’ll work only eleven hours. There are 10,000 workers in this shop and my wife is working here too. She makes $9.50 a week. At home I made that much money in a whole month and people thought my job was very good. Here I am sewing dresses on a machine. In America there is no difference between one man and another. If you’re a millionaire you are called a Mister just the same and your wife is Missis.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

Lajos and Mary Meet in Cleveland

Lajos and Mary Meet in Cleveland

In Hungary, Lajos worked for a time in the sugar beet factory in his hometown of Sarvar. He also gained experience both in sailing and mining, which has gone on in Hungary since the Romans dug for gold and salt in the Carpathian Basin. These skills served him well after he emigrated from his homeland. Seventeen year-old Lajos Bela Kozonics first caught sight of the Statue of Liberty on June 5, 1907. On the ship records, Lajos’s last name is partially obscured, as are the names of those listed under him, but the name written just before his is legible: 26-year-old Josef Horvath, whose hometown is listed as the same as Lajos’—Pentekfaln, although the handwriting is so flowery that the name could also be Pentekfaler or another derivation. The Horvath name is important, Louis and Mary Kozonics’ wedding photograph, 1913. as Lajos’s mother is Catharine Horvath. We do not have the names of anyone else in the Horvath family, but we might assume that Josef was Catherine’s brother. As far as we know, neither of Lajos’s parents came to the United States, nor his brother, Imre, but his brother Karolly (“Charles”) did immigrate to the states. When immigration officials asked Lajos to state his destination, he gave them his brother’s name. Both Lajos Kozonics and Josef Horvath were listed on the Ellis Island ship records as laborers who could read and write. [We don’t know if Josef Horvath was the brother of Catherine, Emeric’s (Hungarian) Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio, where Lou’s father’s mother: it is Louis and Mary Kozonics married.

In Hungary, Lajos worked for a time in the sugar beet factory in his hometown of Sarvar. He also gained experience both in sailing and mining, which has gone on in Hungary since the Romans dug for gold and salt in the Carpathian Basin. These skills served him well after he emigrated from his homeland. Seventeen year-old Lajos Bela Kozonics first caught sight of the Statue of Liberty on June 5, 1907. On the ship records, Lajos’s last name is partially obscured, as are the names of those listed under him, but the name written just before his is legible: 26-year-old Josef Horvath, whose hometown is listed as the same as Lajos’—Pentekfaln, although the handwriting is so flowery that the name could also be Pentekfaler or another derivation. The Horvath name is important, Louis and Mary Kozonics’ wedding photograph, 1913. as Lajos’s mother is Catharine Horvath. We do not have the names of anyone else in the Horvath family, but we might assume that Josef was Catherine’s brother. As far as we know, neither of Lajos’s parents came to the United States, nor his brother, Imre, but his brother Karolly (“Charles”) did immigrate to the states. When immigration officials asked Lajos to state his destination, he gave them his brother’s name. Both Lajos Kozonics and Josef Horvath were listed on the Ellis Island ship records as laborers who could read and write. [We don’t know if Josef Horvath was the brother of Catherine, Emeric’s (Hungarian) Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio, where Lou’s father’s mother: it is Louis and Mary Kozonics married.

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L O U ’ S A N C E S T O R S I M M I G R AT E T O N O R T H E R N O H I O

quite possible that he was related, and at the same time, Horvath is a common Hungarian name.] After entering the U.S. at Ellis Island, he worked for a time as a wheelsman on Lake Erie. As a wheelsman, he would have manned the wheel of a ship, maintaining a steady course and communicating to the officer on board. It is fair to say that Lajos steered the course of his life with a steady hand, despite the uncertain times of his immigration: after World War I and before World War II. While he was earning a living on Lake Erie, Lajos probably lived in Cleveland. The Hungarian-American community in Cleveland was among the most active in the country. Soon after arriving in Cleveland in the late 1800s, Hungarians formed their own churches and began printing two newspapers in their native language, the Szabadsag (Liberty) and the weekly, Magyar Katolikus Varsarnapjaya (Catholic Hungarians’ Sunday). They gathered to celebrate holidays from their home country, and erected a bronze statue in 1904 to their political hero, Louis Kossuth. In America, Lajos began to be called Louie. His middle name, Bela, became William. He had been in the states for six years when he married another Hungarian, Mary Louise Danyi, at St. Emeric’s Catholic Church in Cleveland’s west side. St. Emeric—a Hungarian church, had been established in 1904. Its name, Emeric, translates to Imre, the same name as Lajos’ brother, Imrae, who stayed behind in Hungary. The Rev. Joseph Petern, pastor of St. Emeric’s Hungarian Catholic Church in Cleveland, filled out the beautiful marriage certificate, adorned with images of pink roses and green ferns, witnessed by George Javor and Charles Nimeth (most likely,

quite possible that he was related, and at the same time, Horvath is a common Hungarian name.] After entering the U.S. at Ellis Island, he worked for a time as a wheelsman on Lake Erie. As a wheelsman, he would have manned the wheel of a ship, maintaining a steady course and communicating to the officer on board. It is fair to say that Lajos steered the course of his life with a steady hand, despite the uncertain times of his immigration: after World War I and before World War II. While he was earning a living on Lake Erie, Lajos probably lived in Cleveland. The Hungarian-American community in Cleveland was among the most active in the country. Soon after arriving in Cleveland in the late 1800s, Hungarians formed their own churches and began printing two newspapers in their native language, the Szabadsag (Liberty) and the weekly, Magyar Katolikus Varsarnapjaya (Catholic Hungarians’ Sunday). They gathered to celebrate holidays from their home country, and erected a bronze statue in 1904 to their political hero, Louis Kossuth. In America, Lajos began to be called Louie. His middle name, Bela, became William. He had been in the states for six years when he married another Hungarian, Mary Louise Danyi, at St. Emeric’s Catholic Church in Cleveland’s west side. St. Emeric—a Hungarian church, had been established in 1904. Its name, Emeric, translates to Imre, the same name as Lajos’ brother, Imrae, who stayed behind in Hungary. The Rev. Joseph Petern, pastor of St. Emeric’s Hungarian Catholic Church in Cleveland, filled out the beautiful marriage certificate, adorned with images of pink roses and green ferns, witnessed by George Javor and Charles Nimeth (most likely,

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

Charles Nemeth). The document, dated Aug 21, 1913, notes that Mary Louise Danyi was united in marriage with Lajos “Kozonits”—misspelling the name. Father Petern was Russian, and seems to have used the Russian spelling of using a “t” in place of a “c.”

Charles Nemeth). The document, dated Aug 21, 1913, notes that Mary Louise Danyi was united in marriage with Lajos “Kozonits”—misspelling the name. Father Petern was Russian, and seems to have used the Russian spelling of using a “t” in place of a “c.”

The Danyis

The Danyis

Little is known about Lou’s maternal grandparents, John Danyi and his wife, Susan Kalapos Danyi, including the names of their parents. “John” and Lajos “Louis” Kozonics (1890-1965), Lou’s father. “Susan” seem to be Americanized versions of their birth names. They were born in Hungary during the time of the American Civil War, and family members believe they may have been orphans (the various Austrio-Hungarian wars often left orphans). John and Susan married in Hungary and had five children. The first three were born in Hungary: Elizabeth (1892), John Jr. (1894), and Lou’s mother, Mary Louise (1896). We can imagine that John immigrated first, as was the custom at the time, and worked to earn enough money to send for his family’s passage. Family members believe that neither John nor Susan became U.S. citizens, although they would spend the rest of their lives there. The first Danyi to be born in the United States was Joseph (1903), Mary Danyi Kozonics, Lou’s followed by the last child, Anna (1905). mother. Lou recalls that when her mother was a girl, perhaps aged 13, she was sent to New Jersey to be a playmate for the child of a wealthy Passaic banker. “That may be where she got her sense of fashion,” Lou said. “My mother learned to sew at a young age, and made beautiful clothes. She was a real fashion plate.” Eventually, John and Susan Danyi made their way to Lorain. In Lorain, their daughter, Mary Louise, would meet her future husband, Louis Kozonics, and their daughter, Louise, would meet Bill Kevern— the man she would stay married to for more than sixty years. Lorain already had a very active European community. Lorain was a logical choice: the two largest industries were shipping and steel. Originally, the swampy

Little is known about Lou’s maternal grandparents, John Danyi and his wife, Susan Kalapos Danyi, including the names of their parents. “John” and Lajos “Louis” Kozonics (1890-1965), Lou’s father. “Susan” seem to be Americanized versions of their birth names. They were born in Hungary during the time of the American Civil War, and family members believe they may have been orphans (the various Austrio-Hungarian wars often left orphans). John and Susan married in Hungary and had five children. The first three were born in Hungary: Elizabeth (1892), John Jr. (1894), and Lou’s mother, Mary Louise (1896). We can imagine that John immigrated first, as was the custom at the time, and worked to earn enough money to send for his family’s passage. Family members believe that neither John nor Susan became U.S. citizens, although they would spend the rest of their lives there. The first Danyi to be born in the United States was Joseph (1903), Mary Danyi Kozonics, Lou’s followed by the last child, Anna (1905). mother. Lou recalls that when her mother was a girl, perhaps aged 13, she was sent to New Jersey to be a playmate for the child of a wealthy Passaic banker. “That may be where she got her sense of fashion,” Lou said. “My mother learned to sew at a young age, and made beautiful clothes. She was a real fashion plate.” Eventually, John and Susan Danyi made their way to Lorain. In Lorain, their daughter, Mary Louise, would meet her future husband, Louis Kozonics, and their daughter, Louise, would meet Bill Kevern— the man she would stay married to for more than sixty years. Lorain already had a very active European community. Lorain was a logical choice: the two largest industries were shipping and steel. Originally, the swampy

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The Imrae Kozonics family: unnamed wife of Imrae Kozonics, Imrae Kozonics (Louis’ brother), with their children, Annus and Bozsi. On the right is Catherine Horvath Kozonics (mother of Louis and Imrae).

The Imrae Kozonics family: unnamed wife of Imrae Kozonics, Imrae Kozonics (Louis’ brother), with their children, Annus and Bozsi. On the right is Catherine Horvath Kozonics (mother of Louis and Imrae).

lowlands and harsh winters of northern Ohio discouraged European settlers, but eventually, the little town of Lorain was named at the mouth of the Black River. What put Lorain on the map was its proximity to both Lake Erie and the abundant supplies of steel in the Northern United States. The waters and shores of Lake Erie provided a living in the shipping and steel industries for scores of settlers from England, Hungary, Germany, and the rest of Western and Central Europe. Before steel became king in Lorain, fishing and shipbuilding emerged as key industries. The American Shipbuilding Company was located there, and by the late 1800s, the tiny town had become the most important shipping dock in the northern U.S. In the 1870s, passenger and freight trains came through, Lou’s maternal grandfather, John creating a direct line from Lake Erie to the Ohio

lowlands and harsh winters of northern Ohio discouraged European settlers, but eventually, the little town of Lorain was named at the mouth of the Black River. What put Lorain on the map was its proximity to both Lake Erie and the abundant supplies of steel in the Northern United States. The waters and shores of Lake Erie provided a living in the shipping and steel industries for scores of settlers from England, Hungary, Germany, and the rest of Western and Central Europe. Before steel became king in Lorain, fishing and shipbuilding emerged as key industries. The American Shipbuilding Company was located there, and by the late 1800s, the tiny town had become the most important shipping dock in the northern U.S. In the 1870s, passenger and freight trains came through, Lou’s maternal grandfather, John creating a direct line from Lake Erie to the Ohio

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Danyi (1862-1946).

Danyi (1862-1946).


KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

River. The CL & W line roared through town as coal was shipped in from Pennsylvania, and billions of tons of lumber and ore were (and still are) efficiently shipped from the Lorain docks to any point in the Great Lakes and beyond. On the south side of town, Hungarians had been homesteading since the 1880s. They had their own shops, churches, neighborhoods, and eventually their own newspaper—Lorain es Videke (Lorain and Vicinity). In 1890, they built St. Ladislaus Roman Catholic Church on East 29th Street, a pillar in Lorain’s Hungarian community. In 1902, Magyars built the Hungarian Reformed Church in Lorain. A decade later, the minister was Rev. Samuel Horvath; we don’t know if he was related to Lou’s mother or not. All of the services, Lou’s mother’s brother, John Danyi Jr., (b. 1894). “By his and Sunday school, were given uniform, I assume he served in the Army in World War I,” Lou said. “He died in the 1924 Lorain tornado.” in Hungarian until 1938, when a separate English service was offered. Soon came another Hungarian church, St. Michael’s Greek Catholic Church. Every day life remained relatively quiet in Lorain until the summer of 1894, when the Johnson Steel Company bought a thousand acres outside Lorain and moved its operations from Pennsylvania. The Sheffield Land Company was created as a subdivision of the Johnson Company to transact its real estate business, six tons of dynamite was brought in to blast stumps and boulders out of the ground, and a thousand houses were quickly constructed for workers. In 1895, the first shipment of steel—six barges, left Lorain for New York City via the Erie Canal. Within a few years, the population quadrupled to nearly five thousand people—many of them steel workers and their families, including those named Kevern, Kozonics, and Danyi.

River. The CL & W line roared through town as coal was shipped in from Pennsylvania, and billions of tons of lumber and ore were (and still are) efficiently shipped from the Lorain docks to any point in the Great Lakes and beyond. On the south side of town, Hungarians had been homesteading since the 1880s. They had their own shops, churches, neighborhoods, and eventually their own newspaper—Lorain es Videke (Lorain and Vicinity). In 1890, they built St. Ladislaus Roman Catholic Church on East 29th Street, a pillar in Lorain’s Hungarian community. In 1902, Magyars built the Hungarian Reformed Church in Lorain. A decade later, the minister was Rev. Samuel Horvath; we don’t know if he was related to Lou’s mother or not. All of the services, Lou’s mother’s brother, John Danyi Jr., (b. 1894). “By his and Sunday school, were given uniform, I assume he served in the Army in World War I,” Lou said. “He died in the 1924 Lorain tornado.” in Hungarian until 1938, when a separate English service was offered. Soon came another Hungarian church, St. Michael’s Greek Catholic Church. Every day life remained relatively quiet in Lorain until the summer of 1894, when the Johnson Steel Company bought a thousand acres outside Lorain and moved its operations from Pennsylvania. The Sheffield Land Company was created as a subdivision of the Johnson Company to transact its real estate business, six tons of dynamite was brought in to blast stumps and boulders out of the ground, and a thousand houses were quickly constructed for workers. In 1895, the first shipment of steel—six barges, left Lorain for New York City via the Erie Canal. Within a few years, the population quadrupled to nearly five thousand people—many of them steel workers and their families, including those named Kevern, Kozonics, and Danyi.

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The Kozonics Move to Southside Lorain

The Kozonics Move to Southside Lorain

Some years after the Danyis moved to Lorain, Louie and Mary Kozonics settled into the south side of Lorain, Ohio, probably in a house owned by a prosperous family member, Charlie Nemeth. “Uncle Charlie,” as he was called, was the husband of Mary’s sister, Elizabeth (who was known as Lizzie). Charlie and Elizabeth Nemeth appear in the 1930 Census for the sixth ward of Lorain. Here, he is shown to be a 43-year-old Hungarian-born man. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were Hungarian natives who were the children of Hungarian natives. Both Charlie and Elizabeth’s native tongue was Hungarian but both could also speak English. He gave his occupation as some kind of smith for the Lorain steel mill. Neither of them was a US citizen at the time of the Census. Charlie had immigrated to the US in 1907, Elizabeth in 1903. She was 38 years old when the Census was taken (born in 1982). Other members of the household were Steven, 21; Frank, 19; and Elizabeth, 15. Nemeth was the head of the household and owned his own home, valued at $10,000—a very nice house at the time! “Uncle Charlie owned a small commercial building in south Lorain and operated a bar downstairs,” Lou recalled. “He and his family lived upstairs. It used to fascinate me, as a kid, to go up the steps,” Lou said. “They had very nice furniture and a big kitchen, although they usually used the kitchen downstairs in the bar. We rarely went up there. I think we only went upstairs when my aunt was sick. She was bedridden for a long time and was very sick; we don’t know what illness she had.” After Lizzie died in 1935, Charlie sold the bar and bought a large house in one of the beautiful old sections of Lorain, near 5th Street and Reid. He remarried a woman named Elizabeth, who also was called Lizzie. Family fun in Lou’s parents’ house included playing pinochle and conversing in Hungarian with Uncle Charlie and his second wife. Bill also remembers these card games, “whenever I would pick Lou up for a date.” Louis went to work every day for U.S. Steel, managing a group of workers, and Mary kept house. In 1914, Louis and Mary’s first child, Magdalene, was born. At the time, the young couple lived with Mary’s Hungarian parents, John and Susan Danyi, on 29th Street in Lorain. Two years later, when the second child, Lillian came along, they lived in the 1600 block of 30th Street in South Lorain, possibly with relatives. At some point, they lived briefly on 31st Street. Writing about her early family memories, Lou pointed out that in the John and Susan Danyi home, only Hungarian was spoken. “I never really knew Grandmother Danyi,” Lou wrote. “She died in 1931. I did know my grandfather, John Danyi, as he lived with my Aunt Anna during my growing-up years. When I would visit him, I could communicate a little in Hungarian but I would have to ask my aunt how to say some words in Hungarian.”

Some years after the Danyis moved to Lorain, Louie and Mary Kozonics settled into the south side of Lorain, Ohio, probably in a house owned by a prosperous family member, Charlie Nemeth. “Uncle Charlie,” as he was called, was the husband of Mary’s sister, Elizabeth (who was known as Lizzie). Charlie and Elizabeth Nemeth appear in the 1930 Census for the sixth ward of Lorain. Here, he is shown to be a 43-year-old Hungarian-born man. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were Hungarian natives who were the children of Hungarian natives. Both Charlie and Elizabeth’s native tongue was Hungarian but both could also speak English. He gave his occupation as some kind of smith for the Lorain steel mill. Neither of them was a US citizen at the time of the Census. Charlie had immigrated to the US in 1907, Elizabeth in 1903. She was 38 years old when the Census was taken (born in 1982). Other members of the household were Steven, 21; Frank, 19; and Elizabeth, 15. Nemeth was the head of the household and owned his own home, valued at $10,000—a very nice house at the time! “Uncle Charlie owned a small commercial building in south Lorain and operated a bar downstairs,” Lou recalled. “He and his family lived upstairs. It used to fascinate me, as a kid, to go up the steps,” Lou said. “They had very nice furniture and a big kitchen, although they usually used the kitchen downstairs in the bar. We rarely went up there. I think we only went upstairs when my aunt was sick. She was bedridden for a long time and was very sick; we don’t know what illness she had.” After Lizzie died in 1935, Charlie sold the bar and bought a large house in one of the beautiful old sections of Lorain, near 5th Street and Reid. He remarried a woman named Elizabeth, who also was called Lizzie. Family fun in Lou’s parents’ house included playing pinochle and conversing in Hungarian with Uncle Charlie and his second wife. Bill also remembers these card games, “whenever I would pick Lou up for a date.” Louis went to work every day for U.S. Steel, managing a group of workers, and Mary kept house. In 1914, Louis and Mary’s first child, Magdalene, was born. At the time, the young couple lived with Mary’s Hungarian parents, John and Susan Danyi, on 29th Street in Lorain. Two years later, when the second child, Lillian came along, they lived in the 1600 block of 30th Street in South Lorain, possibly with relatives. At some point, they lived briefly on 31st Street. Writing about her early family memories, Lou pointed out that in the John and Susan Danyi home, only Hungarian was spoken. “I never really knew Grandmother Danyi,” Lou wrote. “She died in 1931. I did know my grandfather, John Danyi, as he lived with my Aunt Anna during my growing-up years. When I would visit him, I could communicate a little in Hungarian but I would have to ask my aunt how to say some words in Hungarian.”

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The Kozonics pose proudly by their car: Mary, Louis, Lillian and Magdalene. Mary may have been pregnant with Lou, who was born November, 1926.

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The Kozonics pose proudly by their car: Mary, Louis, Lillian and Magdalene. Mary may have been pregnant with Lou, who was born November, 1926.

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! THREE" Lorain in the Early 1900s Lorain’s crowning jewel was The Palace Theatre, a spectacular entertainment hall. It had 1700 seats, a full house orchestra, and a giant Wurlitzer Organ. The walls and ceilings were decorated in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and underneath a 1,500-pound crystal chandelier, live shows were staged seven days a week: singers, acrobats, dancers, comedians, magicians and animal acts. “Talking” movies had been invented two years earlier, in 1926, thanks to a Warner Brothers deal with Western Electric that allowed them to introduce a sound-on-disk system. The break-through technology involved recording sound effects and music onto a wax record and later synchronizing them with the film projector.

Mary Danyi Kozonics, about 1920. “She ruled the house,” Lou said. “She probably made the dress she is wearing in this photo.”

L O R A I N I N T H E E A R LY 1 9 0 0 ’ S

! THREE" Lorain in the Early 1900s Lorain’s crowning jewel was The Palace Theatre, a spectacular entertainment hall. It had 1700 seats, a full house orchestra, and a giant Wurlitzer Organ. The walls and ceilings were decorated in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and underneath a 1,500-pound crystal chandelier, live shows were staged seven days a week: singers, acrobats, dancers, comedians, magicians and animal acts. “Talking” movies had been invented two years earlier, in 1926, thanks to a Warner Brothers deal with Western Electric that allowed them to introduce a sound-on-disk system. The break-through technology involved recording sound effects and music onto a wax record and later synchronizing them with the film projector.

Lou as a baby.

Lou as a baby.

A Hungarian-American Family

A Hungarian-American Family

For Louis and Mary Kozonics, the glorious occasion of home ownership took place just after the birth of their third and last child, Lou. It was probably the spring of 1927 when they bought a house at 200 East 33rd Street in Lorain. As Hungarian immigrants, Louis and Mary would have worked very hard and saved every penny to afford such an asset. That home was so important to them that they spent the rest of their lives together in it. The house included two bedrooms and was heated with coal. The kitchen stove was powered by natural gas. The lone telephone in the house was mounted on the wall with a very short receiver line, so that in order to talk on it, one had to stand—not sit, near the wall.

For Louis and Mary Kozonics, the glorious occasion of home ownership took place just after the birth of their third and last child, Lou. It was probably the spring of 1927 when they bought a house at 200 East 33rd Street in Lorain. As Hungarian immigrants, Louis and Mary would have worked very hard and saved every penny to afford such an asset. That home was so important to them that they spent the rest of their lives together in it. The house included two bedrooms and was heated with coal. The kitchen stove was powered by natural gas. The lone telephone in the house was mounted on the wall with a very short receiver line, so that in order to talk on it, one had to stand—not sit, near the wall.

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Mary Danyi Kozonics, about 1920. “She ruled the house,” Lou said. “She probably made the dress she is wearing in this photo.”

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

When Lou was born on November 21, 1926, her eldest sister, Mag, was 13, and Lil was 11. “I was the caboose,” Lou said, laughing. “When Mom and Dad went to the hospital, Mag and Lil were hoping they would bring home a girl, and they sat at the top of the steps waiting for them. They got their wish!” Mag and Lil slept in one of the bedrooms, which was enlarged to accommodate a double bed. When Lou came along, she slept on a small bed in her parents’ room until Mag married. Louis and Mary both spoke English and could read and write in English, but when Hungarian friends came, they would all speak Hungarian. Lou and her sisters quickly learned to understand both languages. Louis worked as a foreman in the pipe mills Lou about two years old. at the National Tube Company Lorain Works, part of U.S. Steel. He was in charge of as many as 50 to 100 men. “My dad was a real people person,” Lou recalled. “He had a clerk to do the extensive paperwork.” Shift work was the norm at the mill, and Louie’s shifts alternated each week: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., then 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., then 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Child-rearing fell for the most part to Mary. “Discipline was in the way my mother looked at us. When she gave us that piercing look, we knew! No questions asked.” Meals were an important part of family life. In a garden in the yard, Louie grew tomatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. Mary would “can” them in glass jars, bringing them to boil in a large, oval metal pot that she also used to boil clothes in to get them extra clean. When tomatoes were especially plentiful, she made tomato juice. She also made condiments from whatever fruits were in season, especially applesauce from apples. There was also a fruit cellar under Lou’s sisters, Lillian, 4, and Mag, 6.

When Lou was born on November 21, 1926, her eldest sister, Mag, was 13, and Lil was 11. “I was the caboose,” Lou said, laughing. “When Mom and Dad went to the hospital, Mag and Lil were hoping they would bring home a girl, and they sat at the top of the steps waiting for them. They got their wish!” Mag and Lil slept in one of the bedrooms, which was enlarged to accommodate a double bed. When Lou came along, she slept on a small bed in her parents’ room until Mag married. Louis and Mary both spoke English and could read and write in English, but when Hungarian friends came, they would all speak Hungarian. Lou and her sisters quickly learned to understand both languages. Louis worked as a foreman in the pipe mills Lou about two years old. at the National Tube Company Lorain Works, part of U.S. Steel. He was in charge of as many as 50 to 100 men. “My dad was a real people person,” Lou recalled. “He had a clerk to do the extensive paperwork.” Shift work was the norm at the mill, and Louie’s shifts alternated each week: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., then 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., then 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Child-rearing fell for the most part to Mary. “Discipline was in the way my mother looked at us. When she gave us that piercing look, we knew! No questions asked.” Meals were an important part of family life. In a garden in the yard, Louie grew tomatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. Mary would “can” them in glass jars, bringing them to boil in a large, oval metal pot that she also used to boil clothes in to get them extra clean. When tomatoes were especially plentiful, she made tomato juice. She also made condiments from whatever fruits were in season, especially applesauce from apples. There was also a fruit cellar under Lou’s sisters, Lillian, 4, and Mag, 6.

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the house where she kept fruits and vegetables fresh. Louie often bought live chickens from a country market, brought them home and slaughtered one for dinner, cutting off its head on the old tree stump in the yard. Then, he would methodically remove the feathers and butcher it. Dinnertime in the Kozonics household frequently involved Hungarian Paprika, used in many dishes but particularly in chicken Paprikash. “First you stew the chicken, and when it cooks down, you’ve got the chicken juice and you add sour cream to it,” Lou said. “Then you make dumplings. I think the American version of dumplings is a big fluffy thing? My mother would mix up flour, egg and water, put it on a flat plate, and use a knife to cut it off the plate into the water. This was a firm dumpling. She also made Crepes Suzette, which is a Hungarian dish, although a lot of people think it’s French. We call it Palacsinta. Mom would just make them in a fry pan, very thin, and we’d put jelly on them and roll them up. Sometimes she’d make a mixture of cottage cheese and egg and she’d roll them up, put those in a pan and pour sour cream over them and bake it. We would eat it for a meal, and it was delicious! Every Sunday, Mary dressed her family in beautiful, hand-tailored clothes and off they went to St. Ladislaus Catholic Church. Every Monday, she washed clothes in the basement. The washing machine had an agitator to swish the clothes around, and a ringer on top that was manually operated. Clothes had

Lou about four years old with her only doll, in front of the house she grew up in, 200 East 33rd Street in Lorain, Ohio.

Lil and Mag in 1916.

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the house where she kept fruits and vegetables fresh. Louie often bought live chickens from a country market, brought them home and slaughtered one for dinner, cutting off its head on the old tree stump in the yard. Then, he would methodically remove the feathers and butcher it. Dinnertime in the Kozonics household frequently involved Hungarian Paprika, used in many dishes but particularly in chicken Paprikash. “First you stew the chicken, and when it cooks down, you’ve got the chicken juice and you add sour cream to it,” Lou said. “Then you make dumplings. I think the American version of dumplings is a big fluffy thing? My mother would mix up flour, egg and water, put it on a flat plate, and use a knife to cut it off the plate into the water. This was a firm dumpling. She also made Crepes Suzette, which is a Hungarian dish, although a lot of people think it’s French. We call it Palacsinta. Mom would just make them in a fry pan, very thin, and we’d put jelly on them and roll them up. Sometimes she’d make a mixture of cottage cheese and egg and she’d roll them up, put those in a pan and pour sour cream over them and bake it. We would eat it for a meal, and it was delicious! Every Sunday, Mary dressed her family in beautiful, hand-tailored clothes and off they went to St. Ladislaus Catholic Church. Every Monday, she washed clothes in the basement. The washing machine had an agitator to swish the clothes around, and a ringer on top that was manually operated. Clothes had

Lou about four years old with her only doll, in front of the house she grew up in, 200 East 33rd Street in Lorain, Ohio.

Lil and Mag in 1916.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

to be pressed through the ringer after being washed, then carried to a tub of rinse water. In the summer, clothes were hung outside on a line to dry, and in the winter they were hung in the basement where the coal furnace would dry them before nightfall. To this day, Lou washes clothes on Monday. The girls were assigned chores to help out with the household workload. “I did the dishes every day, and on Saturdays, I had to defrost and clean the refrigerator,” Lou said. “There was no such thing as self-defrosting refrigerators or self-cleaning ovens. My sister, Lil, always had to go to the bathroom when it was time to do dishes!” Money was a precious commodity, and the Lou banking system had not yet invented personal credit cards allowing individuals to borrow tens of thousands of dollars. “You didn’t buy things you couldn’t afford,” Lou said. “Everything was on a cash basis. If you wanted something, you saved your money and then bought it. “My mother’s sewing is what stands out in my mind so much,” Lou said, fondness rising in her voice. “In Mother’s teenage years, people could not just go out to a store to buy clothes. In her neighborhood, there was a local seamstress who made clothes, but Mother didn’t like the clothes she made so she started to maker her own, teaching herself. “From the time I can remember, Mother made all of our clothes, including her own. I would see a dress or blouse or skirt that I liked, and she would reproduce it. About the time I graduated from high school, she made me a fuchsia suit with a black braid and George Washington cuffs Lou with her sixth grade school books, behind on it. In high school, I worked part her childhood home on East 33rd Street

to be pressed through the ringer after being washed, then carried to a tub of rinse water. In the summer, clothes were hung outside on a line to dry, and in the winter they were hung in the basement where the coal furnace would dry them before nightfall. To this day, Lou washes clothes on Monday. The girls were assigned chores to help out with the household workload. “I did the dishes every day, and on Saturdays, I had to defrost and clean the refrigerator,” Lou said. “There was no such thing as self-defrosting refrigerators or self-cleaning ovens. My sister, Lil, always had to go to the bathroom when it was time to do dishes!” Money was a precious commodity, and the Lou banking system had not yet invented personal credit cards allowing individuals to borrow tens of thousands of dollars. “You didn’t buy things you couldn’t afford,” Lou said. “Everything was on a cash basis. If you wanted something, you saved your money and then bought it. “My mother’s sewing is what stands out in my mind so much,” Lou said, fondness rising in her voice. “In Mother’s teenage years, people could not just go out to a store to buy clothes. In her neighborhood, there was a local seamstress who made clothes, but Mother didn’t like the clothes she made so she started to maker her own, teaching herself. “From the time I can remember, Mother made all of our clothes, including her own. I would see a dress or blouse or skirt that I liked, and she would reproduce it. About the time I graduated from high school, she made me a fuchsia suit with a black braid and George Washington cuffs Lou with her sixth grade school books, behind on it. In high school, I worked part her childhood home on East 33rd Street

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time at The Style Center, a ladies’ store in Lorain, and once they had a cotton dress that I thought had a very unusual design. I asked my mother to come in and take a look. The dress buttoned down one side in the front and down the other side in the back. She made one for me. This is just one example of her talent. She made Mag’s wedding dress and the bridesmaid’s dresses. She also made my wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses. “I still have a blouse my mother made me,” Lou ;OL2L]LYUZ !)PSSVU/HYVSK»ZSHW1VOUHUK,]H continued. “It has little leaves that she made out of fabric that sewed right down the opening. When it comes to my mother, nothing is more clear in my mind than her ability to sew.” Bill also recalls Mary’s sewing skills. “Toward the end of her life, we discovered that the clothes she was making were being produced more by Braille than by sight. She was losing her sight, but she hadn’t given up sewing—she just felt her way along!”

time at The Style Center, a ladies’ store in Lorain, and once they had a cotton dress that I thought had a very unusual design. I asked my mother to come in and take a look. The dress buttoned down one side in the front and down the other side in the back. She made one for me. This is just one example of her talent. She made Mag’s wedding dress and the bridesmaid’s dresses. She also made my wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses. “I still have a blouse my mother made me,” Lou ;OL2L]LYUZ !)PSSVU/HYVSK»ZSHW1VOUHUK,]H continued. “It has little leaves that she made out of fabric that sewed right down the opening. When it comes to my mother, nothing is more clear in my mind than her ability to sew.” Bill also recalls Mary’s sewing skills. “Toward the end of her life, we discovered that the clothes she was making were being produced more by Braille than by sight. She was losing her sight, but she hadn’t given up sewing—she just felt her way along!”

The Keverns in Eastside

The Keverns in Eastside

The east side of Lorain was also called “the reservation,” because it was built as housing for workers for Cromwell steel mill during World War I. There, on Christian Hill, the Keverns bought their first house for $2700. The twostory house at 317 Alexander Avenue featured a 20 x 20 living room and equal-sized kitchen downstairs, with two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. Whenever speaking of the house he was born in, Bill simply calls it 317. Like most of the homes on the east side,

The east side of Lorain was also called “the reservation,” because it was built as housing for workers for Cromwell steel mill during World War I. There, on Christian Hill, the Keverns bought their first house for $2700. The twostory house at 317 Alexander Avenue featured a 20 x 20 living room and equal-sized kitchen downstairs, with two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. Whenever speaking of the house he was born in, Bill simply calls it 317. Like most of the homes on the east side,

;OLOV\ZLVM)PSS»ZIPY[OHUKJOPSKOVVK (SL_HUKLY(]LU\L

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;OLOV\ZLVM)PSS»ZIPY[OHUKJOPSKOVVK (SL_HUKLY(]LU\L

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

the Kevern house was roofed in grey slate roof—extra protection against the lake winds. The house survived a horrific tornado that struck the Lorain-Sandusky area the summer of 1924, leaving 85 people dead and nearly destroying both towns. “Women in those days boiled clothes,” Lou said, explaining why water for clothes washing was often heated in large copper pot despite the family having both a hot water heater and a washing machine. Appliances in Eva with baby Bill, about 1929. the 1920s and 1930s were a far cry from today’s inventions. The Keverns owned a Cataract washer, a low-standing iron frame holding a hollow copper cylinder in which clothes tumbled in water in soap. The Cataract that the Keverns used had a stationary sink with two bowls and a roller mechanism above that could be swung into position over either sink. Clothes were pressed through the roller after washing and again after rinsing. Harold was a natural-born engineer and handyman, always building, repairing and tinkering to create an improved design or a way around a problem. In the bathroom was a freestanding claw-foot tub, to which Harold added a shower and marlite paneling around the tub. There was a saying about Harold: Nothing ever stopped him. Take, for example, his solution to a problem that arose while he was attempting to repair the roof on the Bessemer house. John was a toddler and tried to climb up the ladder while Harold was on top of the roof. “Dad solved the problem by climbing down and nailing John’s pants to the wooden sidewalk,” Bill said. “Problem solved. Eva’s sister, Agnes, holds newborn Bill. Agnes was a nurse and may have helped Repair finished.” deliver her nephew.

the Kevern house was roofed in grey slate roof—extra protection against the lake winds. The house survived a horrific tornado that struck the Lorain-Sandusky area the summer of 1924, leaving 85 people dead and nearly destroying both towns. “Women in those days boiled clothes,” Lou said, explaining why water for clothes washing was often heated in large copper pot despite the family having both a hot water heater and a washing machine. Appliances in Eva with baby Bill, about 1929. the 1920s and 1930s were a far cry from today’s inventions. The Keverns owned a Cataract washer, a low-standing iron frame holding a hollow copper cylinder in which clothes tumbled in water in soap. The Cataract that the Keverns used had a stationary sink with two bowls and a roller mechanism above that could be swung into position over either sink. Clothes were pressed through the roller after washing and again after rinsing. Harold was a natural-born engineer and handyman, always building, repairing and tinkering to create an improved design or a way around a problem. In the bathroom was a freestanding claw-foot tub, to which Harold added a shower and marlite paneling around the tub. There was a saying about Harold: Nothing ever stopped him. Take, for example, his solution to a problem that arose while he was attempting to repair the roof on the Bessemer house. John was a toddler and tried to climb up the ladder while Harold was on top of the roof. “Dad solved the problem by climbing down and nailing John’s pants to the wooden sidewalk,” Bill said. “Problem solved. Eva’s sister, Agnes, holds newborn Bill. Agnes was a nurse and may have helped Repair finished.” deliver her nephew.

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He worked shifts on the shipping docks where iron ore was lifted onto railroad cars. There, he got the idea to build a model ore bridge from tin, including making channels for it. “This was before the days of the electric soldering iron,” Bill remembers. “He had a copper soldering iron that he would heat on a gas grill. It would stay hot for at least a half hour. He soldered this old bridge together with that copper soldering iron. He never got the motors for it, but he had the structure built. It was in the attic in the garage at 317. May still be up there!” A man who knew how to ‘make do,’ Harold built a 20’ by 12’ garage for the house, using planks from an abandoned ballpark behind the house. Happy Bill on a scooter in the living room. “I lost my lower two front teeth riding that scooter down the Some of the boards still bore the basement steps,” Bill mused. lettering they’d been painted with years before, as part of the ballpark. One year, he decided to move one of the living room walls to enlarge it by three feet. “Now this is a well-built house with a slate roof,” Bill said. “It’s got sheetrock that is at least an inch thick with a quarter inch of plaster on it. You take out a few square feet of that, and you can’t carry it—and he wanted to move that wall out. He had to install a beam that could hold up the second floor of the house and the slate roof. “It’s still there,” Bill said. As the family grew, Harold decided to widen the one-car garage to 20 feet, adding on a shop for himself. He also built a breezeway between the house and the garage. “Before the breezeway was enclosed, you had to walk out of the house to the driveway to get to the garage,” Bill said. “The back door Bill, 5; Harold and John, 11, in back of 317 Alexander. to the house was way on the other side, so

He worked shifts on the shipping docks where iron ore was lifted onto railroad cars. There, he got the idea to build a model ore bridge from tin, including making channels for it. “This was before the days of the electric soldering iron,” Bill remembers. “He had a copper soldering iron that he would heat on a gas grill. It would stay hot for at least a half hour. He soldered this old bridge together with that copper soldering iron. He never got the motors for it, but he had the structure built. It was in the attic in the garage at 317. May still be up there!” A man who knew how to ‘make do,’ Harold built a 20’ by 12’ garage for the house, using planks from an abandoned ballpark behind the house. Happy Bill on a scooter in the living room. “I lost my lower two front teeth riding that scooter down the Some of the boards still bore the basement steps,” Bill mused. lettering they’d been painted with years before, as part of the ballpark. One year, he decided to move one of the living room walls to enlarge it by three feet. “Now this is a well-built house with a slate roof,” Bill said. “It’s got sheetrock that is at least an inch thick with a quarter inch of plaster on it. You take out a few square feet of that, and you can’t carry it—and he wanted to move that wall out. He had to install a beam that could hold up the second floor of the house and the slate roof. “It’s still there,” Bill said. As the family grew, Harold decided to widen the one-car garage to 20 feet, adding on a shop for himself. He also built a breezeway between the house and the garage. “Before the breezeway was enclosed, you had to walk out of the house to the driveway to get to the garage,” Bill said. “The back door Bill, 5; Harold and John, 11, in back of 317 Alexander. to the house was way on the other side, so

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Bill on a tricycle behind 317 Alexander.

the white lights on the first row, other ones would turn on the green lights on the second row. I remember one time Grandma Carlson—Hilma, was visiting, and I heard her switching onoff, on-off. She was out there trying to turn those lights off! You had to find the toggle switch hidden behind the sink, and you had to know the exact combination of which switch worked which lights to get the lights all turned off!” As early as 1938, Harold installed lights in the front steps leading to the front door. The steps were originally wooden, but he replaced them with cement. At the same time, he rigged up a metal box with the house number in it, put a light in back and a glass

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he wanted a door on the garage side. He wanted a bathroom downstairs, because the only bathroom was upstairs. So, he figured he’d put in a very small bathroom and in it put the doorway to get to the garage. But the chimney to the house was right there: a big, brick chimney. Well the chimney came down—brick by brick. He put up a six-inch asbestos pipe, grinding down the ends so they would fit in the couplings. There was no thought of asbestos dust being a problem at that time. Over the two sides of the kitchen sink, he put glass panels as wide as the cupboards, three feet by one foot. Behind them was a little pocket with a dozen Christmas light bulbs in different colors, and a row of eight or ten light switches. Some of them would turn on

Bill, 6, and John, 11.

Bill on a tricycle behind 317 Alexander.

the white lights on the first row, other ones would turn on the green lights on the second row. I remember one time Grandma Carlson—Hilma, was visiting, and I heard her switching onoff, on-off. She was out there trying to turn those lights off! You had to find the toggle switch hidden behind the sink, and you had to know the exact combination of which switch worked which lights to get the lights all turned off!” As early as 1938, Harold installed lights in the front steps leading to the front door. The steps were originally wooden, but he replaced them with cement. At the same time, he rigged up a metal box with the house number in it, put a light in back and a glass

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he wanted a door on the garage side. He wanted a bathroom downstairs, because the only bathroom was upstairs. So, he figured he’d put in a very small bathroom and in it put the doorway to get to the garage. But the chimney to the house was right there: a big, brick chimney. Well the chimney came down—brick by brick. He put up a six-inch asbestos pipe, grinding down the ends so they would fit in the couplings. There was no thought of asbestos dust being a problem at that time. Over the two sides of the kitchen sink, he put glass panels as wide as the cupboards, three feet by one foot. Behind them was a little pocket with a dozen Christmas light bulbs in different colors, and a row of eight or ten light switches. Some of them would turn on

Bill, 6, and John, 11.


L O R A I N I N T H E E A R LY 1 9 0 0 ’ S

L O R A I N I N T H E E A R LY 1 9 0 0 ’ S

front—creating a lighted house number built into the step. That same year, he bought a Bendix washing machine and mounted it on a cement block a foot high and as big as the washer. When he added the breezeway between the garage and the house, he moved the washer up into that area and bolted it into the floor. He also mounted the family’s first refrigerator, a five cubic-foot refrigerator, through a wall in the kitchen. Sometimes extra holes had to be cut in walls, sometimes those cement blocks he’d poured had to be broken up so the appliance could be moved, and through it all Bill helped his father and Eva never took issue with her husband’s bold acts of home improvement. Harold and Eva in the side yard of the house in Lorain. “I don’t remember them ever arguing,” Bill said. When the old plum tree in the backyard began to die, Harold cut it off at tabletop height. Then he formed a wooden mold around the top of the stump, reinforced it with steel and alligator fence, and poured a cement tabletop. It was about five feet in diameter and three inches thick, strong enough for the kids to freely walk around on the top of it. Harold rigged a rug beating rack using two eight-inch pieces of pipe ten feet long. He buried the first three feet of the pipe in the ground, poured concrete around them, and left the remaining seven feet standing. He then ran a long pipe between them to hold rugs, which were cleaned by being beaten with a wire beater. “When we expanded the garage, we had to move those pipes,” Bill recalled. “Remember, they were three feet down with a big concrete mass on the end…but we did it.” In 1938, Harold bought hardwood boards nearly three inches wide and installed a hardwood floor in the living room. His unique method was to begin around the perimeter by the walls and spiraling around until he got to the center.

front—creating a lighted house number built into the step. That same year, he bought a Bendix washing machine and mounted it on a cement block a foot high and as big as the washer. When he added the breezeway between the garage and the house, he moved the washer up into that area and bolted it into the floor. He also mounted the family’s first refrigerator, a five cubic-foot refrigerator, through a wall in the kitchen. Sometimes extra holes had to be cut in walls, sometimes those cement blocks he’d poured had to be broken up so the appliance could be moved, and through it all Bill helped his father and Eva never took issue with her husband’s bold acts of home improvement. Harold and Eva in the side yard of the house in Lorain. “I don’t remember them ever arguing,” Bill said. When the old plum tree in the backyard began to die, Harold cut it off at tabletop height. Then he formed a wooden mold around the top of the stump, reinforced it with steel and alligator fence, and poured a cement tabletop. It was about five feet in diameter and three inches thick, strong enough for the kids to freely walk around on the top of it. Harold rigged a rug beating rack using two eight-inch pieces of pipe ten feet long. He buried the first three feet of the pipe in the ground, poured concrete around them, and left the remaining seven feet standing. He then ran a long pipe between them to hold rugs, which were cleaned by being beaten with a wire beater. “When we expanded the garage, we had to move those pipes,” Bill recalled. “Remember, they were three feet down with a big concrete mass on the end…but we did it.” In 1938, Harold bought hardwood boards nearly three inches wide and installed a hardwood floor in the living room. His unique method was to begin around the perimeter by the walls and spiraling around until he got to the center.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

The house is still standing and still has the original roof from the year it was built, 1917. Bill visited the house a few years back. “Lou was visiting her sister at Berea, and I drove out to 317,” he said. “The folks who owned it were out in the yard, so I stopped and introduced myself and said, ‘I was born in that front bedroom.’ We talked about the house and what was changed in it. I noticed the gas meter was in a different location. Turned out a past owner had had a fight with the gas company and had put in a wood stove in the living room. They offered to take me inside, but I thought about a wood stove sitting on top of Dad’s beautiful hardwood floor and I didn’t want to see it. I’d rather have my memories, my 317.”

The house is still standing and still has the original roof from the year it was built, 1917. Bill visited the house a few years back. “Lou was visiting her sister at Berea, and I drove out to 317,” he said. “The folks who owned it were out in the yard, so I stopped and introduced myself and said, ‘I was born in that front bedroom.’ We talked about the house and what was changed in it. I noticed the gas meter was in a different location. Turned out a past owner had had a fight with the gas company and had put in a wood stove in the living room. They offered to take me inside, but I thought about a wood stove sitting on top of Dad’s beautiful hardwood floor and I didn’t want to see it. I’d rather have my memories, my 317.”

Idyllic Childhoods

Idyllic Childhoods

The U.S. stock market crashed October 29, 1929, and the Great Depression followed, bringing instant poverty and homelessness. Unemployment rates soared to over 25 percent and banks failed when customers began pulling out their money. Unemployment and home foreclosures and bread lines were the norm. Like many children who came along during the Great Depression, neither Bill nor Lou felt knew there was a problem. Life consisted of family, church, and neighborhood. “In the early 1930s, my dad was earning five dollars a day and working two days a week,” Bill said. “He made a deal with the bank to just pay the interest on the mortgage and stay in the house. The bank was happy to have the house taken care of. As of this writing, the fall of 2008, foreclosures are again big news. But we never went hungry, and we always had milk. Lou’s family never went hungry, either.” Each weekday morning, a horse-drawn carriage clip-clopped through the streets delivering fresh milk in glass bottles. A well-trained horse was essential to the driver of the Lorain Creamery milk wagon. He would load up a rack with a half-dozen bottles, deliver to several houses, whistle for the horse, and the faithful animal would walk up the street to meet his master. Together, the man-and-horse team would progress through neighborhoods to deliver milk efficiently. “The horse’s name was Bill,” Bill recalled. “How’s that for memory?” The Lorain Creamery stood on Oberlin Avenue at 14th Street. The office and storefront, where ice cream was sold, was an attractive, residential-type building; behind the store was the dairy farm. A large ice cream cone cost five cents. For three cents, Bill could buy a jelly doughnut on the way to school and hitch a ride on the horse-drawn bakery wagon. In the summer of 1930, a suspense radio show debuted to the delight of the country. The opening lines—Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!— thrilled those lucky enough to own a radio. Wireless telegraphy

The U.S. stock market crashed October 29, 1929, and the Great Depression followed, bringing instant poverty and homelessness. Unemployment rates soared to over 25 percent and banks failed when customers began pulling out their money. Unemployment and home foreclosures and bread lines were the norm. Like many children who came along during the Great Depression, neither Bill nor Lou felt knew there was a problem. Life consisted of family, church, and neighborhood. “In the early 1930s, my dad was earning five dollars a day and working two days a week,” Bill said. “He made a deal with the bank to just pay the interest on the mortgage and stay in the house. The bank was happy to have the house taken care of. As of this writing, the fall of 2008, foreclosures are again big news. But we never went hungry, and we always had milk. Lou’s family never went hungry, either.” Each weekday morning, a horse-drawn carriage clip-clopped through the streets delivering fresh milk in glass bottles. A well-trained horse was essential to the driver of the Lorain Creamery milk wagon. He would load up a rack with a half-dozen bottles, deliver to several houses, whistle for the horse, and the faithful animal would walk up the street to meet his master. Together, the man-and-horse team would progress through neighborhoods to deliver milk efficiently. “The horse’s name was Bill,” Bill recalled. “How’s that for memory?” The Lorain Creamery stood on Oberlin Avenue at 14th Street. The office and storefront, where ice cream was sold, was an attractive, residential-type building; behind the store was the dairy farm. A large ice cream cone cost five cents. For three cents, Bill could buy a jelly doughnut on the way to school and hitch a ride on the horse-drawn bakery wagon. In the summer of 1930, a suspense radio show debuted to the delight of the country. The opening lines—Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!— thrilled those lucky enough to own a radio. Wireless telegraphy

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L O R A I N I N T H E E A R LY 1 9 0 0 ’ S

had been around in Europe since the 1800s, but the idea of commercial radio broadcasts was unimaginable in the United States until amateurs figured it out just before the beginning of World War I. When the U.S. declared war on Germany, the U.S. government tried to shut down all amateur radio stations and enlist the operators in the military. At the end of the war, radio took off. The detective story of The Shadow, an invincible and unseen crime fighter, was so popular it ran for the next twenty-four years. In the Kozonics’ house, the coal furnace had been replaced by a central heating system Bill, 5; Harold, and John, 11 years old, in using a gas furnace, with forced air moving back of 317 Alexander in Lorain, Ohio, (a neighbor’s house is visible in the distance). through ductwork. Lou would often pull a chair close to the heat register and lean forward to hear radio shows. Another popular radio show was Fibber McGee and Molly, a husband-and-wife vaudeville team who premiered situation comedy—a form of entertainment that has never lost its charm. Bill and Lou were lucky to have innocent childhoods. They took care of their given chores at home and in their free time enjoyed swimming or boating in Lake Erie, riding bicycles and going roller skating or ice skating. Gas was rationed at that time, but no gas nor money was needed to play in the lake, a few tantalizing blocks away. “Living so close to Lake Erie, I spent a lot of time down there, summer and winter,” Bill said. “My parents thought if they could raise two boys and not lose them to the lake, that would be a real accomplishment!” In the winter, I would ride my bike down, gather speed along the lake bank and jump, about a five-foot-drop, off the seawall

had been around in Europe since the 1800s, but the idea of commercial radio broadcasts was unimaginable in the United States until amateurs figured it out just before the beginning of World War I. When the U.S. declared war on Germany, the U.S. government tried to shut down all amateur radio stations and enlist the operators in the military. At the end of the war, radio took off. The detective story of The Shadow, an invincible and unseen crime fighter, was so popular it ran for the next twenty-four years. In the Kozonics’ house, the coal furnace had been replaced by a central heating system Bill, 5; Harold, and John, 11 years old, in using a gas furnace, with forced air moving back of 317 Alexander in Lorain, Ohio, (a neighbor’s house is visible in the distance). through ductwork. Lou would often pull a chair close to the heat register and lean forward to hear radio shows. Another popular radio show was Fibber McGee and Molly, a husband-and-wife vaudeville team who premiered situation comedy—a form of entertainment that has never lost its charm. Bill and Lou were lucky to have innocent childhoods. They took care of their given chores at home and in their free time enjoyed swimming or boating in Lake Erie, riding bicycles and going roller skating or ice skating. Gas was rationed at that time, but no gas nor money was needed to play in the lake, a few tantalizing blocks away. “Living so close to Lake Erie, I spent a lot of time down there, summer and winter,” Bill said. “My parents thought if they could raise two boys and not lose them to the lake, that would be a real accomplishment!” In the winter, I would ride my bike down, gather speed along the lake bank and jump, about a five-foot-drop, off the seawall

John gives Bill a hug.

John gives Bill a hug.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

Longfellow Elementary School in Lorain, 1924. Bill is on the back row, second from right.

Longfellow Elementary School in Lorain, 1924. Bill is on the back row, second from right.

onto the ice. The ice was thick, no problem, but it was enough to break a bike in half. The pedals would always tear off, because they were sticking out to the side, and I’d just put ‘em back on and do it again. Of course, I had a 40-pound 1935 Colson bike; compare that to the ten-pound bikes of today. My son, Tim, has that bike in his attic somewhere. The serial number is 1161I.” Lou also had a bicycle, hers a bit newer: 1938. “My mother got me a bike because she didn’t like me riding around on the handlebars of the boys’ bikes!” Lou said. “I was about 13 or 14. I remember going down to Frederick’s Bicycle Shop on Broadway, they bought me the bike, and I rode it home. I don’t remember anyone teaching me how to ride a bike; I just got on and rode.” “On the north side of town near Lake Erie was a city park that would be flooded each winter for skating,” Bill said. “My dentist’s family lived across from the park, so I would call them in the winter when it was freezing and ask, ‘Are they skating tonight?’ If so, we would go skating. Or we would get on a 12-man bobsled, and one of my friend’s father would pull us behind his tow truck. That was before the streets were plowed like they are today.” It was about this time that Lou’s older sister, mag, married Ken Ives. Being six years older than Bill, John sometimes pushed his weight around, as older siblings are wont to do. “We never had any real battles,” Bill said. “He used to hit me in the arm. Then, one day we got into a tussle and he found out I could pin

onto the ice. The ice was thick, no problem, but it was enough to break a bike in half. The pedals would always tear off, because they were sticking out to the side, and I’d just put ‘em back on and do it again. Of course, I had a 40-pound 1935 Colson bike; compare that to the ten-pound bikes of today. My son, Tim, has that bike in his attic somewhere. The serial number is 1161I.” Lou also had a bicycle, hers a bit newer: 1938. “My mother got me a bike because she didn’t like me riding around on the handlebars of the boys’ bikes!” Lou said. “I was about 13 or 14. I remember going down to Frederick’s Bicycle Shop on Broadway, they bought me the bike, and I rode it home. I don’t remember anyone teaching me how to ride a bike; I just got on and rode.” “On the north side of town near Lake Erie was a city park that would be flooded each winter for skating,” Bill said. “My dentist’s family lived across from the park, so I would call them in the winter when it was freezing and ask, ‘Are they skating tonight?’ If so, we would go skating. Or we would get on a 12-man bobsled, and one of my friend’s father would pull us behind his tow truck. That was before the streets were plowed like they are today.” It was about this time that Lou’s older sister, mag, married Ken Ives. Being six years older than Bill, John sometimes pushed his weight around, as older siblings are wont to do. “We never had any real battles,” Bill said. “He used to hit me in the arm. Then, one day we got into a tussle and he found out I could pin

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L O R A I N I N T H E E A R LY 1 9 0 0 ’ S

A Kevern reunion: Front row, seated: Esther Pelander, Ethel Carlson, Bob Pelander, Eva Kevern, Ida Mischka, and Harold Kevern in the foreground. Back row: Art Pelander, Harold Krauskoph, Mrs. Anderson, Frank Mischku, Betty Kevern held by Paul McNeal, Art Pelander, Jr., Myra McNeal, Rhoda Kevern, Jim Kevern III, Agnes Carlson, Fran and John Kevern.

A Kevern reunion: Front row, seated: Esther Pelander, Ethel Carlson, Bob Pelander, Eva Kevern, Ida Mischka, and Harold Kevern in the foreground. Back row: Art Pelander, Harold Krauskoph, Mrs. Anderson, Frank Mischku, Betty Kevern held by Paul McNeal, Art Pelander, Jr., Myra McNeal, Rhoda Kevern, Jim Kevern III, Agnes Carlson, Fran and John Kevern.

him to the floor. I don’t think he ever hit me anymore.” The first tragedy that entered Bill and Lou’s lives was the onset of World War II. When Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, Bill was a 12-year-old student at Longfellow Junior High. Nazi Germany marched forward, overtaking six European countries within three months. The war would remain primarily a European problem without significant U.S. involvement for the next two years. It seemed all very far away— but before it was over, Germany would be sinking American ships off the coast of California and New York. Longfellow school was one block down D Street from the Kevern’s house on Alexander. For Bill, it was a quick walk—or run: “I could see the school from my house,” he said. “From my bedroom, I’d hear the school

him to the floor. I don’t think he ever hit me anymore.” The first tragedy that entered Bill and Lou’s lives was the onset of World War II. When Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, Bill was a 12-year-old student at Longfellow Junior High. Nazi Germany marched forward, overtaking six European countries within three months. The war would remain primarily a European problem without significant U.S. involvement for the next two years. It seemed all very far away— but before it was over, Germany would be sinking American ships off the coast of California and New York. Longfellow school was one block down D Street from the Kevern’s house on Alexander. For Bill, it was a quick walk—or run: “I could see the school from my house,” he said. “From my bedroom, I’d hear the school

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Bill about nine years old.

Bill about nine years old.


KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

bell and run like hell to get to class on time. I could almost hear the school bell start ringing and be there before it stopped!” Since television had not yet invaded American homes, most folks got their news by leaning close to their radios; eventually short news films were shown at The Palace and other theaters across the United States. Lou’s parents were fortunate to own a car, a 1938 orange Chevy. The first time Lou’s father took her out for a driving lesson, she was a bit timid with the gas pedal. As she returned home and approached the steep driveway, she was driving slowly and cautious. “Gun it!” her father said, “I almost drove right into the house,” Lou laughed.

bell and run like hell to get to class on time. I could almost hear the school bell start ringing and be there before it stopped!” Since television had not yet invaded American homes, most folks got their news by leaning close to their radios; eventually short news films were shown at The Palace and other theaters across the United States. Lou’s parents were fortunate to own a car, a 1938 orange Chevy. The first time Lou’s father took her out for a driving lesson, she was a bit timid with the gas pedal. As she returned home and approached the steep driveway, she was driving slowly and cautious. “Gun it!” her father said, “I almost drove right into the house,” Lou laughed.

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An elated Mag Kozonics Ives with her groom, Ken Ives, in 1938.

L O R A I N I N T H E E A R LY 1 9 0 0 ’ S

An elated Mag Kozonics Ives with her groom, Ken Ives, in 1938.

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“On the high side,” Bill said, describing this 1943 photo of his first Comet “Effie”, in action on Lake Erie. Bill is in the back, tiller in hand; Nugent Shrenk is in front crewing the #392.

“On the high side,” Bill said, describing this 1943 photo of his first Comet “Effie”, in action on Lake Erie. Bill is in the back, tiller in hand; Nugent Shrenk is in front crewing the #392.


COMING OF AGE

COMING OF AGE

! FOUR" Coming of Age

! FOUR" Coming of Age

Working in Lorain

Working in Lorain

Like many high school kids, Bill and Lou both worked. Lou waitressed part time in restaurants and clerked in ladies’ fashions in local department stores. As a teenager, she enjoyed going downtown on Saturday nights, when stores stayed open late. She might walk the whole way with some girlfriends, or just walk from 33rd Street to 28th Street to catch a streetcar headed downtown. For a year and a half after school and on weekends, Bill earned two bits (twenty-five cents) an hour serving soda pop and snacks from a refreshment counter in the pharmacy in Shumaker’s drug store (“before it was called Shumaker’s,” Bill recalls). It was Bill in junior high school. only two short blocks from home to the pharmacy at the intersection of Kansas and East Erie avenues. His weekend workdays were long, often from seven o’clock in the morning until 10 p.m. Saturday mornings might find him riding his bike ten miles to the Lorain Airport for a half-hour lesson in a J3 CUB. “It was a fourdollar lesson,” Bill said. “That’s a lot of money when you earn 25 cents an hour. Nothing came out of these lessons, but I did discover that flying costs a lot more than sailing!” During his freshman and sophomore years in high school, Bill worked afternoons at the Thom McCann shoe store, first polishing the brass adornments on the storefront, then as Bill in high school. shoe salesman. For a special treat, Bill would

Like many high school kids, Bill and Lou both worked. Lou waitressed part time in restaurants and clerked in ladies’ fashions in local department stores. As a teenager, she enjoyed going downtown on Saturday nights, when stores stayed open late. She might walk the whole way with some girlfriends, or just walk from 33rd Street to 28th Street to catch a streetcar headed downtown. For a year and a half after school and on weekends, Bill earned two bits (twenty-five cents) an hour serving soda pop and snacks from a refreshment counter in the pharmacy in Shumaker’s drug store (“before it was called Shumaker’s,” Bill recalls). It was Bill in junior high school. only two short blocks from home to the pharmacy at the intersection of Kansas and East Erie avenues. His weekend workdays were long, often from seven o’clock in the morning until 10 p.m. Saturday mornings might find him riding his bike ten miles to the Lorain Airport for a half-hour lesson in a J3 CUB. “It was a fourdollar lesson,” Bill said. “That’s a lot of money when you earn 25 cents an hour. Nothing came out of these lessons, but I did discover that flying costs a lot more than sailing!” During his freshman and sophomore years in high school, Bill worked afternoons at the Thom McCann shoe store, first polishing the brass adornments on the storefront, then as Bill in high school. shoe salesman. For a special treat, Bill would

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Bill in the Navy.

took Bill with him. “I was probably 14 or so,” Bill said. “After rehearsing, the guys would go out for a beer. I was Dad’s excuse: He’d tell them: ‘I’ve got to take the kid home.’ Dad had to get up at five o’clock in the morning, because he worked from 7:00 A.M to 3:00 P.M. “ Harold made electrical repairs on both Huletts and bridges. Huletts are huge crane-like unloaders with buckets on arms that reach down into a ship, bring out as much as 17 tons of iron ore and drop it into a hopper onshore. The ore is loaded onto railroad cars and taken up to the mill. “There were four ore bridges 100 feet high and 500 feet long, with legs on both ends, running down parallel tracks that are

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take a date to a show at The Palace Theatre. On weekends if he had enough money, he might take a date to a show in Cleveland to hear a live orchestra. Bill’s parents both worked at the mill, as he did in his junior and senior years of high school. As World War II dragged on, the workforce shrank, and women entered the workforce en masse. His mother, Eva, had earned a teaching certificate in 1919, which qualified her to work as a counselor for the steel company. Her job was to smooth out particular issues that arose from having women in the ranks. A true family man, Harold enjoyed being home but occasionally went to hear the local barbershop quartet rehearse. A few times, he

John (left) and Bill in front of 317 Alexander in about 1940.

Bill in the Navy.

took Bill with him. “I was probably 14 or so,” Bill said. “After rehearsing, the guys would go out for a beer. I was Dad’s excuse: He’d tell them: ‘I’ve got to take the kid home.’ Dad had to get up at five o’clock in the morning, because he worked from 7:00 A.M to 3:00 P.M. “ Harold made electrical repairs on both Huletts and bridges. Huletts are huge crane-like unloaders with buckets on arms that reach down into a ship, bring out as much as 17 tons of iron ore and drop it into a hopper onshore. The ore is loaded onto railroad cars and taken up to the mill. “There were four ore bridges 100 feet high and 500 feet long, with legs on both ends, running down parallel tracks that are

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take a date to a show at The Palace Theatre. On weekends if he had enough money, he might take a date to a show in Cleveland to hear a live orchestra. Bill’s parents both worked at the mill, as he did in his junior and senior years of high school. As World War II dragged on, the workforce shrank, and women entered the workforce en masse. His mother, Eva, had earned a teaching certificate in 1919, which qualified her to work as a counselor for the steel company. Her job was to smooth out particular issues that arose from having women in the ranks. A true family man, Harold enjoyed being home but occasionally went to hear the local barbershop quartet rehearse. A few times, he

John (left) and Bill in front of 317 Alexander in about 1940.


Harold Kevern, Bill’s father.

COMING OF AGE

COMING OF AGE

500 feet apart,” Bill said. “When they had an electrical problem, they gave two toots on the whistle, and Dad would come running to make the repairs. Winter work on the bridges was especially difficult, and cold, and he worked there until he was 64 years old.” One of Harold’s favorite tools was a pair of lineman pliers made by M. Klein & Sons, a company that has manufactured professional tools since before the American Civil War. Harold had bought the pliers new and used them steadily through the years. During World War II, he took them to the hardware store in Lorain. “He wanted the hardware store to send the pliers back to Klein for refurbishing,” Bill said. “The guy at the hardware store looked at the pliers and saw the month and year of

500 feet apart,” Bill said. “When they had an electrical problem, they gave two toots on the whistle, and Dad would come running to make the repairs. Winter work on the bridges was especially difficult, and cold, and he worked there until he was 64 years old.” One of Harold’s favorite tools was a pair of lineman pliers made by M. Klein & Sons, a company that has manufactured professional tools since before the American Civil War. Harold had bought the pliers new and used them steadily through the years. During World War II, he took them to the hardware store in Lorain. “He wanted the hardware store to send the pliers back to Klein for refurbishing,” Bill said. “The guy at the hardware store looked at the pliers and saw the month and year of

manufacture, “2-14” stamped inside the handle. He said, ‘Hey, they’re almost 40 years old and were used in a steel mill! Get new ones!’ In those days, the manager or cashier sat up on an elevated platform. When a customer paid for an item, money was sent up a cable to the cashier. The hardware store clerk took the pliers to the manager and told him that the customer wanted them refurbished. Seeing what was going on, Harold yelled up to the manager, ‘I’ve only had them a couple of years!’ “The manager looked out to see who the customer was,” Bill said, “and he recognized Dad. He asked the clerk: Is it the guy in the green cap? The clerk said, yes, it was. The manager said, ‘Tell him to go to hell!’ Back then you could tell a customer to go to hell! “ The store sent the pliers back to Klein, and after being refurbished, the original date was still in tact. “Harold used these pliers 20

Harold Kevern, Bill’s father.

manufacture, “2-14” stamped inside the handle. He said, ‘Hey, they’re almost 40 years old and were used in a steel mill! Get new ones!’ In those days, the manager or cashier sat up on an elevated platform. When a customer paid for an item, money was sent up a cable to the cashier. The hardware store clerk took the pliers to the manager and told him that the customer wanted them refurbished. Seeing what was going on, Harold yelled up to the manager, ‘I’ve only had them a couple of years!’ “The manager looked out to see who the customer was,” Bill said, “and he recognized Dad. He asked the clerk: Is it the guy in the green cap? The clerk said, yes, it was. The manager said, ‘Tell him to go to hell!’ Back then you could tell a customer to go to hell! “ The store sent the pliers back to Klein, and after being refurbished, the original date was still in tact. “Harold used these pliers 20

Lou with her grandfather, John Danyi, in Lorain at her first communion, 1938.

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Lou with her grandfather, John Danyi, in Lorain at her first communion, 1938.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

more years at the steel mill, until 1965,” Bill said. “Now, at 94 years old, they are out of service and ready to become a wall hanging. The list of owners will include my parents, Harold and Eva; my brother, John; his son, Richard, then in the summer of 2008 Richard gave them to me for the wall hanging. I also have a pair of lineman pliers that I bought in 1943 for $4.07, and I’ve used them ever since. They are marked “M. Klein & Sons, trademarked 1887.”

more years at the steel mill, until 1965,” Bill said. “Now, at 94 years old, they are out of service and ready to become a wall hanging. The list of owners will include my parents, Harold and Eva; my brother, John; his son, Richard, then in the summer of 2008 Richard gave them to me for the wall hanging. I also have a pair of lineman pliers that I bought in 1943 for $4.07, and I’ve used them ever since. They are marked “M. Klein & Sons, trademarked 1887.”

Number 21103

Number 21103

Life in Lorain revolved around making and shipping steel, and it was inevitable that Bill would work in the steel industry. “I drove my brother’s ‘37 Chevy Coupe to school and work while he was in the service,” Bill said. “A friend from school also worked at the mill. Every Friday afternoon when the school bell rang, we had exactly 15 minutes to get six or seven miles across town and punch in. We’d drive right toward the gate and then go park wherever we could. My friend would run for the gate, punch himself in, and then pull my time card and put it in the clock, ready for me to punch. After I’d parked, I’d run as fast as I could a couple hundred feet to the gate and punch my time card! I remember my pay number at the mill: 21103, and I can remember Dad’s pay number: 2136. The mill was 3 miles long. First, I was in the labor gang, in the Rolling Mill. Then I got up to the Pipe Mill and worked for Lou’s dad.” The foreman named Louie Kozonics was a good manager and a gentleman who would become Bill’s father-in-law. Louie was in charge of several crews of men, many from Central Europe: Czech, Polish, Hungarian. One day, when Bill went into the mill office and asked the Hungarian men for Louie Kozonics, no one knew who he meant. In Hungarian, the name is pronounced Kozonich. “He was a real people person,” Bill recalls, with fondness in his voice. “He had a clerk who did his paperwork, and Louie handled the men. I think he had four pipe mills under him at US Steel. I remember one day I drove him home from work and he had me stop at the Czech Grill for a shot and a beer.” Louie also liked his beer warm, European-style. Lou chimed in. “My mother would dole out Dad’s snack money every day, because my father was a very generous man. He would give money to anybody that asked for it.” “Dad was over about 250 men in a couple of different mills,” Bill said. “Pretty good for an immigrant who swam over and….” Before he can finish his sentence, Lou and Jim add, in unison, “And never went to high school!”

Life in Lorain revolved around making and shipping steel, and it was inevitable that Bill would work in the steel industry. “I drove my brother’s ‘37 Chevy Coupe to school and work while he was in the service,” Bill said. “A friend from school also worked at the mill. Every Friday afternoon when the school bell rang, we had exactly 15 minutes to get six or seven miles across town and punch in. We’d drive right toward the gate and then go park wherever we could. My friend would run for the gate, punch himself in, and then pull my time card and put it in the clock, ready for me to punch. After I’d parked, I’d run as fast as I could a couple hundred feet to the gate and punch my time card! I remember my pay number at the mill: 21103, and I can remember Dad’s pay number: 2136. The mill was 3 miles long. First, I was in the labor gang, in the Rolling Mill. Then I got up to the Pipe Mill and worked for Lou’s dad.” The foreman named Louie Kozonics was a good manager and a gentleman who would become Bill’s father-in-law. Louie was in charge of several crews of men, many from Central Europe: Czech, Polish, Hungarian. One day, when Bill went into the mill office and asked the Hungarian men for Louie Kozonics, no one knew who he meant. In Hungarian, the name is pronounced Kozonich. “He was a real people person,” Bill recalls, with fondness in his voice. “He had a clerk who did his paperwork, and Louie handled the men. I think he had four pipe mills under him at US Steel. I remember one day I drove him home from work and he had me stop at the Czech Grill for a shot and a beer.” Louie also liked his beer warm, European-style. Lou chimed in. “My mother would dole out Dad’s snack money every day, because my father was a very generous man. He would give money to anybody that asked for it.” “Dad was over about 250 men in a couple of different mills,” Bill said. “Pretty good for an immigrant who swam over and….” Before he can finish his sentence, Lou and Jim add, in unison, “And never went to high school!”

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COMING OF AGE

As an upperclassman, Bill spent weekends and summers assisting pipe-fitters and ship-fitters, first in the Lorain shipyard, then at National Tube Pipeworks, a division of U.S. Steel. “In the wintertime, I worked the steel mill, and in the summertime I worked the shipyard,” Bill said. “I was a ship fitter helper the first summer. We were sizing plates that were riveted onto the ship. At one point, I had to center-punch every half inch a 60-foot chalk line across the ship. They were going to put a bulkhead up there and needed to know where to put it. “The next summer, I worked as a pipe-fitter helper for Julius Hayes. I haven’t thought of that in years! He was a nut. We’d come into the pipe shop with a length of tubing on our shoulders and flip it off onto the ground and it would clatter. Immediately, he’d jump up and grab his foot! The boss would come running out to see who’d been hurt. Julius was a trickster: he’d pick up a light bulb, a nut, and a bolt and get to juggling, he was a pretty good juggler, then he’d turn and walk away. The Lou in the high school marching band, 1944. stuff would fall down on the steel deck, and the bulb would break! “It was summer, and I rode to work on my bicycle. They asked me what I wanted to do and I said I liked working with Norm. Norm Sensheimer lived on the west side. When his wife was pregnant, he went onto the night shift and his mother would come at night to stay with his wife. So, I went on night shift with him. We worked 11 to 6, through the night: seven hours of work and had a half hour for lunch, and we were paid for eight hours. The whistle signaling the night shift rang out at exactly eleven o’clock. “I lived on the east side and I was dating Fran Ferlick or Anne Minnick over on the west side,” Bill said. “The girls’ mothers were happy that at 10:30, I’d be on a mad dash from my date’s house back home to get changed, get back on my bike and zip that

As an upperclassman, Bill spent weekends and summers assisting pipe-fitters and ship-fitters, first in the Lorain shipyard, then at National Tube Pipeworks, a division of U.S. Steel. “In the wintertime, I worked the steel mill, and in the summertime I worked the shipyard,” Bill said. “I was a ship fitter helper the first summer. We were sizing plates that were riveted onto the ship. At one point, I had to center-punch every half inch a 60-foot chalk line across the ship. They were going to put a bulkhead up there and needed to know where to put it. “The next summer, I worked as a pipe-fitter helper for Julius Hayes. I haven’t thought of that in years! He was a nut. We’d come into the pipe shop with a length of tubing on our shoulders and flip it off onto the ground and it would clatter. Immediately, he’d jump up and grab his foot! The boss would come running out to see who’d been hurt. Julius was a trickster: he’d pick up a light bulb, a nut, and a bolt and get to juggling, he was a pretty good juggler, then he’d turn and walk away. The Lou in the high school marching band, 1944. stuff would fall down on the steel deck, and the bulb would break! “It was summer, and I rode to work on my bicycle. They asked me what I wanted to do and I said I liked working with Norm. Norm Sensheimer lived on the west side. When his wife was pregnant, he went onto the night shift and his mother would come at night to stay with his wife. So, I went on night shift with him. We worked 11 to 6, through the night: seven hours of work and had a half hour for lunch, and we were paid for eight hours. The whistle signaling the night shift rang out at exactly eleven o’clock. “I lived on the east side and I was dating Fran Ferlick or Anne Minnick over on the west side,” Bill said. “The girls’ mothers were happy that at 10:30, I’d be on a mad dash from my date’s house back home to get changed, get back on my bike and zip that

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

mile back to the shipyard. Sometimes, Norm would be driving to the eastside and see me. He’d pull up slowly, I’d grab the car door handle with one hand, steadying the bike with the other, and get pulled along for awhile. He was rarely late, and never by more than three minutes. Three o’clock in the morning is lunchtime for the night shift. Rather than blow a whistle at that time of night, somebody threw a master switch that shut down all the welders—you could hear them all over the place. Everybody would go to lunch.”

mile back to the shipyard. Sometimes, Norm would be driving to the eastside and see me. He’d pull up slowly, I’d grab the car door handle with one hand, steadying the bike with the other, and get pulled along for awhile. He was rarely late, and never by more than three minutes. Three o’clock in the morning is lunchtime for the night shift. Rather than blow a whistle at that time of night, somebody threw a master switch that shut down all the welders—you could hear them all over the place. Everybody would go to lunch.”

Bill and Boats

Bill and Boats

The story of Bill and Lou Kevern cannot take one more step without mentioning boats. While his Colson bike was a showpiece and the pride and joy of young Bill’s life, it was watercraft that truly stole his heart. Bill’s childhood was spent two blocks from Lake Erie; its waters flowed in his veins just as surely as they flowed into the North Atlantic Ocean. Put-in Bay curves around South Bass Island and is prominently marked by a three-hundred-foot pillar commemorating the Battle of Put-In-Bay and the eventual end of the War of 1812. Boats were a part of every day life in Lorain, both for work and pleasure. Most of the men young Bill knew were always tinkering with a boat or a car, including his father and brother. When Bill was 11, he borrowed his brother’s boat when no one was looking and made his trial solo. Carefully, he returned the boat, wiping the hull dry and covering the marks so no one would know the difference. From then on, he was hooked. Since John worked in the daytime, Bill was free to “borrow” the boat in the summer and after school, sailing to his heart’s content. Then, John’s boat began to fall apart and was either sold or traded away. Two years later, Bill was pedaling his bike down the alley when he spotted a discarded boat. It was the same boat that had been his brother’s. Knocking on the door of the house, he offered them two dollars for it, hoisted it to his shoulder and rode home with his prize. With the care of a dedicated hobbyist, he rebuilt the hull, deck and sail plan. Carpentry wasn’t completely new to him; he had watched his father in the garage, remodeling the house and tinkering with the old Terraplane to keep it running smoothly. Bill had seen his dad invent whatever he needed: a birdhouse, a part for home repairs, a gizmo. From Bill’s perspective, even as a 13-year-old, just about anything his mind could devise could be engineered and built. He made a tool belt out of a discarded raincoat. He sat down at his mother’s sewing machine and made a new sail for his reclaimed sailboat. The boy’s improved design featured twin leeboards and a sixteen-foot-high cat rig. For landlubbers, it is useful to explain that a cat-rigged sailboat has a single mast

The story of Bill and Lou Kevern cannot take one more step without mentioning boats. While his Colson bike was a showpiece and the pride and joy of young Bill’s life, it was watercraft that truly stole his heart. Bill’s childhood was spent two blocks from Lake Erie; its waters flowed in his veins just as surely as they flowed into the North Atlantic Ocean. Put-in Bay curves around South Bass Island and is prominently marked by a three-hundred-foot pillar commemorating the Battle of Put-In-Bay and the eventual end of the War of 1812. Boats were a part of every day life in Lorain, both for work and pleasure. Most of the men young Bill knew were always tinkering with a boat or a car, including his father and brother. When Bill was 11, he borrowed his brother’s boat when no one was looking and made his trial solo. Carefully, he returned the boat, wiping the hull dry and covering the marks so no one would know the difference. From then on, he was hooked. Since John worked in the daytime, Bill was free to “borrow” the boat in the summer and after school, sailing to his heart’s content. Then, John’s boat began to fall apart and was either sold or traded away. Two years later, Bill was pedaling his bike down the alley when he spotted a discarded boat. It was the same boat that had been his brother’s. Knocking on the door of the house, he offered them two dollars for it, hoisted it to his shoulder and rode home with his prize. With the care of a dedicated hobbyist, he rebuilt the hull, deck and sail plan. Carpentry wasn’t completely new to him; he had watched his father in the garage, remodeling the house and tinkering with the old Terraplane to keep it running smoothly. Bill had seen his dad invent whatever he needed: a birdhouse, a part for home repairs, a gizmo. From Bill’s perspective, even as a 13-year-old, just about anything his mind could devise could be engineered and built. He made a tool belt out of a discarded raincoat. He sat down at his mother’s sewing machine and made a new sail for his reclaimed sailboat. The boy’s improved design featured twin leeboards and a sixteen-foot-high cat rig. For landlubbers, it is useful to explain that a cat-rigged sailboat has a single mast

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COMING OF AGE

carried forward, near the front of the boat. Leeboards, used for many years by Dutch boat builders, are a lifting foil, placed leeward—on the downwind side. Bill’s face reveals the boy inside when he talks about boats. “It was the first boat I ever owned myself,” he said. “My brother took the boat out and brought it back in and said, ‘I’ll give you a buck if you sail it back up there—that far up-wind.’ I figured, What’ll it cost me? Nothing. But sailing it at first was a problem. The boat couldn’t tack through the wind: it needed a bigger rudder.” He laughs. “It capsized and I swam back to the beach.”

carried forward, near the front of the boat. Leeboards, used for many years by Dutch boat builders, are a lifting foil, placed leeward—on the downwind side. Bill’s face reveals the boy inside when he talks about boats. “It was the first boat I ever owned myself,” he said. “My brother took the boat out and brought it back in and said, ‘I’ll give you a buck if you sail it back up there—that far up-wind.’ I figured, What’ll it cost me? Nothing. But sailing it at first was a problem. The boat couldn’t tack through the wind: it needed a bigger rudder.” He laughs. “It capsized and I swam back to the beach.”

The Keverns in about 1941.

The Keverns in about 1941.

At 15, he had saved enough money to buy his first boat, a true racing craft that had just hit the sailing scene that year. The 16-foot Comet #392 cost $200, quite a lot of money for a teenager, especially in the 1940s. The Comet is built for speed and sized for either one or two people. It is easily rigged, launched, and trailered and is one of the most affordable one-design boats in its class. He named the boat Effie. She was solid cedar, with a rounded hull constructed of planks 5/8ths of an inch thick and six to ten inches wide, laid on wooden ribs. Effie weighed at least 400 pounds. She had flared topsides, a 25-foot mast, 140 square feet of sail, and a large mainsail compared to the jib. The result was a boat that could plane downwind in just 10 to 12 knots of wind, yet remain stable upwind. Classic Boat Magazine reported on the 16-foot Comet in the July, 2006 issue: “The 16-footer, which was originally known as the ‘Crab,’ drew immediate interest and, after details were published in the March 1932 issue of Yachting magazine, its editor received orders for 100 sets of plans. Her appeal lay in her simplicity and also

At 15, he had saved enough money to buy his first boat, a true racing craft that had just hit the sailing scene that year. The 16-foot Comet #392 cost $200, quite a lot of money for a teenager, especially in the 1940s. The Comet is built for speed and sized for either one or two people. It is easily rigged, launched, and trailered and is one of the most affordable one-design boats in its class. He named the boat Effie. She was solid cedar, with a rounded hull constructed of planks 5/8ths of an inch thick and six to ten inches wide, laid on wooden ribs. Effie weighed at least 400 pounds. She had flared topsides, a 25-foot mast, 140 square feet of sail, and a large mainsail compared to the jib. The result was a boat that could plane downwind in just 10 to 12 knots of wind, yet remain stable upwind. Classic Boat Magazine reported on the 16-foot Comet in the July, 2006 issue: “The 16-footer, which was originally known as the ‘Crab,’ drew immediate interest and, after details were published in the March 1932 issue of Yachting magazine, its editor received orders for 100 sets of plans. Her appeal lay in her simplicity and also

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

her performance on the water. Easily driven to windward, she would plane off the wind and proved to be popular with both beginners and experienced sailors alike. Further publicity and interest came from the 1933 New York Boat Show, during which a model of the Star Junior [in what would become the Comet class] was featured in Yachting magazine. The magazine’s editor, Herbert L Stone, saw great potential in the design and, with the help of John Eiman and Wilbur H Haines, two sailors from Stone Harbor YC in New Jersey, helped set up the class as it exists today.” Effie was made for a two-man crew— ”better for dating,” Bill muses. “Remember, this was during World War II, when automobile gas Charles Kozonics (left) and Louis Kozonics in the late 1940s. was rationed to two gallons a week for the whole family. We did a lot of walking in those days, and sailboats don’t use gasoline.” When he turned 16, Bill was considered old enough to work at the mill. It operated round-the-clock, with workers on shifting schedules. Since Bill was in high school, his work was limited to weekends and summers. And, he already suffered from a severe sailing streak. In order to fit it all in, he doubled up his shifts at the mill to allow for sailing time. “I didn’t want to work eight hours Saturday and eight hours Sunday— that would interfere with my sailing, so I’d put in two shifts: one after the other. After school Friday I’d go to the mill, work sixteen hours, go home and sleep a couple of hours, then get up and go sailing. I had no problem at all keeping that schedule.” The Terraplane was one of Detroit’s early automobiles. Created by Hudson a few years before the Great Depression, it was soon redesigned in a lower-priced model, with the famous aviator Amelia Earhart as an initial spokesperson. The Terraplane was precision-made (Orville Wright bought one for himself ) and came with either eight or six cylinders. Harold Kevern bought a 1936 Hudson Terraplane, the last year it was manufactured. “It had an electric hand gear shift, like a flipper,” Bill said. “It was just a little lever that had an ‘H’ on it, and you would flip it from one gear to the next. While you’re using first, flip it into second; while you’re in second, flip it into high. To get it into reverse, you had to pull the lever up, so you couldn’t flip it into reverse by accident. I remember one time we got it back from a parking attendant and he’d forced it into reverse. He bent the ‘H’ out of it!”

her performance on the water. Easily driven to windward, she would plane off the wind and proved to be popular with both beginners and experienced sailors alike. Further publicity and interest came from the 1933 New York Boat Show, during which a model of the Star Junior [in what would become the Comet class] was featured in Yachting magazine. The magazine’s editor, Herbert L Stone, saw great potential in the design and, with the help of John Eiman and Wilbur H Haines, two sailors from Stone Harbor YC in New Jersey, helped set up the class as it exists today.” Effie was made for a two-man crew— ”better for dating,” Bill muses. “Remember, this was during World War II, when automobile gas Charles Kozonics (left) and Louis Kozonics in the late 1940s. was rationed to two gallons a week for the whole family. We did a lot of walking in those days, and sailboats don’t use gasoline.” When he turned 16, Bill was considered old enough to work at the mill. It operated round-the-clock, with workers on shifting schedules. Since Bill was in high school, his work was limited to weekends and summers. And, he already suffered from a severe sailing streak. In order to fit it all in, he doubled up his shifts at the mill to allow for sailing time. “I didn’t want to work eight hours Saturday and eight hours Sunday— that would interfere with my sailing, so I’d put in two shifts: one after the other. After school Friday I’d go to the mill, work sixteen hours, go home and sleep a couple of hours, then get up and go sailing. I had no problem at all keeping that schedule.” The Terraplane was one of Detroit’s early automobiles. Created by Hudson a few years before the Great Depression, it was soon redesigned in a lower-priced model, with the famous aviator Amelia Earhart as an initial spokesperson. The Terraplane was precision-made (Orville Wright bought one for himself ) and came with either eight or six cylinders. Harold Kevern bought a 1936 Hudson Terraplane, the last year it was manufactured. “It had an electric hand gear shift, like a flipper,” Bill said. “It was just a little lever that had an ‘H’ on it, and you would flip it from one gear to the next. While you’re using first, flip it into second; while you’re in second, flip it into high. To get it into reverse, you had to pull the lever up, so you couldn’t flip it into reverse by accident. I remember one time we got it back from a parking attendant and he’d forced it into reverse. He bent the ‘H’ out of it!”

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COMING OF AGE

COMING OF AGE

“My dad rebuilt the Terraplane engine after it blew a head gasket. He had ground the head and it blew a gasket again. Alfie Young, a friend of his, said, ‘Harold, why don’t you just take the head out on the sidewalk, put water on it and file it.’ We got down on our knees and that’s exactly what we did. We ground that head flatter on the sidewalk than they had in the machine shop. After that, it ran forever. Bill devised his own methods of learning to drive. “I never took lessons,” he said. “John had a’37 Chevy coupe I borrowed a time or two. When he went into the Coast Guard, it was kept in Ault’s garage, four doors up the street. One day, I took it out without permission. I put it in reverse and tried to start it with no success. There was a dusting of snow on the ground. I pushed John’s car out into the street and it wouldn’t start. Then I was desperate, because I didn’t have permission. Finally, I got it started and drove awhile, which recharged the battery. Then I took it back to the garage and went on home. On graduation night, I drove it with permission. I was driving some people home, and one guy was lying up on the shelf behind the seat. I was concerned because I had had one beer.”

“My dad rebuilt the Terraplane engine after it blew a head gasket. He had ground the head and it blew a gasket again. Alfie Young, a friend of his, said, ‘Harold, why don’t you just take the head out on the sidewalk, put water on it and file it.’ We got down on our knees and that’s exactly what we did. We ground that head flatter on the sidewalk than they had in the machine shop. After that, it ran forever. Bill devised his own methods of learning to drive. “I never took lessons,” he said. “John had a’37 Chevy coupe I borrowed a time or two. When he went into the Coast Guard, it was kept in Ault’s garage, four doors up the street. One day, I took it out without permission. I put it in reverse and tried to start it with no success. There was a dusting of snow on the ground. I pushed John’s car out into the street and it wouldn’t start. Then I was desperate, because I didn’t have permission. Finally, I got it started and drove awhile, which recharged the battery. Then I took it back to the garage and went on home. On graduation night, I drove it with permission. I was driving some people home, and one guy was lying up on the shelf behind the seat. I was concerned because I had had one beer.”

World War II Emerges

World War II Emerges

While not yet formally engaged in World War II, the U.S. had enacted a pre-war (sometimes called peacetime) draft; conscriptees were required to serve one year. In 1941, by a one-vote margin, Congress extended the one-year draft. While the War in Europe intensified, the Pacific Theatre seemed about to calm down as negotiations took place between Japanese and American diplomats. It was not to be. On December 7, 1941, Japan attempted to demolish the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to clear the way for its war in Southeast Asia. The aerial attack destroyed 188 U.S. aircraft, wrecked two U.S. Navy battleships, two destroyers and a minelayer, killed more than 2,300 and wounded more than 1,100. President Roosevelt addressed a stunned Congress, and the U.S. entered the war against Japan with full force. After Pearl Harbor, Congress extended the draft to men age 18-38 (at one point, 18-45). As a result, ten million men were drafted through the

While not yet formally engaged in World War II, the U.S. had enacted a pre-war (sometimes called peacetime) draft; conscriptees were required to serve one year. In 1941, by a one-vote margin, Congress extended the one-year draft. While the War in Europe intensified, the Pacific Theatre seemed about to calm down as negotiations took place between Japanese and American diplomats. It was not to be. On December 7, 1941, Japan attempted to demolish the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to clear the way for its war in Southeast Asia. The aerial attack destroyed 188 U.S. aircraft, wrecked two U.S. Navy battleships, two destroyers and a minelayer, killed more than 2,300 and wounded more than 1,100. President Roosevelt addressed a stunned Congress, and the U.S. entered the war against Japan with full force. After Pearl Harbor, Congress extended the draft to men age 18-38 (at one point, 18-45). As a result, ten million men were drafted through the

Bill in the Navy, in boot camp.

Bill in the Navy, in boot camp.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

Selective Service System, and nearly six million enlisted, primarily in the U.S. Navy and Army Air Corps. Bill knew what was coming. In his senior year of high school, Bill sold his beloved Comet #392, Effie. In Europe, German troops were withdrawing: Soviet troops had captured Warsaw and Auschwitz, John, Harold and Bill in the driveway at 317 Alexander in 1946. Dresden lay in ruin after Allied fire-bombing raids. And yet, the German Army continued its offense, launching a fortified campaign to keep Hungary’s oil fields for its own use. In February 1945, U.S. Marines stormed ashore on Iwo Jima, a small volcanic island half way between the Mariana Islands and Japan. These landings opened more than a month of extremely bloody ground fighting between three Marine divisions and more than 20,000 Japanese defenders. The following day, with his eighteenth birthday approaching, Bill enlisted in the Navy. By late March, when the Marines

Selective Service System, and nearly six million enlisted, primarily in the U.S. Navy and Army Air Corps. Bill knew what was coming. In his senior year of high school, Bill sold his beloved Comet #392, Effie. In Europe, German troops were withdrawing: Soviet troops had captured Warsaw and Auschwitz, John, Harold and Bill in the driveway at 317 Alexander in 1946. Dresden lay in ruin after Allied fire-bombing raids. And yet, the German Army continued its offense, launching a fortified campaign to keep Hungary’s oil fields for its own use. In February 1945, U.S. Marines stormed ashore on Iwo Jima, a small volcanic island half way between the Mariana Islands and Japan. These landings opened more than a month of extremely bloody ground fighting between three Marine divisions and more than 20,000 Japanese defenders. The following day, with his eighteenth birthday approaching, Bill enlisted in the Navy. By late March, when the Marines

The Kevern men answer the call to duty during World War II.

The Kevern men answer the call to duty during World War II.

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COMING OF AGE

were relieved by a U.S. Army garrison, over six thousand Americans had been killed, along with about ninety percent of the Japanese. However, by then the island was already a refuge for U.S. bombers, with more facilities being actively developed. For the U.S. Marines, Iwo Jima was the most difficult of World War II’s many tough fights. It remains an enduring demonstration of the essential role of infantry when ground must be captured, even when seemingly overwhelming air and sea power is present. Iwo Jima soon became an important base for the air campaign and the eventual defeat of Japan. American B-29 bombers first attacked Tokyo with firebombs on March 9 and continued that spring, firebombing other Japanese cities and killing tens of thousands of citizens. The Battle of Okinawa, which began in March, 1945 and was led by U.S. Marines, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Bill was scheduled to be part of the medical corps serving those Marines. On April 1, 1945, the U.S. Army and Marines invaded Okinawa, Japan: before the bombing had stopped, 5,000 Marines and 110,000 Japanese had died. On April 13, 1945—Friday the thirteenth, Bill entered active duty with the U.S. Navy Reserves. His assignment was for the duration of the war, plus six months. When it came time to meet with a Naval placement officer, Bill’s interview was brief, to say the least. “You got a good grade on your GCT (General Classification Test),” the officer said. “What school do you want?” “Electrical,” Bill said. “All closed up,” the officer replied. “Diesel,” Bill offered. “All closed up,” the officer said, and taking a quick look at Bill’s paperwork, he made an instant decision. “I see you worked in a drug store in high school. You’re going to the Hospital Corps. NEXT!” Reflecting on that day, Bill said: “Navy logic.” The Navy Hospital Corps supplied medical care for the Marine Corps, which had no medical service of its own. During World War II, the Hospital Corps included 16,000 enlisted men serving on every front and in every action at sea, performing surgery while shell fragments ripped past, and carrying the dead and wounded to makeshift hospitals. Although historically, women could not serve in combat, beginning with 1943, WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) became an integral part of the U.S. Navy. Bill was sent to the other side of the country for medic training at the Farragut Naval Training Station in Idaho. Nestled at the foot of the Coer d’Alene Mountains in the Bitterroot Mountain Range, Faragut was the second largest U.S. Naval training station in the world. During the 30 months it operated, more than 293,000 recruits

were relieved by a U.S. Army garrison, over six thousand Americans had been killed, along with about ninety percent of the Japanese. However, by then the island was already a refuge for U.S. bombers, with more facilities being actively developed. For the U.S. Marines, Iwo Jima was the most difficult of World War II’s many tough fights. It remains an enduring demonstration of the essential role of infantry when ground must be captured, even when seemingly overwhelming air and sea power is present. Iwo Jima soon became an important base for the air campaign and the eventual defeat of Japan. American B-29 bombers first attacked Tokyo with firebombs on March 9 and continued that spring, firebombing other Japanese cities and killing tens of thousands of citizens. The Battle of Okinawa, which began in March, 1945 and was led by U.S. Marines, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Bill was scheduled to be part of the medical corps serving those Marines. On April 1, 1945, the U.S. Army and Marines invaded Okinawa, Japan: before the bombing had stopped, 5,000 Marines and 110,000 Japanese had died. On April 13, 1945—Friday the thirteenth, Bill entered active duty with the U.S. Navy Reserves. His assignment was for the duration of the war, plus six months. When it came time to meet with a Naval placement officer, Bill’s interview was brief, to say the least. “You got a good grade on your GCT (General Classification Test),” the officer said. “What school do you want?” “Electrical,” Bill said. “All closed up,” the officer replied. “Diesel,” Bill offered. “All closed up,” the officer said, and taking a quick look at Bill’s paperwork, he made an instant decision. “I see you worked in a drug store in high school. You’re going to the Hospital Corps. NEXT!” Reflecting on that day, Bill said: “Navy logic.” The Navy Hospital Corps supplied medical care for the Marine Corps, which had no medical service of its own. During World War II, the Hospital Corps included 16,000 enlisted men serving on every front and in every action at sea, performing surgery while shell fragments ripped past, and carrying the dead and wounded to makeshift hospitals. Although historically, women could not serve in combat, beginning with 1943, WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) became an integral part of the U.S. Navy. Bill was sent to the other side of the country for medic training at the Farragut Naval Training Station in Idaho. Nestled at the foot of the Coer d’Alene Mountains in the Bitterroot Mountain Range, Faragut was the second largest U.S. Naval training station in the world. During the 30 months it operated, more than 293,000 recruits

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

Eva and Harold Kevern in the early to mid-1950s.

Eva and Harold Kevern in the early to mid-1950s.

were trained there. Named for the Admiral David Glassgow Farragut, a Civil War Naval hero, the facility’s location was originally held secret. “I had no plans to make medicine a career, so I didn’t take it seriously at first,” he said, “until I started thinking that there might be landing craft full of Marines expecting me to save their lives.” The war in Europe was coming to a bloody end. U.S. troops liberated their first Nazi concentration camp in early April; Nazi chancellor Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30. On June 21, 1945, U.S. Army and Marine forces completed the capture of Okinawa, resulting in the deaths of 112,000 Japanese, 12,500 Americans, with 36,000 Americans wounded. The war in the Pacific was about to reach its bitter end, as well. A week after U.S. Marines invaded Okinawa, President Harry Truman approved plans to invade Japan. On August 6, the U.S. leveled Hiroshima, Japan, by detonating the world’s first atomic bomb used in warfare (others had been tested in the New Mexico desert). On August 9, the second bomb was detonated on Nagasaki, Japan. One minute after each of those explosions, nearly 100,000 people were killed and an equal number wounded. Bill had been scheduled for fleet marine training in San Diego, but he graduated from the Hospital Corps on the day that the Japanese Emperor Hirohito gave his

were trained there. Named for the Admiral David Glassgow Farragut, a Civil War Naval hero, the facility’s location was originally held secret. “I had no plans to make medicine a career, so I didn’t take it seriously at first,” he said, “until I started thinking that there might be landing craft full of Marines expecting me to save their lives.” The war in Europe was coming to a bloody end. U.S. troops liberated their first Nazi concentration camp in early April; Nazi chancellor Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30. On June 21, 1945, U.S. Army and Marine forces completed the capture of Okinawa, resulting in the deaths of 112,000 Japanese, 12,500 Americans, with 36,000 Americans wounded. The war in the Pacific was about to reach its bitter end, as well. A week after U.S. Marines invaded Okinawa, President Harry Truman approved plans to invade Japan. On August 6, the U.S. leveled Hiroshima, Japan, by detonating the world’s first atomic bomb used in warfare (others had been tested in the New Mexico desert). On August 9, the second bomb was detonated on Nagasaki, Japan. One minute after each of those explosions, nearly 100,000 people were killed and an equal number wounded. Bill had been scheduled for fleet marine training in San Diego, but he graduated from the Hospital Corps on the day that the Japanese Emperor Hirohito gave his

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COMING OF AGE

troops the order to surrender: August 17, 1945. The Farragut Naval Base was closing, and Bill was transferred to the Great Lakes Naval Hospital, where 140,000 officers and enlisted men were stationed. Driving trucks for the commissary, Bill enjoyed constant access to food supplies. Late one afternoon after work, he went into the special diet kitchen with an appetite. “I sliced an inch of cheese off a five-pound loaf and wrapped it up in wax paper,” he said. “Burke, a guy I worked with, came in to do the same thing so I handed him my cheese, and he left. I sliced off another piece, stuck it in my pocket and put the cheese away. As I was heading for the door, in came an inspection team. I had to have a reason for being in there, so I showed them the cheese. Then I got a box of crackers and had my snack. The next day, I was ‘put on report’ to the captain. The captain wanted to know if Burke was involved. Burke was the guy I had given the first slice of cheese to, but I wasn’t going to implicate my friend, so I said, No, I don’t think so, Sir. But I knew damn well he knew what was going on. “The captain called Burke in. Burke was standing at attention right beside me, in front of the captain. Burke didn’t know what I had said. Now he had a choice. Would it be worse to get involved or to jus say, No, Sir? He said, No, Sir.” The captain turned to Bill with a mild admonishment: “You probably ought to

troops the order to surrender: August 17, 1945. The Farragut Naval Base was closing, and Bill was transferred to the Great Lakes Naval Hospital, where 140,000 officers and enlisted men were stationed. Driving trucks for the commissary, Bill enjoyed constant access to food supplies. Late one afternoon after work, he went into the special diet kitchen with an appetite. “I sliced an inch of cheese off a five-pound loaf and wrapped it up in wax paper,” he said. “Burke, a guy I worked with, came in to do the same thing so I handed him my cheese, and he left. I sliced off another piece, stuck it in my pocket and put the cheese away. As I was heading for the door, in came an inspection team. I had to have a reason for being in there, so I showed them the cheese. Then I got a box of crackers and had my snack. The next day, I was ‘put on report’ to the captain. The captain wanted to know if Burke was involved. Burke was the guy I had given the first slice of cheese to, but I wasn’t going to implicate my friend, so I said, No, I don’t think so, Sir. But I knew damn well he knew what was going on. “The captain called Burke in. Burke was standing at attention right beside me, in front of the captain. Burke didn’t know what I had said. Now he had a choice. Would it be worse to get involved or to jus say, No, Sir? He said, No, Sir.” The captain turned to Bill with a mild admonishment: “You probably ought to

Louis and Mary Kozonics In the early to mid-1950s.

Louis and Mary Kozonics In the early to mid-1950s.

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KEVERN BIOGRAPHY

stop doing that.” “Burke and I both assumed the conversation would have been very different if either one of us had told the captain the full story,” Bill said. In the Navy, Bill found time—and the means, for sailing. Due to his rank, he was not authorized to use the Naval recreational boats, which were for officers only, but Bill was ever-resourceful. Part of his job was driving supply trucks for the Great Lakes Naval Hospital, he moved plenty of pies and cakes as well as other tasty dishes. “A tray of apple pies made a boat available to me a time or two,” he remembers. When he was in Idaho, I sailed on Lake Coeur d’ Alene when he was given free time. He also found the time and the means for seeing Lou. He’d catch the train to Chicago and hitchhike the next 300 miles along bumpy state roads Lou looking very grown-up in her high school (interstate highways were not built graduation photo, 1945. until the mid-1950s). As a handsome young man in a Navy uniform, it wasn’t too hard for Bill to find rides from Great Lakes to Lorain to see the apple of his eye. Nevertheless, the journey was a long one—and made at night. “Gas rationing was still in effect, and I walked a lot,” Bill said. “I’d land in Lorain at one in the morning, and coming from the west I’d get into Lou’s part of town first. I’d knock on her window, she’d let me into the living room, and we’d visit. On the other side of the living room was her parents’ bedroom. Before long, we’d hear her mother rapping on the other side of the wall. That was Lou’s mother’s signal, telling me to go home!” On Nov. 20, 1946, Bill was given an honorable discharge and sent home. “I never set foot in a landing craft,” he said, with a twinge of nostalgia in his voice. “But I got four years of college out of the deal.” The GI Bill of Rights (the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act) had gone into effect

stop doing that.” “Burke and I both assumed the conversation would have been very different if either one of us had told the captain the full story,” Bill said. In the Navy, Bill found time—and the means, for sailing. Due to his rank, he was not authorized to use the Naval recreational boats, which were for officers only, but Bill was ever-resourceful. Part of his job was driving supply trucks for the Great Lakes Naval Hospital, he moved plenty of pies and cakes as well as other tasty dishes. “A tray of apple pies made a boat available to me a time or two,” he remembers. When he was in Idaho, I sailed on Lake Coeur d’ Alene when he was given free time. He also found the time and the means for seeing Lou. He’d catch the train to Chicago and hitchhike the next 300 miles along bumpy state roads Lou looking very grown-up in her high school (interstate highways were not built graduation photo, 1945. until the mid-1950s). As a handsome young man in a Navy uniform, it wasn’t too hard for Bill to find rides from Great Lakes to Lorain to see the apple of his eye. Nevertheless, the journey was a long one—and made at night. “Gas rationing was still in effect, and I walked a lot,” Bill said. “I’d land in Lorain at one in the morning, and coming from the west I’d get into Lou’s part of town first. I’d knock on her window, she’d let me into the living room, and we’d visit. On the other side of the living room was her parents’ bedroom. Before long, we’d hear her mother rapping on the other side of the wall. That was Lou’s mother’s signal, telling me to go home!” On Nov. 20, 1946, Bill was given an honorable discharge and sent home. “I never set foot in a landing craft,” he said, with a twinge of nostalgia in his voice. “But I got four years of college out of the deal.” The GI Bill of Rights (the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act) had gone into effect

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COMING OF AGE

two years prior, affording free or partially paid college tuition for qualifying veterans. The GI Bill saved a number of America’s small, private colleges from biting the dust, including Ohio Northern University, where Bill enrolled in 1947. Some of the faculty and administration of ONU had worked without pay or with reduced pay to keep the school afloat during the war, and by the time Bill was attending classes there, enrollment had grown by nearly thirty percent each year since the war, to 1,200 (more people than the year-round population of Ada). Although the school was small, its professional programs were already winning accreditation with the American Bar Association, the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, and the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. It’s easy to picture Louise and Bill graduating from Lorain High School in 1945, leaving the graduation ceremony strolling arm in-arm together. In the same way, this faithful couple walked side-by-side through thick and thin for more than sixty years.

two years prior, affording free or partially paid college tuition for qualifying veterans. The GI Bill saved a number of America’s small, private colleges from biting the dust, including Ohio Northern University, where Bill enrolled in 1947. Some of the faculty and administration of ONU had worked without pay or with reduced pay to keep the school afloat during the war, and by the time Bill was attending classes there, enrollment had grown by nearly thirty percent each year since the war, to 1,200 (more people than the year-round population of Ada). Although the school was small, its professional programs were already winning accreditation with the American Bar Association, the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, and the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. It’s easy to picture Louise and Bill graduating from Lorain High School in 1945, leaving the graduation ceremony strolling arm in-arm together. In the same way, this faithful couple walked side-by-side through thick and thin for more than sixty years.

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Navigating Life  

The Biography of William Raymond Kevern and Louise Charlotte Kozonics Kevern

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