S: The Life of Walter and Betty
BC: Boo Boo Kitty Productions
FC: Walter and Betty
1: Betty Jane Bonnar married Walter Thomas Jasek on January 27, 1962, Saint Salomea's Church, Chicago, Illinois. This is their story.
2: How they met... Recollections of Betty As kids, we all hung out at the Roseroom, a local restaurant in Roseland. I remember meeting Wally there when I was about 16, but our paths wouldn't cross again for several years. During the summer of 1961, my cousin, Mary Smith, came to live with us from Ireland. Mary worked with Wally's sister, Jean, who arranged a date between the two of them. When Wally came to the house to pick up Mary, we instantly recognized each other. Needless to say, Wally's date with Mary was short and sweet. After their date, we sat on the porch swing and talked until 3:00 a.m. We saw each other every day until our wedding on January 27, 1962.
4: Barbara Bonnar with Betty
5: Bridesmaids: Ann Jasek (maid of honor) Barbara Bonnar Mary Smith Barbara Wisniewski Groomsmen: Ted Jasek (Best man) Andrew Bonnar Norm Martello Leroy Spadoni
7: The Protestant Irish did not like the fact that Betty was marrying Catholic; many of the "old Irish" did not attend the wedding. But as time passed, this divide faded away, effortlessly.
8: The Reception
10: Alexander Bonnar and Sarah Esler Married 1936 London, Ontario, Canada | Betty's Family Tree
11: Sarah Esler March 27, 1912 - January 9, 1999 | Sarah was born in Ballymena, Ireland where she lived on a farm with her 11 siblings. At the age of 18, she traveled to London, Ontario, Canada, to live with her siblings and work as a nanny. In London, she met and married Alexander Bonnar, a widower with 3 boys. Homesick for her family in Ireland, Sarah took a job with International Harvester to earn money so she could return home to visit her family. She retired 40 years later---a record employment. Her life was not the easiest, but she never complained. Her favorite expression was, "I want for nothing." Sarah's faith in God was steadfast as evident not only by the wear and tear on her Bible, but also from how she lived her life.
12: Alexander Bonnar, born on October 21, 1894, lived on a farm with his 11 siblings in Belfast, Ireland. His previous wife died and sadly left Alex with three boys to raise. Alex was strict, but very fair with the boys and Betty. Betty fondly remembers hiding under the kitchen table waiting for her Dad to come home from Sherwin Williams Paints. "Every night, he brought me a white paint hat." Alex passed away when Betty was 10 years old. | Alexander Bonnar October 21, 1894 - June 9, 1951
13: Andrew Bonnar 7/13/1931 -1/8/1994 married: Barbara Children: Scott & Becky | Alex Bonnar 7/19/1925 - 11/22/1975 married: Minnie Children: Barbara, Sue, JIm, Jon & Jeff | John Bonnar 7/23/1924 - 5/24/1968 married Agnes Taggert Children: Robert, John & Margilyn | The Bonnar Brothers
14: Betty Jane Bonnar
15: Betty Jane, born November 16, 1940 grew up in Roseland, Illionois. She graduated from Fenger High School and attended Fox Business School. Betty's first job was at The Chicago Tribune. As a teenager, Betty had a zest for fun which continues today. Betty fondly remembers a cold, fall night they took out the Plymouth: It was cold out and we didn't want to walk to the Roseroom. So Betty lou and I pushed the Plymouth out of the garage so my brother, Alex, across the street, wouldn't hear us (I was only 14 and didn't have my license). The next hurdle was driving the car, up hill, all the way to the Roseroom. I didn't know how to use a stick and I was afraid that if I stopped, I would roll down the hill. But where there's a will there's a way. To avoid stopping, Betty lou would jump out of the car and run up the hill and give me a signal when the traffic was clear. Once I cleared an intersection, I would slow down and Betty lou would hop in until the next intersection. We made to the Roseroom safely, but when I returned home, I had to call a friend to pull the car into the garage. We laughed all night! Betty loved growing up in the 1950s and meeting friends to do homework and have a Coke. "It was a fun time to grow up without any worries," said Betty.
16: The Bonnar Family
17: Pictured: John Bonnar, Agnes Bonnar, Walter Jasek, Betty Jasek, John Ksenzulak, Scott Bonnar | Alex's retirement party from Sherwin Williams Paint Company pictured: Alex, Sarah, Betty Jane, Minnie & Alex Bonnar
18: Sarah's Table | As the boys married and had their own families, Sarah had everyone back for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day dinners.
19: Betty and her brother, Andrew, had a special relationship. Alex and Johnny were much older and left to join the Army and Coastguard when Betty was very young. Andrew and Betty spent a lot of time together. When Betty was younger, Andrew babysat while Sarah worked at International Harvester. As Betty entered her teenage years, he even took her on his dates. Andrew taught Betty many life skills: how to jitter bug, apply makeup, and even how to drink like a lady. He was emphatic that Betty never leave the house with chipped nail polish. "He always knew how to make you feel special," Betty recalled. Andrew had a spirit for fun and was Betty's mentor and adored big brother.
20: Antonina Kicmal and Stanley Jasek Married April 28, 1923 St. Casimir Church, Chicago, IL | Wally's Family Tree
21: Antonina Kicmal December 8, 1901 - July 6, 1967 | Antonina Kicmal was born in Kasina Wielka, Poland, and came to the United States as a young 13-year-old girl. She lived in a Polish boarding house located in Hegewisch, Illinois where she met Stanley. She loved to bake and cook filling a small 10 x 10 room with jars of pickles, peaches, mushrooms and a crock of fermenting sauerkraut. In addition to raising her own six children, she cared for her two nieces who lost their parents in a fire; and, years later, she cared for a Polish orphan, Frances Pavian, who escaped a Siberian camp during World War II. She was a devout Catholic and attended daily mass.
22: Stanley Jasek was born in Wzglowka, Poland. As a young boy, one of his favorite pastimes was to climb to the top of tall evergreens and shake them until he had a good sway going. From there, he would jump from tree to tree. Needless to say, his mother attended daily mass. He, too, came to the United Sates at the age of thirteen. Stanley and Antonina met in a Hegewisch boarding house, married, and bought a small farm outside of Crown Point, Indiana. They later sold the farm and moved to Roseland where they raised 6 children. Stanley worked as a steam fitter for the Pullman Standard Company. He lived frugally, but managed to save $7,000 in coins which he stored in the basement pipes---any place but a bank. He used the money for a down payment on a house. | A | Stanley Jasek | May 8, 1896 - April 24, 1972
24: Stanley 1926 - 1929 | Mary May 22, 1924 - May 31, 2013 Married: George Lewis Children: George, Tom | Ted July 9, 1928 - October 15, 2005 Married: Ann Schmidt Children: Mary, Mark | Mary | Back row: Mary, Ted Stella, Helen, Jean, Wally
25: Helen, Busia, Stella, Jean, Dzaidaz, Wally | Stella October 10, 1930 - 1977 Married: Chip Zalewski Children: Kathy, Emily, John | Helen October 27, 1932 Married: Al Laurin Children: Ron, Mike and Joe | Jean May 6, 1934 Married: Virgil Brevak Children: George, Toni, Sean | Helen, Jean, Wally | Wally November 26, 1936 Married: Betty Jane Bonnar Children: Karen, Richard | Ted and Wally
26: Walter Thomas Jasek
27: Walter Thomas Jasek, born on November 21, 1936, also grew up in Roseland, IL. Roseland was called the City of Churches where each ethnic group established their neighborhood around a Church. St. Solomea was the Polish Church the Jasek family attended for school and worship. Growing up, Wally helped tend to the 500 chickens they raised in the attic on their 35-foot city lot. He would put fresh paper down daily, and cut heads off when it was time, but he could never pluck them. "The chickens sold like crazy because they never touched the ground," Wally recalled. At the age of 12, Wally left home to attend St. Bonaventure's boarding school to become a priest. After high school, he decided the priesthood was not his calling, and joined the Army. After his deployment, he worked for the phone company, and met his wife, Betty. Wally remembers his childhood fondly, "We didn't have a lot of money, but it was a time of trust. We never locked our door at night."
28: The Army Years Wally joined the Army in 1958, training for 8 weeks in Fort Lenordwood, Missouri and then in Fort Chaffee Arkansas. From there, he transferred to Nuremberg, Germany where he spent two years working in both intelligence and communications.
29: Recollections from Wally One night while on border patrol, we mistakenly crossed into communist Czechoslovakia. Wearing large, bulky clothing and carrying guns, we wandered into a hall where a lively band was playing. Although it took some time, we finally convinced them that we came in peace. As we departed, they sang "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley." Nothing like beer and dancing to establish peace.
30: The Jasek Family | Wally, Mary (neighbor), Ma, Helen, Corrine, Ted, front: George Lewis, Georgie Lewis, Frank (neighbor) | Wally, Pa, Ma, Ted
31: Emily, Kathy, Ronnie, Busia
33: The Early Years
34: Karen Marie Jasek Born December 3, 1962
36: Karen's 1st birthday
38: Richard Thomas Jasek Born April 2, 1965
39: Richard's 3rd Birthday
44: Cousins | Mark Jasek, Tom Lewis, Mary Jasek, Karen Jasek, Ronnie Laurin, Richard Jasek (front row) | George Brevak, Richard, Karen, Toni Brevak
45: Family Gatherings
47: The Homewood Gang
48: Wisconsin Dells | Family Travels
49: Monte Carlo | Florida with the Tyburski's | The Bahamas | Colorado | ...In Memory of WeeWee
50: Make Great | Las Vegas with Gerry, Marge, Norm & Carol | State Farm trip with Barb & Jim Murray
51: Betty and Wally visited Sarah's family farm in Bellymena, Ireland. Their most memorable night was visiting Sarah's cousins who lived in a cottage without heat or electricity. When Wally asked how they kept the fire going, the cousin replied, "I don't know, it hasn't gone out since I was born." They drank tea in fine cups, sang Irish songs and told stories all evening. | Ireland
53: Captain Wally!
54: George Lewis, Mary Lewis, Betty Jasek, Al Laurin, Helen Laurin, Sarah Bonnar | Chirstmas, a special tradition
55: Richard and Shadow | Dziadzi and Richard
56: Presents from Al Laurin pictured: Mary Lewis, Jean Brevak, Ann Jasek, Betty Jasek, Helen Laurin
58: Richard & Laura's Wedding September 25, 1992
59: St. Mary's Church, Mokena
60: Karen & Tom's Wedding St. Vincent DePaul Church, Chicago Reception, Chicago Historical Society June 26, 1993
62: How I met The Jasek Family by: Laura Zielinski-Jasek In mid-1990, while working for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, I met a wonderful man... his name was Walter Jasek. Wally was one of my first "sales calls" with my new employer. Although I was nervous, he was warm, funny, and always made me feel welcome at his State Farm office. I enjoyed the many pictures of family seen all throughout the office. I was unaware that I would soon get to know those faces better. In the fall of 1990, I was involved in a minor car accident while on the job. I was contacted by the representative from Enterprise's insurance department, Richard Jasek. To him, I was "Crash" and we enjoyed talking on the phone even though we hadn't met in person. In the Spring of 1991 we were required to go to traffic court for my accident. This is the first time we met face-to-face, and Richard asked me out for later that evening. We had a wonderful time and we began dating from that night on. It didn't take long before I fell in love...not just with Rich, but with his entire family. Wally was just as welcoming in his home as he had been in his office. Betty always looked so beautiful and was the perfect hostess! Karen was warm and fun. And Casey aka Boo-Boo was adorable! I still get misty when I think of how completely they welcomed me into their lives. I am truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful family with their endless kindness, generosity and wonderful traditions. I love them with all my heart!
64: Isabel Gilday 2/14/2000 | Thomas Gilday 8/31/2001 | Seton Gilday 5/2/1996 | Catherine Gilday 11/24/1994 | The Grandkids
65: Molly Jasek 6/13/1995 | Nolan Jasek 9/17/1996
66: No Easter is complete without Swienconka! | Easter in Maryland 2003
67: 2011 | Fun at Nana and Papa's House | Guns, big jewelry, slot machines & rainbow cones, everyone had fun at Nana & Papas house.
68: Nana giving Molly and Catherine their first jewelry lesson: "Go big or go home; more is always better."
69: Papa paid big money to anyone who made snow angels in 20 degrees weather.
70: Walt Disney with the Grandkids
72: The Pools Open!
73: Many Family and Friends Gathered
74: Nana and Papa never missed a grandchild event!
76: Christmas with the Grandkids | Christmas is Dad's favorite holiday. When Tom asked for permission to marry me, Dad said, "On one condition: You must bring her home every Christmas." We only missed one in 20 years." Karen Jasek Gilday
77: Oplatki, A Christmas Eve Tradition Every Christmas Eve, Dad passes out a thin, blessed wafer called Oplatki, or angel bread. Guests then break off a piece of their wafer and exchange it with others while greeting them with a kiss and good wishes. It is a reminder of the importance of Christmas, God, and family. After supper and a few good Cosmopolitans (an Irish tradition), we gather around the piano and sing Christmas carols until Santa arrives.
78: nobody was ever naughty | Santa is here!
83: An Irish Tradition The Christmas Eve Cosmopolitan Recipe
84: Las Vegas, a Favorite destination | 2010, The family gathered at the Bellagio Hotel to celebrate James' 40th birthday.
85: Dinner parties are always in style: then and now
86: Betty's 70th Surprise Party
87: Wildfire Restaurant in OakBrook was the setting for a wonderful night of family and friends, with Betty as the guest of honor!
88: What was your childhood experience growing up with 3 older brothers? I loved all my brothers, but was very close to Andrew. There were 9 years between us. He taught me how to dance before the 7th grade social, and advised me on manners, makeup, how to act and how not to. Do you have a favorite childhood memory? When my Dad was alive we would always go to Canada for our family vacations. We didn't have any relatives in the States, and I loved going there every year to visit them. | An interview with Betty Jasek by Karen Jasek Gilday
89: Your father died when you were 10. How did your life change? My Mom would come home from work broken hearted. Dinner time was just the two of us. After my brothers married and had their own children, my mother hosted every holiday, so there was commotion in the house. In all your pictures, you were quite fashionable. What advice would you give your granddaughters on fashion and style? Never overdo makeup; dress simply and wear big earrings or jewelry for a punch of pizzazz; and never, never wear chipped polish. | You had many hair colors over the years,what was your favorite color? Auburn, I had that color when I worked downtown as a secretary for The Chicago Tribune. If you could, what would you choose to come back as? I would love to come back as a dress designer, Coco Chanel. What advise would you like to give your grandchildren? Be yourself, be natural, people can always detect when you're not. Be happy with what you have and who you are, instead of wishing it was different.
90: An interview with Walter Jasek by Karen Jasek Gilday | What was it like growing up as a boy in a Polish section of Roseland? I grew up thinking everyone was Polish. All your local stores were owned by Polish speaking merchants, and I went to a Polish-Catholic school. Although, I do remember that we had one Greek and one Italian in our class. Do you have a favorite memory? Yes, Christmas. The whole family would gather on Christmas Eve. We would start with traditional dishes such as soup, fish, sausage, etc... Then a visit from Santa, and end the perfect evening with midnight mass. | Papa taught his kids and grandkids a Polish phrase: Ja Jestem Zaba which means "I'm a little frog." We were all affectionately called Zabas.
91: You left for St. Bonaventure's at the young age of 12 to become a priest. Did you feel a strong calling? Yes, I left the comfort and security of home to live there for four years. The friendships I developed are still strong today. How did St. Bonaventure's influence your faith? It strengthened both my faith and knowledge. What advise would you give your grandchildren today? Life without faith is not worth living. | You had many Polish sayings that you always said to us as children. Are they relevant today? Yes! Caty S wiat do ciebie sie smeje Teraz The whole world is smiling at you. Jak sie opuscielich tak bedzie spac How you make your bed that is how you will sleep. Ty musich zaplachic rddziceza-t woje pleluhy You must pay your parents back for all your dirty diapers. If you could, what would you choose to come back as? I wouldn't change one thing.
92: Definition of Poopy: (noun), pet name Wally and Betty called each other. Origin unknown.
93: Poopy + Poopy