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Josephine Suda Girens

John Wegener’s aunt.

Aunt Jo was one of the kindest persons I ever knew. She and my Uncle, Lester J. Girens, lived in Zion, Illinois. My Aunt Jo was lucky to find a job with Abbott Laboratories (the pharmacy company) outside of Chicago. After the War, my Uncle also obtained a job in quality control there as well. My Aunt had extraordinary secretarial skills and at one time worked for the author, John Jakes. At Abbott she worked as an executive secretary to the President of Abbott.

At age 7, I developed rheumatic fever. My parents, who could barely make ends meet, didn’t have the money to buy the penicillin and sulfa that I needed, so Aunt Jo spoke to the president of the company. Every month, my aunt and uncle would drive up from Zion with my medications, complements of the president. My aunt always had a special interest in my sister and me. She would bring us gifts of little treats or clothes and when my mother would say, “Josephine you shouldn’t have done that” she would always reply with, “Oh it is nothing.”

After my bout with rheumatic fever my sister and I would go to Zion and spend two weeks with my aunt and uncle. They always provided us with an excellent time. She really was the glue that held our family together. She was the one who taught me to enjoy literature and was determined that I go to college. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, they came up to see me every month or so and provided me with spending money and food. We always thought that Aunt Jo and Uncle Les never had children. Five years after she had passed away, my uncle took me to the Suda Family Plot of the cemetery and showed me the grave of their unborn son, Charles. I will always remember her with great fondness. She has been gone now for many years. I received a call one night that she had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Her funeral was one of great sadness for me and my sister. After the sorrow, the fond memories returned. She was Numero Uno in my book.

Submitted by John Wegener in 2007.