Excessive heat couldn't stop the more than 60 descendants of Michael and Mary Wojcinski gathered at the lower pavilion of Russell Joy Park in celebration of their 45th reunion. Hosting this year's reunion was the committee consisting of Tom and Linda Zielinski, Peter and Kim Zielinski, Elaine Zielin and Sharon and Jim Rosplock.
Festivities began at noon, followed by dinner at 1 p.m., which included reunion cake. The family meeting was held afterward, concluding with the traditional singing of the "Wojcinski Reunion Song." There were games and activities for the children and adults, as well as a Chinese auction held later in the afternoon, with many prizes awarded to enthusiastic attendees. The evening activities included a hot dog and corn roast, with watermelon and brownies for dessert, along with the annual pinochle tournament, water games, beer pong and horseshoe playing.
Tom Zielinski of Van Buren and Rita Kucharski of Erie were recognized as the oldest male and female descendants in attendance. They were presented with a boutonniere and corsage, respectively. There was one wedding reported this past year: Molly Pieri to Erik Berg in September. Molly is the daughter of the late Henry and Eleanor Wojcinski.
The two babies are the newest additions to the Wojcinski family, with their parents: They are, from left: Jacklyn B., Cora and Michiah Wojcinski, Matthew and Natalie Shuler and Crystal McAdoo.
Two deaths were reported- Robert Kittell of Silver Creek, who passed away last November (three years to the day his wife, Helen had passed), and Annabelle Grace Keough-Berek, who was the infant daughter of James Berek, on June 20, 2012. Annabelle was the granddaughter of Brian Berek, great-granddaughter of Susan Kittell Lilley and great-great granddaughter of Bob Kittell. A moment of silence was observed in their memory.
Three new family members were reported: Cora Elizabeth Wojcinski, daughter of Michiah and Jacklyn Wojcinski (March 29, 2012), Bryce Andrew Balzer, son of Kevin and Mandy Balzer, grandson of Janet and Ron Balzer of Indiana and Natalie Ann Shuler, daughter of Matthew Shuler and Crystal McAdoo of Erie, Pa., granddaughter of Pam Wojcinski. Family members are expecting Mikalena Wojcinski, daughter of Ken and Roseann Wojcinski. These three new additions are all from the branch of the late Arthur and Esther Wojcinski family.
There were two college graduations to report: Leah Woodard, daughter of Lori and Winston Woodard of Cassadaga, graduated with her bachelor's degree in science from Daemen. She is a physical therapy major who will be continuing at Daemen in pursuit of her doctorate in physical therapy. Leah is the granddaughter of the late Henry and Eleanor Wojcinski. Also, Laura Polanski, daughter of Maria and Mark Polanski, granddaughter of Rita and Ken Kucharski of Erie, Pa., graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications from Penn State. One high school graduation was reported: Kyle Benedict, son of Monica and Bob Benedict, also the grandson of Rita and Ken Kucharski. Kyle is now attending the University of Akron majoring in chemical engineering.
Several other achievements were reported. Melanie Luciano, daughter of Pamela Wojcinski, is touring with the 10,000 Maniacs as a back-up vocalist and guitar player. Also, Perpetua Wojcinski is performing in Vail, Colo., as a member of a theater group. Elaine Zielin of Buffalo, announced her retirement as a mail carrier from the U.S. Postal Service and has recently returned from a trip to Elkins, W. Va., where she attended classes at the Augusta Heritage Center during Blues Week. She also had the opportunity to perform with Roddy Barnes accompanying her on piano, in front of the instructors, musicians and students a very positive learning experience.
Several family members are currently serving in the Armed Forces: Airman first class Alex Dean currently stationed in Tucson, Ariz., has been deployed to Osan Airforce Base in South Korea. He is the son of Kathy and Bruce Dean, grandson of the late Bob and Helen Kittell. Also serving are Michiah Wojcinski, U.S. Navy, and his sister Mikalena Wojcinski, also U.S. Navy. They are the children of Ken and Roseann Wojcinski, grandchildren of the late Arthur and Esther Wojcinski. Traveling farthest to attend the reunion this year were Janet Balzer and her son Keith, along with girlfriend Debby and son Evan, coming from Columbus, IN.
The Wojcinski brother team of Bill and Bobek Wojcinski claimed the pinochle championship this year. Cousins Michiah Wojcinski and Scott Wojcinski took the beer pong doubles title, and Michiah claimed the singles title in beer pong. Michiah also took the horseshoes crown.
Family members came from Indiana, Erie, Norfolk, Va., Campbell, N.Y., and various areas of Western New York to attend this year's reunion. The reunion committee for next year the 46th consists of Bill and Cathy Wojcinski, Bob and Connie Wojcinski and their families, and will be held on or around the first weekend in August.