Saturday, May 17, 2014

Introducing a few more Kunshiers

When I signed the contract I never saw anything that said I had to write only about dead people.  A recent contact, with newly discovered cousin Jim Kunshier yielded a plethora of new genealogical information for the family tree.  Thanks to him we were able to meet additional cousins, Iris and Lorraine.  

James Michael Kunshier and his wife Ila live in a little town called Grandy, five miles north of Cambridge, Minnesota. Their house has a beautiful view of the surrounding marshes.  The frogs and birds are everywhere.  Jim is the son of Norman C. Kunshier and Betty A. nee Biernat Kunshier.  

He and Ila Mae nee Woolcott Kunshier have three children; Jeremy, Joy and Karina.  They and their spouses and the grand children all live in the area. 

Jim enjoys cooking and gardening.  He is an advocate for straw bale plantings and is willing to share any of his recipes, including one for Bohemian Potato Dumplings. 

Grandy Skyline
 Until his recent retirement, Jim was employed in the Cambridge office of the Minnesota Department of Human Services  as a Human Services Support Specialist.   He is an avid and successful hunter and fisherman and has the pictures and trophies mounted on his walls to prove it.  

Jim may already be regretting his searching me out and laying the cousin thing on me. 

We had the opportunity to spend a couple of very delightful days visiting with Jim and Ila, meeting relatives and touring the countryside.  One evening we were treated to a home cooked meal at their home. After dinner, Jim pulled out his violin and played a few tunes.  The instrument has been in the family for generations but neglected for quite some time.  Jim rescued the instrument and had it carefully restored.  He decided it was time to get on with some violin lessons.  Now he is in demand at family gatherings, senior citizen centers and events at his church.  If he keeps it up, he may need an agent.  

Iris nee Kunshier Baran
The next relative we met was Iris Mae Kunshier who is also my 2nd cousin.  Iris was born April 15, 1925 in Columbus Township, Anoka, Minnesota.  She is the daughter of  Edward Kunshier. 

At age 19 she went to work as a bookkeeper for the First National Bank in Minneapolis. She married Theodore John Baran and they had two children, Gary and Diane.  Her husband died in 1964 and she never remarried.  

We had a chance to meet and visit with Iris, a week before her 89th birthday, at her home in suburban Minneapolis.  She has compiled a 3 Ring Binder that bulges with family photos, memoirs, and documents.  It has been her labor of love for many years.  Particularly exciting was Iris' info on Wassersuppin, a Breakthrough for research in the Czech Republic Archives

Gary Baran
A page form the note book compiled by Iris
Her son Gary and his wife Diane were also there for our visit.  Gary has retired recently from employment with the State of Minnesota.  He also has the genealogy bug and was able to share some family anecdotes and sort out family facts.  

Two days later, Jim drove us to Grantsburg, Wisconsin, to the  home of  Lorraine nee Kunshier Baker.  Lorraine is a daughter of Alexander Kunshier and Esther nee Evgen Kunshier.  Lorraine is my first cousin, once removed.

Lorraine with children, Joan, Janet and Loren
Lorraine nee Kunshier Baker

We spent part of the day with Lorraine and her daughter Janet nee Baker Roberts.

Health issues this past year kept Lorraine in a nursing home for a few months during the winter. She is home now and feeling well enough to have company, though she tires 

Kunshier, Esther and Lorraine with GF GlaeveThat is me standing tall between Lorraine, on the left, and her mother Esther nee Evgen Kunshier on the right. Not sure where the photo was taken but guessing it may have been in Forest Lake, Washington County, Minnnesota about 1945..

Lorraine told us stories about her growing up years. She remembered staying with my grand parents, Frank and Rose Schotl, and fondly recalled my mother Bernice and my aunt Pearl.  She told a story of attending Grandpa Frank's funeral with the casket placed in the front room of the house on Maryland Ave.   

Lorraine and her extended family

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