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The above pictures are from a family portrait taken at the time of Aunt Jennie's wedding in 1924. We believe it was the last picture of the entire family, as Aunt Theresa passed away from cancer in 1926. We are using the names they were known by their sibblings.
Welcome to the Stretar family history webpage, I'm Dennis Stretar. My brother Dave and I put together the story of the Stretar family, from the birth of the family patriarch in 1869 through 1920 with the marriage of Frank Jr and Josephine (our grandparents).
a great deal credit and special thanks goes to cousin Janice Antonutti Nelson. Janice collected an oral history, with plenty of stories and anecdotes about Frank and Theresa Stretar from her mother, Jennie Fresl and aunt, Peppy Brown, as it was told to them by their parents. Click HERE for a printable PDF of her oral history of the Stretar family. Below is our family history documentary film along with a history of the Duluth Works of US Steel, produced by Duluth resident, Sammy Maida. Frank Sr was instrumental in the building of that steel mill and it was a big part of his life. It was also where his sons and many of his grandsons worked until its closing in the early 1980's.
I am currently doing research about Frank Sr's uncle and mentor, Josip Stritar, (affectionately called "Uncle Joe" by the Stretar family) who had a huge impact on his young life after he was orphaned at age 11. Uncle Joe encouraged young Frank to pursue a career as an artisan (stone mason) and later strongly encouraged the family immigration to America to get away from the political and economic turmoil going on in Eastern Europe. The working title is The Life and Times of Josip and Frank Stritar 1854-1918. I will be covering the economic, social, and geo-political environment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the Austria-Hungary Empire that Slovenia was part of, and the immigrant experience in America that impacted the Stretar family. Stay tuned for that documentary coming soon.
Our branch of the Stretar family is through Frank (1920-2008) and Irene (1923-1995) Stretar. Our father was the first born son of Frank Jr and was born in Duluth, MN in December of 1920. He grew up in Morgan Park and attended Morgan Park High School where he excelled at basketball, setting many school records and was selected for the 1937 All-State team as a junior. In the summer of 1937, with the depression still ongoing, Uncle Tony made a trip to Cleveland, OH and found work at Republic Steel, a major competitor to US Steel. He encouraged our grandfather, Frank Jr, to move there for fulltime employment, as the US Steel Duluth Works was only offering work two days a week at that time. That's how we ended up being from Cleveland. Our family grew to six children, Shirley (1947), Dennis (1949), David (1951), Theresa (1958), Frank (1959), and Gary (1961). Our mother, along with her sister, Mary Ann and two brothers, Al and Lee, were also first generation Americans. Their parrents were John and Theresa (Gagliardo) Tolaro who immigrated here in 1907 and 1909 respectively from Sicily. Below we have the story of our dad's involvement in WWII as a Marine in the Pacific Theater as well, which is quite a story in itself. We grew up having our grandfather, Frank Jr, Uncle Tony, and Aunt Alice living in Cleveland. We got to know our Great Grandma Stretar with two visits she made to Cleveland, one in 1957 for the funeral of our Grandpa Stretar and the other in the early 1960's. We also had several visits from Aunts Jennie and Peppy over the years. They all had a wonderful influence on us growing up.
I am creating a photo page of family members and encourage you to send pictures (with identifying captions with the year) to Dave at email@example.com and I will be sure to post them. Any pictures of the children of the original Stretar kids would be great (both when they were young and old) along with the generations that followed. Also note my contact information at the bottom of this page. If any of our Stretar family relatives would like to compile a history of their family, I can have it posted on this webpage in text and video formats. I hope you enjoy the Stretar Family History documentary!