Smith-Schmidt-Krawiec 55th reunion held

Back in 1903, Andrew Smith and Angeline Krawiec Smith immigrated to the United States with their son Michael on July 3 and settled in the Dunkirk area. Over the years, they had eight more children. The additions to their family were Paul Smith, George Smith, Peter Schmidt, Catherine Smith, John Schmidt, Joseph Smith, Stella Smith and Josephine Smith. (It’s never been discovered why some of the children took Smith for their family name, while others became Schmidts. Also why were these Polish immigrants not using a Polish surname!?)

They all married and in 1963, some of their children; Mary Ann Smith Burgess, Jeanette Bishop, Angeline Smith Leone, Stella Smith Granata and Rose Marie Jakubowski Licata decided to get their cousins together for a reunion.

Fifty-five years later the reunion tradition continues!! The Smith-Schmidt-Krawiec reunion took place recently at the home and farm of Joseph and Rene Granata on King Road in Forestville. An airplane hangar on the farm serves as a pavilion for the event. (When purchasing the farm after retirement from the military, it was a requirement of the young couple that there be ample room and a structure to entertain family and friends.)

The event started on Friday with a hot dog and corn roast and watching some of the family’s young men prepare the hog for roasting. Cousin Josh Woods had purchased “Barbie-Q” along with three other piglets when she weighed about 12 pounds. He dutifully nourished the piglets until Barbie outweighed the others in time for the reunion at a whooping 130 pounds. John Schmidt donated the grill. Woods; Andy, Vinny, Michael and Joe Granata; Frank Giambra and Nick Smith prepared the pig and stayed up all night attending the family’s roast pork dinner. The annual bonfire had to be canceled due to the weather.

Early Saturday, a light rain sprinkled the grounds, but by 11 a.m. the sunshine greeted the enthusiastic family members. Red and white balloons and a welcome sign greeted the reunion travelers at the road, as did the United States, Canadian and Polish flags hanging on the barn. Long tables, donated by Norm Schmidt, had been covered with red linen tablecloths and trimmed with red and white striped bunting. More matching balloon bouquets were scattered around the pavilion.

The attendees provided a delicious buffet of Polish pierogis, Polish sausage and sauerkraut, baked macaroni, salads, pickles, grilled corn, desserts and of course the sliced pig roast. Blaine Burgess had donated the use of the stainless steel grill to cook the corn and Vinny Granata manned the grill, carefully turning the soaked corn still in the husks.

A huge round table (freshly repainted in red and white by the Granata family) was used for the very popular Chinese auction. It was placed under another tent in case of rain, but it was a sunny, comfortable day. Stephanie Woods and Alexis Granata were in charge of the Auction.

A newly-purchased snow cone machine proved to be very popular with the children and the adults. Jermaine Jeaner supplied a new favorite, the Special Events Photo Booth, which offered permanent photo momentos of the day. Everyone had fun getting their pictures taken with family friends and wearing accessories provided by Jermaine.

A bounce house was provided by Kim and Ken San George. Alexis Granata organized games such as the pinata tapping, the duck game, the three-legged race, a bubble gum contest, the hula hoop contest and the farm animal tours. Egg-laying hens roamed the grounds, scratching around and relaxing. Four well-mannered family dogs welcomed visitors and loved to be petted. In the evergreen area, hidden away was a large pen for the four goats along with the hand-built milking stand for mama goat. On the other side of the farm were two pig pens. One was holding the older saved pigs sloshing around in the mud and another was holding four new piglets waiting for some grain. In the rear of the farm, behind the greenhouse, the garden and the orchard was a row of wire cages that are build on wooden frames, housing about 40 chicks each. They are moved across the meadow once daily, providing the chickens inside with a fresh, clean grassy area to enjoy. Rabbits, cats and ducks hid in the barn most of the time. The children and the adults enjoyed the “Old McDonald Farm Adventure.”

The jungle gym was used this year, but the swimming pool was a bit cool to enjoy. Maybe next time! Door prizes were awarded, with everyone trying to get the set of fold-up chairs with attached tables won by Matta and Donna Smith. Pat Gollnitz and Shirley Smith won smaller door prizes donated by Lillian Giambra and Jeanette Meadows. Stephanie Woods won the children’s door prize. The 50/50 was awarded.

George Giambra provided all kinds of music and Joe Granata provided a microphone and sound system. Shirley Smith provided Polish polka music also.

The wedding anniversary of Ron and Laurie Leone Siracuse was acknowledged.

Weddings that were recorded were: Brittany Kron and Brad Kania on May 12, 2017. Brittany is the daughter of Debbie and Don Kron and the granddaughter of Jeanette Meadows and the late Donald Foster.

Also: Kathy San George Hinchcliff married Ken Kemp. Kathy is the daughter of the late Bertalee and Samuel San George.

Births recorded are: Gavin Scott Granata on Sept. 8, 2016 to Vinny and Allie Granata of Rochester, New York and Rocco Samuel Granata on April 1, 2017 to Joseph III and Lisa Granata of Bakersfield, California. These babies are the ninth and tenth grandsons of Joseph II and Rene Granata.

Sadly, the deaths in the family were announced: on October 1, 2016, Bertalee San George, the late wife of Samuel San George and the mother of Kathy Kemp, Laura Crino and Lisa Wagner passed away.

On May 27, 2017, John Kahabka, husband of Judith Bull Kahabka and stepfather to Kim Bull Granata passed away.

Approximately 90 guests attended including out of state guests; Rick and June Krawiec, Janet and Brian Garell and Jenny Jones from Mississauga, Canada and Oakville, Ontario, Canada; Lillian and Paul Giambra from Loveland, Colorado; Lou, Kerry, Gillian and Pete Leone from Valparaiso, Indiana; Jeanette and Chuck Martin from Hudson, Ohio; Shirley Smith from Bradenton, Florida; John Smith and Pat Carr from Webster, Florida.

Angeline Smith Leone worked the registration table and Stella Smith Granata took photos of each activity throughout the day.

The oldest member was Paul Giambra and the youngest member was Logan Woods, son of Joshua and Stephanie Woods, who are relocating to the Forestville area from Virginia.

A memorial service was led by Angie Leone who read the names of deceased members. Donna Smith led the group in singing “Amazing Grace” as the balloons were individually released into the air in memory of loved ones.

The next reunion will be held on Aug. 4, 2018 at the same location.Volunteers are appreciated. Call family historian, Stella at 672-5655 for address changes, important family activities, and volunteer status.