This month, descendants of the Michael and Mary Wojcinski family gathered at the lower pavilion of Russell Joy Park for the 41st reunion. There were more than 80 family members and guests in attendance for the picnic hosted by the committee of Tom and Linda Zielinski, Elaine Zielin, Kim and Peter Zielinski, Sharon and Jim Rosplock and Carole Somerfeldt.
Festivities and games for the children were followed by dinner. The family meeting was held after, concluding with the traditional singing of the "Wojcinski Family Reunion" song. A "get acquainted" game directed by Elaine Zielin and Chinese auction were held later in the afternoon, with many prizes awarded. The evening activities included a hot dog and corn roast, with brownies for dessert, along with pinochle and horseshoe playing.
Robert Kittell of Silver Creek and Rita Kucharski of Erie, Pa., were recognized as the oldest male and female descendants in attendance and were presented with a boutonnire and corsage, respectively. There were three births to report: Joella Mackenzie Bauza, daughter of Lindsey and Joe Bauza; Nash Adam Emerson Bennett, son of Michelle and Mark Bennett; and Ciara Carolyn Clark, daughter of Jessica and Christopher Clark. Monica and Bob Benedict and family were recognized for traveling the farthest. There were no deaths to report.
Wojcinski cousins, bottom row, from left: Liam Clark, Klara Richerson and Kali Benedict. Standing: Kaelynn Richerson, Kyle Benedict, Blake Benedict, Preston Perry, Amri Bauza and Ben Kucharski.
Two marriages took place over the past year. On May 17, 2008, Andrew Robert Berek wed Megan Southworth. Andrew is the son of Susan and Richard Lilley and grandson of Robert and Helen Kittell. On June 28, 2008, Johnathan Polanski wed Heather Yanosko. Johnathan is the son of Maria Polanski and grandson of Rita and Ken Kuharski of Erie, Pa.
Sue and Michael Weaver of Jamestown were recognized for celebrating a 35th wedding anniversary this year and Peter and Kim Zielinski celebrated 30 years of marriage last year. Three family members graduated from high school - Allison Wojcinski and Leah Woodard from Dunkirk High and Alex Dean from Silver Creek. Alex will be leaving shortly to join the U.S. Air Force. He is the son of Kathy and Bruce Dean. Allison is the daughter of Bobek and Connie Wojcinski. Leah is the daughter of Lori and Winston Woodard.
Several family members are currently serving in the armed forces. Kory Irish, son of Kathie and Bruce Dean, is serving in the U.S. Army and is stationed at Fort Drum. He has been deployed to Iraq during the past year. Michiah Wojcinski of the U.S. Navy is currently stationed in Little Creek, Va., and his sister, Mikalena Wojcinski, also of the U.S. Navy, is stationed in Norfolk, Va. Michiah and Mikalena are the children of Ken and Roseann Wojcinski. Kevin Balzer, son of Janet and Ronald Balzer, is a U.S. Air Force Raven.
For the second year, the team of Ken Kucharski and Winston Woodard claimed the pinochle title. Tom Zielinski and Jim Rosplock were the horseshoe champs. Bobek and Connie Wojcinski won the 50/50 drawing and also it was noted that Bob has owned his transmission shop in Dunkirk for 30 years.
Next year's reunion is to be held the first Sunday in August and will be hosted by the committee of Mary Ann Wojcinski, David and Anne Warren, Bill and Cathy Wojcinski, Bobek and Connie Wojcinski and their families.