Franciscus Božič (July 3, 1912 - October 26, 1999)
Anna Grabner (November 7, 1917)
Franciscus (Frank) Božič was born on July 3, 1912 to Janez (John) Božič and Ivana Strmljan. He was baptized at Holy Trinity Church on July 7, 1912 by Rev. B. (Bonaventure) Cicek O.M.C. His godparents were Franc (Francis) and Neža (Agnes) Beršnjak.
Family still lived at 705 Warman Avenue. Who knows, perhaps Frank Božič was named Frank after Frank Beršnjak.
In 1910 Frank and Agnes Bershnak (census) lived at 709 Warman Avenue - John and Ivana’s neighbors. They were Slovenian immigrants. He was 63 and she was 43. They were married in 1905. They never had children. Frank immigrated to the U.S. in 1893 and Agnes in 1902. He worked as a packer at the foundry.
Frank’s first communion was on June 1, 1919. The same day Anna Mauser (Toth) celebrated her first communion.
Frank’s confirmation took place at Holy Trinity on May 30, 1922. His baptismal and family name: Frank Bozich. Confirmation name: Joseph. Sponsor: Joseph Golc.
Note, Frank Bozich changed the spelling of his last name from Bozic to Bozich in order to preserve the integrity of its pronunciation (letter "c" in Slovenian is pronounced as "ch" in English).
At the age of 21 Frank J. Bozic married Anna (Angela) M. Grabner on November 11, 1933, who had just turned 16. Angela was born on November 7, 1917. The wedding was at Holy Trinity Church.
His parents (as Frank told the priest): John Bozich and Ivana Shuster (Note: Frank was incorrect - his mother's maiden name was Strmljan not Shuster). Ex loco: 910 N. Holmes, Indianapolis. Angela’s parents: Francis Grabner and Angela Pregal. Frank and Anna’s wedding witnesses were: Anthony Mervar and Carolina Grabner.
During her initial interview in the 1990's, Frank's daugther, Ginger, said that there were some Shusters in the family living in Pennsylvania. Frank Bozich also mentioned that his mother’s sister lived in Pennsylvania. In 2011 we solved the mystery - both were referring to Franciska Strmljan married to Anton Šuštar (who became Anton Shuster after immigrating to the United States). Franciska's children, the Shusters, visited their cousins in Indianapolis (they enjoyed coming for the Indy 500 race), therefore Frank mistakenly assumed that his (at that time deceased) mother was a Shuster as well.
Frank and Anna had one child, daughter Carolyn JoAnn (better known as Ginger) born on August 8, 1934.
Carolyn Bozich married Charles Emsley Babcock on July 15, 1961. They had a son, John Charles Babcock, who is a dentist.
Little Frank J. Bozich was severely burned with boiling water, spilled by either him or someone else from a pan on the stove. Because of this trauma Frank's mom, Ivana, carried him in cotton for a year. Frank was very close with his mother. Frank’s heart was broken when his father died in 1926 and he was devastated when his mom died two years later. According to Frank, his daughter Carolyn (Ginger) resembles Frank’s mom, Ivana.
Frank missed his parents and the house at 705 Warman Avenue in which he grew up. It is not clear how the house situation was handled. Even in 1910 John and Ivana Bozic owned their home, so it is not known whether the house was sold after their death. Since approximately 1928 until 1933 Frank lived with the Mohr (Mohar) family. After he got married, he and his pregnant wife Angela rented the house at 705 Warman Avenue, which had a lot of sentimental value to Frank.
After Frank’s daughter Carolyn was born, the young family moved in with Angela’s mother in order to save money for their own house in Speedway, where they moved in approximately 1939.
Frank was not prejudice against people of other races and nationalities and instilled the same values in his daughter.
In 1928 Frank, Rudy, Molly became orphans and Anthony and Ann Mohr essentially adopted them.
Frank had to quit Washington High School in order to support himself. The school did everything possible to keep him there because they recognized his intelligence and potential. In fact, they gave him a diploma in recognition of his academic abilities.
He quit school and immediately found a job. His options were limited. Like everyone else from Haughville, his choices were either an iron foundry or packing house. He had a job during the great depression.
All his life Frank regretted not attending college. He saved money, however, in order to send his daughter to college. She was the first in the Bozic family in Indianapolis to earn a college education.
In 1928, at the age of 16, Frank was employed by Kingan & Co., a large U.S. meatpacker. His mother, Ivana, was very happy he found a job (she died on July 22, 1928). Kingan once produced a full line of fresh meats, canned meat products and cold cuts, and was a major employer in Indianapolis.
Frank gave almost all of his earnings to the Mohrs and retained just enough money to cover his commute expenses (bus rides) to work.
In 1930, for instance, Frank’s occupation was a stamper in a meat packing house. After several years of employment at this company Frank became a floor foreman.
In 1953 Indianapolis’ Kingan & Co. was acquired by Hygrade Food Production Corp., founded in 1914 with a stake of $15,000 by Samuel Slotkin, a Jewish butcher from Brooklyn. This merger made Hygrade the fifth largest U.S. meatpacker. Hygrade fell on hard times and was sold to another company, which eventually went bankrupt and was purchased by Sara Lee Corporation.
Frank worked for Kingan & Co. (later Hygrade) for 39 years, from 1928 until 1967. He was planning to retire at 55. Unfortunately, 3-4 months before Frank’s retirement the company he worked for closed and Frank lost his retirement. Franks was 55.
At 55 Frank embarked on finding a new job. He always had a job and never was out of a paycheck. At first he worked for IUPUI, but did not like the job. Fortunately Eli Lilly had an experimental program aimed at hiring elderly people. Frank and two other older gentlemen were hired. While working for Eli Lilly Frank took an IQ test, which indicated that he had a genius, mathematical mind. He was brilliant. Frank retired from Eli Lilly 10 years later in 1977 at the age of 65.
His daughter Ginger said that her dad was a sensitive, tender, tender-hearted, quiet, mischievous, and witty man. He liked to play jokes. One time he put a brick in Ginger’s school bag. He was very conservative and loved reading. When Carolyn studied at the University of Miami in Florida during the 1950’s, Frank told his daughter not to call home often since long distance telephone calls were expensive. Instead he promised to write her a letter/note every single day…and he did. Sometimes he would just write a brief note telling her that he loved her.
After the deaths of his parents, Frank Božič kept the following spelling - Bozich, which preserved, to some extent, the integrity of pronunciation, however at the expense of spelling. This was done since English speaking Americans would pronounce the family name Božič as Bozik. Rudolph Božič kept Bozic, which has a more correct spelling, but the family name has been pronounced as Bozik.
Frank J. Bozich died on October 26, 1999. His last residence was in 46112 Brownsburg, Indiana. His SSN: 305-07-7156.
Click here to see images of Frank Bozich and Anna Grabner.