Anna May Ondre, 77, died at Valley Regional Hospital on March 13, 1992, in Claremont, NH. She was born on February 5, 1915, in Lakewood, OH, the daughter of George and Bertha (Vovcsik) Grosik. Her father emigrated from Uzhhorod, Austria-Hungary (now Ukraine), in 1906 and married Bertha in Brooklyn, NY, in 1913.
Anna graduated from Lakewood High School. She married Cyril Michael Ondre (Ondrejech) in Lakewood on November 24, 1938. Then they moved to Palmer, MA, before moving to Claremont in 1963.
Cyrill was a Roman Catholic, and although he was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Claremont, many Sundays he attended the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church with Anna, where she was a communicant and an active member of its choir and Sisterhood. Together with another "catholic husband," Walden Sinawski, Cy helped to take care of coffee hour and maintenance of church grounds.
Anna was survived by her husband; two sons, Cyril Michael Ondre Jr. of Weathersfield, VT, and Joseph Ondre of Derry, NH; two daughters, Annette Ondre of Montague, MA, and Barbara LeDuke of Rochester, MI; three brothers George Grosik of North Ridgeville, OH, Michael Grosik of Chardon, OH, and John Grosik of Punta Gorda, FL; eight grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
The interment was in St. Mary's Cemetery, Claremont, NH.
A Note from a friend
Anna was born near Cleveland, Ohio, in a community called Lakewood. They lived in a neighborhood with all different kinds of people: Arabs, Russians, Hungarians. Her family was also from Hungary, but she was born in Ohio, not in Hungary. She told us that the nickname of Ohio is the "Buckeye State" because of the Buckeye or "Horse Chestnut" trees growing there, which are native to North America and poisonous to all creatures except squirrels.
From early childhood, Anna was interested in natural science and alternative medicine. She learned about some home remedies from her mother. Anna liked taking daily baths in washtubs because her mother wanted the kids to stay clean, even though there wasn't any running water in the house. She also remembered the fun times she and her siblings had at the State fairs and festivals, which they called Do-Alls.
Anna's father died when she was 16, so she had to quit high school and take over her mother's job in a health service place. She had four younger brothers and sisters, including a four-year-old brother, who was growing up not remembering his father.
Anna met her husband, Cyril (Cy) Ondre when she was still high-school age. He came to her house the day after Valentine's Day and proposed. Her mother thought Cyril was a "serious old man" (he was two years younger than Anna) and gave them her blessing. After Anna and Cy were married, they didn't have a car, and he had to ride his bicycle to various jobs. But Anna had to quit her job because, during the Great Depression that struck hard in many states, there weren't enough jobs available and only one person in the family was allowed to work.
When in the 1960s, Cy was promoted to a better position as a manager at Tambrands and they moved to Claremont, NH, Anna and Cy already had four children. They built a house on Green Mountain Road with lovely gardens of vegetables and flowers. Anna used to bring different varieties of her flowers to decorate the church. Knowing nature and its secrets well, she also cultivated a couple of big and beautiful pussy willow trees on the bank of a small brook in her backyard, and each year she used to bring the blossoming pussy willow branches for the Orthodox Palm Sunday to her church.
A Note from HROC
After Anna passed away, her husband Cy continued to donate pussy willow branches to our church every year in spring in her memory. When he aged and couldn't climb the ladder and cut the branches anymore, he kindly invited HROC's priest and parishioners to come and help themselves. And they did that for a few more years until the parish started to grow their own pussy willows on the church grounds. They, too, bloom nicely, but still, they don't look as perfect as Anna's did.
Also, Cy gifted HROC a small church bell in honor of Anna. We ring this bell in concert with the large bell at the beginning of Divine Liturgy and during the Hymn to the Theotokos.
Memory Eternal, dear old friend!