The Merzke Family

The Merzke Family
Henry & Maria Merzke Family Circa 1925 - (front) Maria, Henry, Marjorie & Floyd. (rear) Lillian, Rose, Erwin, William, Marian, Charles, Albert, Walter, Henry, Jr., & Ella

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Floyd Carl Merzke, Sr.

Floyd Carl Merzke, Sr.
Floyd Carl Herman Merzke, the sixteenth and last of Maria and Henry's children, was born at home at 181 Weaver Street on Monday, August 26, 1912. He was born approximately twenty minutes after twin sister Marge. He always said that he was a gentleman and believed in letting ladies go first. At this time Charles Merzke, Henry and Maria's oldest child was living in the house directly behind the house on Weaver St. Following Floyd's arrival, Henry ran through the backyard shouting to his daughter-in-law Nora "make more diaper, there are two of them"

Floyd was baptized that same day. The story was that he was so weak when he was born that his parents wanted him baptized right away just in case he did not live through the night. His sponsors were Eleanore Merzke, Edward Missel, and Herman Kuiltz. Floyd's middle name was in honor of the minister that baptized him, Rev. Carl Conrad.

Floyd was always a frail child and Maria was always concerned about his health. She kept a special ceramic jug of grape juice in the cellar just for him to build his blood. In grade school, he attended what was known as a fresh-air class. In this class at Lincoln #22 school, the children took a nap every afternoon on cots on the roof of the school building. Their weight was carefully monitored and they received a special certificate every time they managed to gain five pounds. When Floyd was eight he woke up one morning and could not walk. He said it happened suddenly just out of the blue. He had an operation that resulted in a frozen hip, one leg shorter and smaller than the other, and a permanent limp. Maria saw to it that he had a good physical therapist and in time he learned to walk again.

Floyd was confirmed at Concordia Lutheran Church on April 27, 1927 along with his nephew Charles “Chick” Merzke and his best friend Arnold “Porky” Schock.  Floyd did not complete high school. Like the rest of his brothers and sisters, he chose to leave school after the tenth grade in order to get a full-time job so he could contribute to the family's income. In his early twenties, he left Concordia Lutheran Church and began attending Bethel Full Gospel Church on Ripley St. There he became very involved in church work and would remain so for many years.

Floyd married Jeanette Louise (Przeworski) Taylor on June 29, 1945 in Bethel Full Gospel Church. Floyd’s twin sister Marge was matron of honor, Dillon Frost was best man, and attendants were Ann Tarquinio and Arnold Schock. The newlyweds lived with Maria in her home at 181 Weaver Street until her death in December of 1946. In Maria's will she provided for Floyd to live in the for as long as he chose. However, if he chose to move, the house was to be sold and the proceeds divided by the brothers and sister except for Floyd. Floyd and Jeanette continued to live in Maria's house until June of 1963 when they moved to 127 Collingwood Drive, Rochester, Monroe County, New York.  They lived there until their deaths.

Floyd was a born comedian and storyteller.  He loved to talk and people were glad to listen.  He had a gift for teaching and taught a large adult Sunday school class at Bethel for many years.  He was also a deacon and the church secretary.  Floyd spent his entire work life in the clothing industry beginning when he left school after the tenth grade.  He worked for Keller, Herman, Thompson Company as a helper and as a presser.  He worked for Timely Clothes Inc. from 1952 until he retired.  Jeanette worked for Eastman Kodak Camera Works during the Second World War.  After the children were born she worked for Norton Cleaners and then in lace and trimmings for Sibley’s.  She went to night school at Rochester Business Institute and eventually worked as a clerk for the New York State Supreme Court.

Floyd and Jan had two children; Nancy Marie Merzke and Floyd Carl Merzke, Jr. (both are still living.)  My father Floyd died peacefully on June 18, 1991 of congestive heart failure.  My mother Jan died of cancer on November 1, 1999.  They are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Marjorie Bertha Merzke

Jerry, Floyd, Helen, & Marge
Marjorie Bertha Merzke, the fifteenth child and last daughter was born at home at 181 Weaver Street on August 26, 1912.  She was baptized that same day. Her sponsors were Bertha Missel, Louisa Parr and Fred Birr. She was confirmed April 27, 1927.  Shortly after her father’s death, Marge married Jerome August Magin  on April 25, 1934  in Concordia Lutheran Church. They were attended by her twin brother, Floyd C. Merzke and Jerry’s sister, Helen Magin.

Marge and Jerry’s first home was the second floor of Maria and Henry’s home at 181 Weaver Street. They moved into their first house around 1942. It was at 102 Belmeade Road in Irondequoit, Monroe, New York.  Around 1950 Marge and Jerry moved their young family to a large home in Walworth, Wayne, New York. They lived in this house for many years and hosted many family gatherings including wonderful Merzke Family Christmas Parties complete with a visit from Santa Claus.  Later in life they had a home built in Marion, Wayne, New York.

Bob, Carol, Marge & Jerry
Marge worked for a while before she was married in the tailoring industry. Jerry worked for Eastman Kodak Company as an optical worker.  He was later employed by Westinghouse.  He also had his own sharpening business where he sharpened knives, lawnmower blades and other such equipment. Marge and Jerry utilized a portion of their home as a clean and cherry independent living facility for mentally challenged adults.

Marge and Jerry had three children; Carol Ann Magin was born September 22, 1941, Robert A. Magin, and Douglas Richard Magin (both still living).  Marge, the last survivor of Henry and Maria’s sixteen children, died October 20, 1994.  Jerry shortly followed her in death on December 30, 1994.  They are buried in Marian Cemetery, Marian, Wayne  County, New York.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Marjorie & Floyd - Twins

Floyd & Marge about age 6

Marge & Floyd about age 3

Marjorie and Floyd were Maria and Henry Merzke’s second set of twins and their last babies.  Marjorie was born first.  Floyd always said that he let her go first because he was a gentleman and believed in the saying, ladies first.  Floyd was the smaller and weaker of the two.  He was so weak when he was born that they were not sure he would live.  Maria and Henry had the minister in to baptize the babies on the day they were born - just in case.

Confirmation Picture
Easter 1944

Marjorie and Floyd were always good friends.  He said that sometimes she would get after him, but no one else better try it.  She always watched out for him and protected him.  They went to #22 School together where Floyd was in a special class that was called a Fresh Air Class.  He had to work hard to gain weight and would receive a certificate every time he gained five pounds.  His class took naps on cots on the roof of the school so they could take advantage of the fresh air.  After grade school, they went to East High School. They quit early to go to work in the tailoring industry, not unlike their brothers and sisters had done. 

Each was in the others wedding party when they married.  They visited each other frequently and exchanged birthday and Christmas gifts each year.  They shared a deep love of God and family and took pride in their Merzke heritage.  The last Merzke Family Reunion was held in August 1987.  It was marked by the celebration of Marge and Floyd’s 75th birthday.  

Marge & Floyd at age 75

Friday, December 3, 2010

Erwin Lee Merzke

Erwin Lee Merzke, Sr.

Erwin Lee Merzke was the fourteenth child.  He was born at home at 181 Weaver St. on August 5, 1910.   He was baptized September 2, 1910 at Concordia Lutheran Church by Rev. Conrad.  Erwin’s sponsors were his uncle, Lewis Smarcz, his uncle Otto’s wife, Carolina Smarcz, and William Bonke.  He was confirmed at Concordia Lutheran Church in 1925.
Erwin, who was known as Erv, married Elizabeth (Liezetta) Bauer.  They lived at 136 Woodbury St., 48 Durnan St., 73 Wilkins St., 29 Bloomingdale St., and than moved to 12 Loomis St. where they lived for the rest of Erv’s life. Erv and Zetty had two sons.  Ronald Lee Merzke (living) and Erwin Lee Merzke, Jr,  born February 7, 1945.
Erv had various jobs in the early years.  He was a painter and a furnace repairman. He was eventually hired by the Eastman Kodak Company where he worked as a plumber.  He also worked as a plumber for Frank H. Schuth of 670 Winton Rd.   Erv loved the outdoors and especially enjoyed fishing.  He also enjoyed getting together with family and friends to play cards.
Erwin died on November 7, 1973.   Elizabeth died September 7, 1977.  Erwin and Elizabeth are buried in White Haven Memorial Cemetery, Rochester, New York.