(August 1, 1911 - April 24, 2008)
Beatrice Lajza (nee Plzak), 96, long-time Tomahawk resident, community volunteer worker, hardware and appliance merchant's wife, and assistant deliverer of the so-called "Gambles Baby" many years ago, died peacefully in her sleep Thursday, April 24, 2008 at Golden Living Center - Golden Age, where she had lived for several years.
In 1951, a distraught mother-to-be rushed into Tomahawk's Gambles Store operated by Bea and her husband Ed, seeking help for an impending birth. Bea took charge of the situation, enlisted store staff's help, summoned professional assistance, and set up an emergency delivery area on a stairway landing inside the store. The baby girl was born healthy. Many years later, the "baby" made news by returning to Tomahawk to trace her family history and specifically sought out Mrs. Lajza based on stories her mother had told her. The two reunited in a joyful celebration of life in 2002.
Beatrice Plzak was born August 1, 1911, the only daughter and first of five children of Stanley and Stella Plzak of Deerbrook, WI; all of whom she outlived. She often recounted the thrill of seeing her family's farm one fall evening in 1928, all lit up with electric lights for the first time. By her account, the family several weeks later "lent" some of its electricity to illuminate the local polling station for the Hoover presidential election by running a wire across County Highway A in Neva Corners. After working several years in Chicago and meeting an old hometown neighbor while there, Bea married Edward Lajza in 1934, and the couple moved to Tomahawk shortly afterward. The couple owned and operated Gambles during the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. The marriage produced no children and lasted until 1992, when Ed predeceased her.
In her retirement years, Bea maintained an active social and community volunteer schedule, including volunteer work at Golden Age Nursing Home, where she eventually lived out her life. She held together the families of her four brothers in both joyful and difficult times through frequent, thoughtful letters and a list of several hundred birthdays and anniversaries, earning her the informal title - Matriarch of the Clan. She is survived by the sons and daughters of three brothers - Dennis Plzak (Calif.) and Raymond Plzak (Va.); John Plzak and Douglas Plzak, (Mich.) and their mother - Genevieve (Kubiak) Plzak (Antigo); Lorene Polzak, Peter Polzak, and Rosemary Bolas, (Chicago); Alice Dalebroux and Timothy Polzak (Green Bay); Tony Polzak (Md.), and many grand and great grand nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 from St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tomahawk. Fr. John Anderson will officiate. The family will receive friends at the church on Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. until the hour of Mass at 11:00 a.m.
[Source: Krueger Family Funeral online search]