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Beginning in the mid-1920s, the south side of Lansing, Michigan, was home to the Hengesbach family: Harold and Irma (Mikulaschek) and, as the years went on, four daughters: Barbara, Anita, Elaine, and Shirley.
Harold was born in the small town of Westphalia, Michigan, a largely German-Catholic community twenty-five miles northwest of Lansing. His family moved to Lansing when he was sixteen, and it was there, at a party, that he met the daughter of Ludwig and Fanny Mikulaschek.
The Mikulascheks and their daughter were immigrants from Sarajevo, which at that time was part of Austria-Hungary. Ludwig served in the Army there, and when his enlistment was complete he could either re-enlist or return to Vienna to manage the family sugar-beet business. As Barbara told the story in her autobiography:
Neither choice was too appealing and stories of “streets paved with gold” in the land across the Atlantic sounded more interesting. Ludwig and Fanny Mikulaschek and their only child came to America. Mother was four years old at the time. The young family lived in New York for awhile and then made the move to Lansing, Michigan. Grandpa got a job at Oldsmobile. He never did find the “gold,” but he was happy earning an honest living for his young wife and beautiful daughter.
Read more about Sister Barbara (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
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