2015 Festival Book Dedication
The Birmingham Ethnic Festival Committee is honored to dedicate the 41st Annual Festival to two great ladies of our neighborhood: Gizella Bochi and Elizabeth Bochi.
The Bochi sisters Gizi and Betty, as we all know them, have dedicated their lives to their family, church and community, and to the preservation of our Hungarian American culture and traditions.
The last two surviving Charter members of VFW Post 4906 Women’s Auxiliary, they have been faithful members and volunteers at the Post all these years. They received their Charter at the VFW Hall, which was upstairs in a building on Front Street between the old fire station and Red Star Pharmacy!
At St. Stephen’s Church (Epiphany of the Lord Parish), they have both been Eucharistic ministers, Rosary mothers, and members of the Altar and Rosary Societies, not to mention some of the hardest workers at any event at the parish.
Their passion for their Hungarian culture motivated both of them to learn Hungarian embroidery from Kati, brought to the neighborhood by Father Martin Hernady, to renew this tradition in our community. They became active in both the St. Stephen’s embroidery group as well as the one at the “Reformatus Templom.”
Their lifelong curiosity and interest in broadening their horizons inspired them to become members of the Friends of the Birmingham Library Group for over 30 years, joining soon after they took part in the Birmingham Neighborhood Coalition’s successful battle to save the Birmingham library for our community. Along with dozens of parishioners and residents, they helped to withdraw thousands of books to “up” the circulation and convince the Toledo-Lucas County Library Board to keep the library open. It is an important part of our neighborhood to this day!
Betty worked at Tiedtke’s and, for many years, at Steins clothing store in Downtown Toledo. She was an active member and officer in the Local 12 UAW union, leading numerous blood drives for over 20 years for the community. Gizi was a businesswomen operating her own beauty parlor, Rudan’s, until the 1970s, in Downtown Toledo, keeping many customers very happy.
Both were world travelers, visiting not only Magyar Orszag, but many other countries, including going to Cuba in 1947, losing theirpassports and only getting back into the USA by using their VFW cards to prove their citizenship!
They have not missed a Festival in 41 years and have probably worked at all of them!
These two ladies, Gizella at the young age of 94 and Elizabeth at 90, represent the heart and soul of our great ethnic neighborhood.