Koshko family lineage home page
Koshko family lineage home page

Koshko lineage home page

The odyssey begins
Andrew Koszkowski & Julia Radiak

Name index
  • Anna
  • Koshko
  • Andrew
  • Anna
  • Elizabeth
  • George
  • John
  • Joseph
  • Julia
  • Mary
  • Michael
  • Paul
  • Steve
  • Kossik
  • Anna
  • Koszkowski
  • Andrew
  • Michael
  • Suzanne
  • Matash
  • Andrew
  • Petrak
  • George
  • Poltis
  • Mary
  • Radiak
  • Julia
  • Michael
  • Rusnak
  • Anna
  • Sapula
  • Katherine
  • Soltis
  • Mary
  • Staley
  • Evelyn
  • Surovey
  • Michael
  • Sutika
  • Margaret

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    Paul Koshko Paul George Koshko was born May 14, 1911 in Clarence, Pennsylvania. He married Teressa Elizabeth Krisch on October 17, 1936. Click here for a wedding photo (513x459, captioned). He died January 25, 1995 in Clarence at age 83.

    Paul's Social Security death index confirms the above dates of birth and death and his last address of Clarence, Pennsylvania.

    Paul was the ninth child of Andrew Koszkowski and Julia Radiak. Paul and Teressa produced four children: Josephine, Paul, Donald, and Richard. Many people who knew him called him Paulie. To his grandkids, he was Pappy.

    Paul and Teresa Koshko
    Click the above photograph for the full image (414x484, 200dpi, 36 kb disk size requiring 198 kb RAM)

    Paul claimed to have learned English as a second language through total immersion when he started going to school. This is supported by the 1920 U.S. Census. According to it, the then eight year old Paul and his younger sister couldn't speak English but his mother and all his older siblings could. He wasn't alone knowing only Hungarian and having to learn from an English speaking teacher. Paul said students who knew both languages would explain things to the ones who didn't. It's hard to imagine this not being extremely frustrating, but Paul didn't seem pained to recall it. In his old age, Paul's English language speech remained colored by a slight accent and occasional adherence to different grammar rules.

    Paul Koshko in his grocery store For many decades, Paul operated his own meat and grocery store in a little red brick building in Clarence. In the basement was a barber shop where he gave the lowest price haircuts around. But he had no barber's license and is said to have eventually stopped his practice under pressure from the state. This store was just 50 feet from Paul's house--a certain convenience considering the long hours he kept there and the store's lack of a restroom.

    Paul's daughter Josephine recalls minding the store for Paul while he gave haircuts. Paul had a good memory for figures and tended not to put prices on anything in the store. Josephine called to him through a vent in the floor when someone wanted something. Just sell it to him! he would say. But what's the price? she'd have to ask.

    In one corner of the store, an old fashioned freezer (made of thick metal with thick rubber doors) once contained ice cream. Shelves were stocked with detergent, bread, and the many other items grocery stores normally have. Snacks with brand names like Tastykak were sold on the desktop part of an old fashioned school desk with a wooden seat on the front. Behind the counter were batteries, flash light bulbs, and chewing tobacco. Meat was kept cold in a refrigerated butcher's display case with a large glass front. Milk, soda, and in later years ice cream were kept in an ordinary residential refrigerator/freezer. The air in the store sometimes carried a hint of that wooden store smell which can still be sampled in some century old shops. (Click on the photograph next to this paragraph to see the full scan [441x449, 150 dpi, 59 kb disk size requiring 196 kb RAM])

    Paul's home and store were on land his parents owned. His father died in 1916 and his mother in 1943. She left no will. Paul went to "orphan's court" to take possession of the property. When electric lines were run in Clarence, Paul's store was among the first buildings wired. Many of his customers lived a little further up the road where the electric company wanted to run more electric lines, so he found it wise to give the electric company an easement. In later years, he sold lots off his property to his son Donald and daughter Josephine to build homes on.

    Paul Koshko's store Paul often opened the store around five in the morning and kept it open til nine at night, though in its later years it didn't seem to have set operating hours. His clientele included neighborhood kids buying snacks, their parents buying meat, or Paul's grandkids seeking free soda pop. The slow pace of business in the 1980's allowed Paul to read the newspaper while sitting at a well worn meat cutting table. He also socialized with friends who would sit in the old school desk seat or lean against the old freezers.

    In addition to running his own store, Paul drove a school bus for about 30 years. His daughter Josephine says he started that when she was in the fifth grade. Her summertime job was to clean the bus inside and out from top to bottom. Only one person complained about Paul's job performance during this lengthy stint. One morning a child who overslept wasn't ready when the bus arrived. The child's mother thought the bus driver should wait. Paul didn't. The mother complained but didn't get any sympathy from the school officials.

    Paul owned the bus he drove. He quit the school bus route when he realized he'd have to buy another bus and he'd be financing it until he was old enough to retire. That wasn't so profitable, so he turned down an offer of continued employment.

    A few times a day, Paul descended the concrete steps by the store and returned to the house to eat a meal or use the bathroom. His day in the store occasionally ended after an evening card game with several people who dropped in. After closing on summer evenings, he sometimes tuned to an 1100 kHz signal from Cleveland (at that time WWWE or "3-W-E" Radio) to listen to an Indians baseball game before retiring.

    Paul Koshko played banjo Paul closed the store in the late 1980's after suffering a stroke. He had some physical impairment and began walking with a cane or walker. In warm weather, he passed time on his front porch listening to polka on a local radio station or an 8-track tape player. Or maybe a friend would drop in and they'd chat for a while in Hungarian.

    After Paul died, a photo turned up revealing a nearly forgotten fact about him. As a young man, Paul played banjo. Daughter Josephine asked her mother Teressa about a photo of Paul posing with an instrument. Teressa said Paul learned to play hanging out with other musicians and played rather well. But after Paul and Teressa got married, the couple needed money and he sold his banjo. From time to time, he'd play when someone asked him to and provided an instrument. But he never owned another one. For some reason he talked about this part of his past so infrequently, his own children and grandchildren were surprised to learn about it.

    The above account was written by Rick Wiegmann Koshko. Some photographs were provided by Josephine (Koshko) Schall and Teressa (Krisch) Koshko. Jim Koshko scanned the wedding photo.

    More photos:
    Paul in a garden (image is 361x513, 77kb size using 183kb memory)
    These pictures were provided by Judy Vavrek.

    • What else can you tell us about Paul Koshko?
    • Can you provide copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates pertaining to Paul Koshko? How about a business card or advertisement for his store? A recording of him playing banjo? Photographs and other items will be welcome too.

    Record created: March 26, 2002
    Record updated: June 8, 2007