My great grandpa, Grandpa Joe as we called him, died when I was in high school. He lived to be 93 and, at the time, that was the oldest person I’d ever known. I remember feeling lucky that on my mom’s side not only did I have my grandparents, I had a set of great-grandparents as well. They were at holidays and family gatherings, and we would visit them at their high-rise apartment on Montreal in St. Paul. Back then, I had no idea what his life had been like and what he had gone through. Now that I know, I hope that his long life had been mostly a full and happy one.
Joseph Daniel Plaschko was born on March 14, 1893 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Mansuet Blaschko and Anna Friedl. He was baptized on March 19, 1893 at the Church of St. Agnes and his godparents were Daniel and Johanna Plaschko. When he was 2 years old, Joe lived at 472 Blair Street with his parents and older brother, Rudy. In 1896, the family moved to 460 Lafond with the addition of baby Frederick. Joe’s older brother, Rudy, died of pneumonia at age 7 in 1898. His parents had 3 more children – Francis in 1899, William in 1901, and Marie in 1904. In 1910, Joe still lived with his family at 460 Lafond and worked as a bookbinder at a publishing company. When I searched for Joe and his family and found them at 460 Lafond, I also noticed that Joe’s future wife, my great-grandmother, Anna Pribil, grew up on the same street at 440 Lafond.
Anna’s family lived there from when she was around a year old until she was 20. Joe lived on Lafond until 1911, when his family moved to 582 Edmund. Joe was 18 at that time and working as a driver for L Eisenmenger Meat Co. In 1915, he was still at 582 and worked as a clerk for Lindeke Warner & Sons. On July 11, 1916, at the age of 23, Joseph married Anna Pribil at the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul. Witnesses were his brother, Frederick Plaschko, and Anna’s sister, Mary.
When they were first married, Joe and Ann lived at 515 Fuller Street where daughter, Anna Marie (my grandmother), was born on July 3, 1917.
During this time, Joe worked as a clerk at Weiskopf Paint Co. They briefly lived at 698 Edmund in 1918 and then at 885 Edmund with Ann’s family in 1919 where daughter, Agnes, was born in January.
In the census for 1920, Joe and Ann lived at 462 Edmund with their daughters, Anna (2½ years) and Agnes (1 year). From mid-1919 to early 1920, Joe worked as a chauffeur for Lewis C. Stebbins. According to St. Paul city directories, Stebbins was president/treasurer of Mutual Hail & Cyclone Insurance Company and his family lived in one of the luxurious apartments at the exclusive Aberdeen Hotel.
After his job as chauffeur ended, Joe worked as a bookbinder at EA Moeller Co with his brother-in-law, Frank Pribil. He was working there in 1922 and living with Anna and their girls at 456 Lafond when their third child, Joseph Daniel Jr., was born in November of that year.
Things would soon take a turn for the worse. In April 1923, Joe and Ann’s 4-year-old daughter, Agnes, became ill and died of tuberculous meningitis (the most severe form of tuberculosis) on April 19. Later that year, their 11-month-old son, Joseph, died of tuberculosis on October 26, 1923. Ann was also sick with tuberculosis at the time of her son’s death and was not aware that he had died. Ann died the following Spring on March 8, 1924 after suffering from tuberculosis for 10 months. She was only 30 years old. The family of five was now two – Joe and his oldest daughter, Anna, who was only 6 at the time. Joe was unable to care for Anna on his own so my grandma said she was passed between her two grandmothers until they decided they were too old to care for a young girl. She was then sent to live with the nuns for a while where her uncle, Fred Plaschko, was a priest in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. In July 1925, Joe married his wife Ann’s younger sister, Julia Pribil, at the Church of St. Agnes. Witnesses were Julia’s siblings, Frank and Emma.
After they married, Joe and Julie finally sent for Anna to come live with them. They all lived at 849 West Central Ave with Julie’s mother, Mary, her 2nd husband, Stephen, his son, Fred, and Julie’s siblings Frank, Rose (until her death in April 1926, also from tuberculosis), and Emma. Joe and Frank Pribil were working together at this time at Plaschko Bindery at 618 Edmund (the home of Joe’s cousin, Frank Plaschko). A year after they married, Joe and Julie had a son, also named Joseph Daniel Jr. and called Sonny, on July 19, 1926.
In January 1927, Joe, Julie, Ann, and baby Sonny lived at 827 Aurora and Joe worked as an agent for Prudential Insurance Co. Later that year, on December 9, 1927, Joe and Julie lost Sonny, who died of bronchopneumonia at 17 months old. In 1930, Joe, Julie, and Ann lived at 832 Sherburne Ave and Joe still worked as an insurance agent. Their daughter, Beverly, was born on June 18, 1930. Over the next few years, Joe, Julie, Ann, and Beverly lived at 848 Lafond, 908 Lafond, and 931 Bayard Ave. Anna lived with them on Bayard until her marriage in August 1936. In 1938, Joe and Julie had another daughter, Marilyn. Joe and Julie lived with their daughters, Beverly and Marilyn, at 994 Lexington Parkway in 1940 and at 696 Van Buren in 1941 and Joe worked as a bookbinder for Augsburg Publishing House. From around 1950 until at least 1961, Joe and Julie lived at 665 Aurora with Beverly, until her marriage in 1959, and Marilyn, until her marriage in 1961. Joe and Julie eventually moved to 1085 Montreal Ave, where they lived for many years. Joe died at St. Mary’s Home on November 13, 1986 at the age of 93. Causes of death were listed as cardiac arrest due to heart disease of unknown cause, hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2 & permanent pacemaker. He is buried at Calvary with second wife, Julie, and her sister, Emma.