he Yoba family name was brought to
Frankenmuth in 1917 by Julius, his
sister Helen, and a brother Mike, all
orphans at the Lutheran Children’s
Home in Bay City. They were brought
to St. Lorenz Lutheran Church on a
Sunday morning and introduced to the
congregation members with hopes of finding a home for
Helen was taken in by the Conrad Loesel family and
Julius was taken in by the Jacob Woelzlein family.
Mike, who was crippled from a siege of polio, could not
be placed and was taken to Monroe, Michigan and
placed with a family there.
The children’s parents, Julius and Elizabeth nee
Szankowski, came to Monroe from Debreczen, Hungary
in 1910 with their two daughters, Betty and Helen. Mike
and Julius were born in the Monroe area. Julius and
Elizabeth hoped to make a better life for themselves and
their four children. They worked doing seasonal farm
work, thinning and hoeing sugar beets, etc.
Within six to seven years both parents died leaving the
four children as orphans. An uncle in Alger, Michigan
tried to care for the three youngest children but the
Department of Social Services felt he didn’t have the
means to support them so they were taken to the
Children’s Home in Bay City. Betty, the oldest
daughter, was old enough to go with a friend to Chicago
to find work there.
Julius, born in 1911, could only speak Hungarian when
he was taken in by the Woelzlein family. Going to
school at St. Lorenz, Julius learned “high” German but
always had trouble with the Bayerisch dialect that the
rest of his schoolmates were speaking.
He was confirmed at St. Lorenz in 1925. Julius married
Hildegard Zehnder on July 26, 1942.
Julius farmed for many years on Dehmel Road, south of
Frankenmuth. After the children had grown up and none
of them had an inclination to farm, Julius and Hildegard
retired from farming.
In 1969, a home for the elderly, the Lutheran Home, was
opened in Frankenmuth. Julius and Hildegard both
worked there, Julius as maintenance supervisor, and
Hildegard as admissions director.
Julius and Hildegard had five children: Judy Bonner was
an administrator at Genesys Home health organization in
Flint, Michigan; Jerry was vice-president of Great Lakes
Gauge in Bridgeport, Michigan; Tom was a graphics and
sign designer in Houston, Texas; Marilyn Rodammer
was co-owner with her husband of the Listening Room in
Saginaw, Michigan; and Sue Gilbert was a paralegal
specialist for the Social Security Disability Program.
Julius and Hildegard had ten grandchildren and two
great-grandchildren as of the year 2005.
Julius managed to get in touch with his sister and brother
after 36 years of separation from Betty
, and 50 years
from his brother Mike.
Julius faithfully served his church as an elder and the
community on the school remodeling building
committees. He also served on the Board of Education
for the Frankenmuth Public Schools and helped organize
the Frankenmuth Conservation Club.
Researched & Compiled by Bavarian Inn Lodge
For copies of Family Histories go to www.bavarianinn.com/familyhistory