‘Stick together’ is Randich family motto
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org August 11, 2012 9:52PM
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:29AM
JOLIET — Patricia Randich lived a long life as a mother of 10, and when she died in 1987, she had 83 grandchildren and great-granchildren.
Her family members have a story to share about her. One day, she was walking through Pilcher Park in Joliet and she snipped off a piece of a small green plant. She potted the plant and kept it by the kitchen sink.
“Through the years, it multiplied, multiplied and multiplied,” granddaughter Lisa Skoog said of the plant. She was addressing the large audience on Saturday at the Randich family reunion.
Today, the family of Marion and Patricia Randich is approaching 200 people across four generations. About 160 people attended Saturday’s reunion. And at the conclusion, Skoog distributed 18 potted plants — 18 direct offshoots of that one plant her grandmother clipped many years ago.
Patricia Skoog is the ninth child of Marion and Patricia Randich. She and her daughter Lisa distributed the plants, and she also spoke of the unity of the family tree.
“My father said on his deathbed: ‘Stick together,’ ” she said.
The family continues to honor that wish.
Coming to America
At Saturday’s event at the Croatian Cultural Club, Patricia Skoog and her brother Donald Randich told the story of their parents.
Marion Randich was born Feb. 2, 1896, in Croatia. About 1914, he came to Chicago as a young, single man, looking for a better life, Donald said.
Patricia Wicevic was born May 1, 1899, in Croatia. About 1913, she arrived at Ellis Island in New York. She came to Joliet to stay with her uncle and aunt.
Marion and Patricia married in 1918 and first lived in Joliet. Probably about 1919, they became early settlers of what is now Crest Hill, moving to a home on Highland Avenue in the Homewood-Chaney neighborhood.
Ten children were born in that home, and the homestead remains in the family to this day, said Donald, who went on to serve six terms as the mayor of Crest Hill.
The children of Marion and Patricia Randich are Marion (Wason), Larry, Edward, Dorothy (Stoiber), Irene (Glad), John, Eleanor (Carlson), James, Patricia (Skoog), and Donald.
Bernie Stoiber helped organize Saturday’s reunion.
John Randich, principal of Joliet Central High School, is a son of John and Carol Randich. He discussed the value of family reunions.
“They’re important so that my children and my grandchildren understand their family,” he said. “My grandma and grandpa were immigrants. We never knew beyond them. We didn’t know about my grandpa’s brothers and sisters, or my grandma’s brothers and sisters. They were in the old country.”
In this case, the extended family tree includes people living in Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and across the United States.
Donald smiled when he looked at his sister Patricia. He noted that she shares the same birthday, Feb. 2, with her father.
So every Groundhog Day, she can remember her father — and her mother, who knew very well about the growing season ahead.