Our Parents

        My father, Edwin Raub was born in Newark, Essex County, NJ, in 1908.  The house he grew up in was directly across a side street from Seton Hall University.  Later he lived on Baker Street in Maplewood, NJ.  He married my mother in 1934; they lived in Newark, Vaux Hall, Scotch Plains, North Arlington, and Chatham, NJ, and finally in Tonawanda, NY.  He died in 1983.

        My mother, Helen Varga, was born in 1911 in Mor, Hungary.  She came to the United States when she was 3, and became a U.S. citizen in 1928.  For many years she owned Raub's Gift Shop in Kearny, NJ.  In later years, she became interested in a project to track the migration patterns of the Monarch butterfly, which led to a new career for her.  She would gather milkweed which had Monarch larvae on the bottom.  When the larvae were about to go into their chrysallis stage, she'd put them into a clear plastic cup with netting at the top.  Once the chrysallis was hard, she'd sell them to hospital gift shops for resale, along with instructions on releasing the butterfly.  Hundreds of people got to see the miracle of butterflies emerge from their chrysallis.  Sadly, this brilliant woman was stricken with Alzheimer's and died of its complications in 1993.

         Helen and Ed moved from New Jersey to Western New York in the summer of 1976, foolishly trusting my word that winters aren't really that bad.  They got here just in time to enjoy Buffalo's Blizzard of '77 their first winter here.

        Above on the left, my parents are pictured at their wedding.  Standing behind them are my father's sister, Gladys Raub Hetzel Krueger, and my mother's brother-in-law, Bill Wurzbach.  On the right, they are with my sons.

            My father-in-law, George Reuther, was born in Newark, NJ, in 1907.  He and his brother, Bill, and two sisters, Elsie and Mabel, grew up on Avon Avenue, Newark.  Thelma Hegnauer also lived on Avon Avenue, just a few doors down from the Reuthers.  George and Thelma were friends as children and dated for many years before marrying in the late 1930s.  George worked on the crew that put the main electrical wiring into the Kearny meadows, thus supplying a large portion of northern New Jersey with home electricity.  He worked for many years at the Prudential Insurance Company in Newark; his job at retirement was Superintendent of Buildings for the Prudential home office.  (They called him "Big G, the S.O.B.")  George died in 1988, and my sons lost another wonderful grandfather.

            Thelma Hegnauer was also born in Newark in 1907.  She was Baptized at St. John's First German Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Thelma died on January 7, 2005, at the age of 97.   She remained alert and interested in everything around her until a year before her death.  Although she became quite senile in her last year, she still cared very much about her grandchildren (and granddaughter-in-law) and me.  We have years and years of wonderful Grandma stories to share with each other, and we are grateful for the long life she had.

            Thelma and George moved from Irvington, NJ, to western New York in 1987.

Don's Grandparents

            George's parents were George Reuther and Hattie Soeffing.  Thelma's memory is good for a 93-year old, but she wasn't able to help me beyond their names, and I haven't been able to find any more information about them.

            George was married to Lucy Baure before Hattie, and their child with her was William Reuther.  Uncle Willie was born in 1906 and died in about 1976.  He was married to Elsie Alexie, and they lived in the house on Avon Avenue where my father-in-law was raised.  Willie and Elsie had one daughter, Dolores.

            George and Hattie Soeffing also had two daughters, Elsie and Mabel, who married the Klos brothers.

            Thelma's parents were Louis Hegnauer and Wilhemina Fischer.

            Louis was born in Switzerland and came to this country as a young man.  For a while he worked in a corset company "Down Neck" in Newark, then he worked as a cake decorator.  He died in 1925 and is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Newark, NJ.  Ironically, although I did not meet Don until about 1965, and our families were never acquainted before that, Louis Hegnauer is buried about 15 feet from my grandparents.

            Wilhemina Fischer was born in the United States.  Thelma vaguely remembers that she had a brother or cousin who worked as a chauffer for a wealthy family in the Newark area.  Wilmemina inherited a farm from her parents, part of which was a picnic area, Fischer's Grove, in Union, NJ.  This area was later called Farcher's Grove.  The land now houses a large industrial park and shopping plaza.  "Minnie" died in 1961 and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Union, NJ.

            Besides Thelma, Louis and Minnie had an older daughter, Edna Marie Catharine Hegnauer.  Edna was born in 1901.  She married Richard Lullwitz, a policeman in Passaic, NJ.  She died in 1950 and is buried in Hollywood Cemtery, Union, NJ.

           Lorraine Davies is researching the Lullwitz family from Passaic, NJ.  If you have any information, any leads at all, about the Lullwitz family or Alexander Downey (1873-1953), please contact her at davies@nac.net.

            Louis and Minnie are pictured above on their wedding day in 1899.

 My Grandparents
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