Discovery Games

Minnesota Man Finds His Father After 91 Years Thanks To Devoted Grandson

Richard Mihalek Story

Turning into a younger grownup through the Second World Struggle was a problem for any teen alive throughout that turbulent time. Richard Mihalek was one such one that was despatched from the town to reside together with his grandparents on a farm in Wisconsin after his aunt all of the sudden died.

Mihalek took time to regulate to his new life together with his maternal grandparents however was all the time left feeling empty that he had no concept who his father was. This was as a result of his mom had fallen pregnant with him out of wedlock and in these days that sort of factor was frowned upon. Years later and a faithful grandson would come by means of with all of the solutions.

New Job

Richard Mihalek Story

As a younger woman, barely into her teenagers, Mihalek’s mom arrived in Ohio in 1925. She discovered work as a live-in maid on the age of 17 with a rich Cleveland household. However throughout that point, she met a person and gave start to Richard when she was simply 18 years previous. That’s all Mihalek knew about his roots for many years, however that lack of expertise all the time troubled and bothered him.

Thriller Life

Richard Mihalek Story

Mihalek knew little about his roots and nothing about his father. His mom, Julia Mihalek, was the secretive sort and her life was shrouded in thriller. What he does know is that his mom was pressured to maneuver to Cleveland with family members after she completed faculty in Wisconsin. In these days, males and lady alike labored the land in the event that they weren’t expert at a career.

Extremely Secretive

Richard Mihalek Story

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Mihalek defined that his mom would “divulge nothing” when it got here to Richard’s father. As Mihalek defined, in accordance with a Park Rapids report: “As a live-in maid, my mother wasn’t allowed to have children living with her,” he defined. “She was close to her aunt and uncle in Cleveland, who had no children, so it was my great aunt who raised me. She’s the only mom I really knew.”

Nonetheless Mother

Richard Mihalek Story

Whereas Mihalek was raised for probably the most half by his aunt and uncle, he recollects spending high quality time together with his mom and noticed her commonly. “I knew her as the woman who came over and bought me double-dip ice cream cones,” Mihalek stated. However every little thing was about to vary after tragedy struck abruptly in the future.

Sudden Loss

Richard Mihalek Story

When Mihalek returned residence from faculty in the future, he might sense that one thing wasn’t proper. His aunt had suffered an enormous stroke earlier within the day, and she or he died out of the blue that very same night time. It was when Mihalek was within the third grade, as he defined: “I came home for lunch at noon, and my aunt had stroked out,” stated Mihalek. “She died that night.”

Making Plans

Richard Mihalek Story

Because of the sudden dying, the prolonged household made plans for Mihalek to go and reside on a farm together with his mom’s mother and father. “They asked me if I wanted to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s farm in Wisconsin,” he recollects. “I said yes — but I didn’t understand that it was permanent. It worked out fine — after a number of years.” However it will take this metropolis boy some time to get used to farm life.

Massive Change

Richard Mihalek Story

In addition to needing to be a quick learner, Mihalek recollects that on the age of simply 9 he was required to assist out quite a bit across the farm. “Everybody had to do some of the chores, so I had to be a very fast learner,” he defined. “Pretty soon, I had my own two cows to milk, a horse to harness, I had to do hay work like the rest. We had no tractors or electricity or running water. In Cleveland, we had comforts like running water, and I could even go to the movies for a nickel.” He stated.

Annual Go to

Richard Mihalek Story

As a consequence of his mom having Mihalek out of wedlock, his grandmother by no means associated to the younger boy properly. “My grandma had a hard time with it,” stated Mihalek. “I could feel that all the time.” In the meantime, his mom who was 800 miles away would come to go to annually through the summer time, and that’s the one contact Mihalek had together with her. “She would come out each summer for a week or so,” he stated.

Going to Struggle

Richard Mihalek Story

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Thankfully for Mihalek, he was capable of end highschool and was then drafted to go and struggle in World Warfare II. He made a protected return from the struggle and settled in Wisconsin the place he paved a path to a profitable profession as a highschool instructor of sciences. “When a job in Ashland opened up,” Mihalek stated, “I decided, ‘I’m going home to the trees, the deer and the outdoors.’ And that’s where I finished my life career.”

Discovering Hugs

Richard Mihalek Story

By all accounts, Mihalek got here from a chilly household who didn’t show acts of affection fairly often. Quickly sufficient, regardless of the void he felt, Mihalek married and have become a father. “There was a void in my life before,” he stated. “I discovered hugs.” However Mihalek was about to find an entire lot extra in years to return, because of some savvy work by his grandson years later.

Discovering Roots

Richard Mihalek Story

When Mihalek’s grandson, Nathan Bitzer began wanting into his household’s family tree, he did in order he needed to assist his grandfather to reply questions that had eluded him for therefore a few years. “I was working in the oil fields of North Dakota at the time,” defined Bitzer. “Instead of watching ‘The Sopranos’ in my downtime, I wanted to do something productive. I decided to try to do some online genealogy. I picked up a subscription to and started researching daily.”

Two Sides

Richard Mihalek Story

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As Bitzer defined: “I knew he had done genealogy research on his mom’s side,” he stated, “His mother’s parents were immigrants from Slovakia. Grandpa had traveled to Slovakia five or six times — first when it was a Soviet bloc country and later as an independent nation, to visit the gravesites of ancestors and meet relatives.” Nevertheless, little-to-nothing was recognized about Mihalek’s father’s aspect of the household.

New Leads

Richard Mihalek Story

As a consequence of advances in DNA know-how, anybody today can get a great snapshot of their ancestry by way of numerous web sites that may hint DNA. “You know, they’re doing a lot of things with DNA now,” Bitzer informed his grandfather. “That might give us a clue. Maybe we can figure it out.” Mihalek was intrigued, so Bitzer bought a DNA package from for Father’s Day.

Tennessee Connection

Richard Mihalek Story

Bitzer was confused by the outcomes from after a further “Y test” was carried out on his grandfather to determine male descendants. Matches appeared to be popping up in japanese Tennessee, however “We have no connection to eastern Tennessee,” Bitzer stated. However that second check revealed three matches with the final identify Bewley.

Narrowing Down

Richard Mihalek Story

After many hours of exhausting work and a great amount of money, Bitzer stated he thought he had narrowed down his grandfather’s father to 2 males. “I didn’t know if it would show anything, but I did get three matches with the name Bewley,” stated Bitzer. “I was pretty confident that this was his father’s last name.” Then, after checking a Cleveland phone listing from 1926, Bitzer narrowed it down to at least one man.

Questions Answered

Richard Mihalek Story

As Bitzer defined: “All the names lined up to two brothers who were alive at the time my grandfather was born and who were within ten years of my grandma’s age,” he stated. “So I looked in a Cleveland directory from 1926 — and there was Ralph D. Bewley. He was in the directory that one year only — the next year he was gone. My grandpa was born at the end of 1926.” By this stage, Bitzer was assured that he had discovered the proper man.

Extra Readability

Richard Mihalek Story

As he needed to make certain he had situated the proper match, Bitzer turned to DNA Detectives, a Fb group for genetic family tree. “Someone suggested that I try to approach the younger generation, people around my age,” Bitzer stated. “They said to just tell them what I found — not that I know it as a fact. And then hopefully we could confirm it through DNA.” The match was confirmed and Mihalek, on the age of 91, had lastly discovered his father.

Assembly Dad

Richard Mihalek Story

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It might have been 91 years within the making, however Mihalek was thrilled to capable of meet his father in any case these years. He traveled slightly below 1,000 from his residence in Washburn, Wis., to face on the grave of his late father, Ralph Bewley in Hamblen Reminiscence Gardens in Morristown, Tenn. Mihalek was moved as he approached his father’s grave.

Right here I Am

Richard Mihalek Story

As Mihalek walked in the direction of the graveside, he prolonged his arms so far as he might. “Here I am,” he stated to the stone within the floor. “And here you are.” Whereas nobody ought to have to satisfy their father for the primary time at a graveyard, Mihalek felt grateful for the prospect to satisfy him in any respect. “After 90 years or so, you pretty much think, ‘Well, that’s the end of that,’ ” Mihalek stated.

Extra Thriller

Richard Mihalek Story

Whereas the reunion of types was a touching and essential one for Mihalek, his daughter Barbara famous that his previous continues to be shrouded in thriller and uncertainty. “Maybe when we get to heaven we’ll find out the whole story,” Barbara stated. “There’s just so much mystery involved.”

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