Taken Jan. 13, 1915
Seated Anna and Michael Nazy

by James Nazy

In June of 1999,1 attended two Nazy family gatherings in less than a week. One was a funeral and the other a college graduation party. These two events triggered deep thoughts about my grandfather and his family. My name is James Nazy and I am writing a story about my father's family. These compiled stories were told to myself over a 35 year period by my parents, aunts and uncles and other relatives.

When my Uncle Paul, who was married to my father's sister Josephine for nearly sixty years passed away his wake and funeral brought back vivid memories of the first generation of the Nazy family. While driving between church and cemetery with my mother Mary, cousin Bud and myself numerous family memories were discussed. We all chatted with greatness about the Nazys. Some topics of thoughts were of the arrival of the family via Ellis Island into America, the coal mines of Wenona, Illinois and the steel mills located on the Southeast Side of Chicago

As a educator at the college level I also thought about the historical eras of American history that the Nazys lived. They lived through the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, World War I and II, the Baby Boom, the turbulent 1960s and on. My father along with his brothers and sisters all paved the way for America to becoming the supreme Global Power that it is today. This generation was applauded and mentioned in Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation."

After Uncle Paul's funeral there was another family gathering to honor my cousin Anne Marie. It was a college graduation party. Family and friends gathered at her mother's home to celebrate with her. Before everyone left I asked her mother Barbara permission to retrieve a box of pictures from her closet shelf.

A few months earlier at Easter dinner I had looked at old pictures of the Nazy family. I thought the rest of the family should look at them too. The box contained pictures of the first, second and third generation of Nazys.

My mother Mary, cousins Bud, Betty, Ronnie, Joy and husband Eric, Barbara and family friends all passed old black and white and colored photos around. They were of grandparents, fathers, mothers, uncles and aunts and cousins. We were all in great awe on how handsome, beautiful and young the first generation of the Nazys once were. Most of us had tears in our eyes looking at these pictures because we miss these first generation Nazys so much. To myself and the third and fourth generation family members we only knew the first generation of Nazys as old, wrinkled and gray haired.

After looking at these pictures of my family while sitting on my cousin's living room floor a barnstorm idea struck me. I wondered about the Nazy family at the end of the 21st century. What members would play key roles in American history? Would the family name still be alive? Would our ancestors know the history of their family? These questions led me to writing this story of the Michael Nazy family.

As being a educator as a college professor recording my family history is of great concern to myself. Our family needed a written history along with a family tree which is included. I am writing this history of the family to educate the Nazys of today and tomorrow about the past. This is my contribution to the Nazy family. There must be other contributions in the future.

These stories I am writing about happened truthfully during the twentieth century. This information was told to me by my late father Peter and other family members. This is a one hundred year history of the Nazy family in America. In the future there must be attempts by myself and other family members hopefully to extend this saga backwards into Europe and forward into the next century and beyond. All Nazys alive and present today need to know there family history and their role in America.

I also apologize to my great ignorance if any other information is mistaken or not further mentioned in this essay. It is nearly impossible to state all the stories of family members. I sincerely hope all family members enjoy my story.

It was nearly one hundred years ago when Michael Nazy, his wife Barbara and son John left Croatia to migrate into America. My name is James Nazy and this is the story of my grandfather's family. They are to be considered brave and courageous and I thank my grandparents, father and mother, and relations for giving me a outstanding life in the United States of America.

I would like to sincerely thank the following for contributing to this family narrative. My mother, Mary for reading my first draft of my paper and remarking in a positive way data I had left out. Also, she was helpful in answering numerous questions I would of never been able to answer about the South Chicago neighborhood. Also, a belated thank you to my late father, Peter for enlightening myself with family facts and about his feats during World War II. To my cousin Betty, for telling myself about the modification of the family name. Aunt Rose, who at 95 has told me some interesting family stories over the years. Finally, a deep appreciation to John Jr. and cousin Eddie's wife Sharon for informing me of information about parents and children over recent telephone conversations.


My grandfather, Michael Nazaj (Nah-zay) was born in the Austria-Hungary Empire in the year of 1871. His birthplace was in the village of Jurovu (Ur-o-voo), Croatia. This tiny hamlet is near the present day metropolitan area of Karlovac (KarLo- Vatts), which is near the Croatian-Slovenian border. Jurovu was located in the former nation of Yugoslavia for nearly half a century before the most recent civil war in the Balkans.

The Christian name of Peter was Michael's fathers given name. Also, it was the name of a brother, son and great grandson. The Nazaj family was Roman Catholic as was this area of Southeastern Europe. This geographic region was Christianized by the Roman Empire nearly two thousand years ago.

The family was poor and was engaged in agriculture. When Michael was a teenager he was called to duty in the Austrian-Hungarian Army. He served his duty proudly and was discharged. Michael then courted Barbara and was married. Before the turn of the century Barbara gave birth to John in 1899 and then a second son Nick a year later.

As the year 1900 approached there was great economic and political oppression in Europe. Due to these two push human migration factors millions of Europeans were migrating to America. From 1890 to 1915 two million persons from Europe entered the United States each year. The pull human migration factors of democracy, freedom of religion and a better life attracted the Nazaj family to America.

Not much besides the information stated above is known about the family in Europe. I am planning to visit Croatia in the future and do family research. Also, I strongly recommend to any family member to use this data and visit the Archdiocese Center in Zagreb to search for the locales of the villages and birth places birth of your grandparents.


In 1900, the Nazaj family left Europe to come to the America. Michael, Barbara and John made the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Nick was quite too young for the trip and stayed in the old country with relatives. He later became a soldier and fought in World War I. He later contacted tuberculosis and died as a young man.

The voyage to America was a long and exhausting journey. It was weeks before the ship entered New York Bay. Passage to the USA was often at second or third class located well below deck. Traveling quarters were often small, over crowded and disease ridden. Michael, Barbara and John were all happy about coming to America. They must of been in great awe as the family viewed the Statue of Liberty while the ship was steaming towards Ellis Island. similar in the old country. Their common genealogical ties have yet to be known. The Nazaj family alike millions of other immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island. It is presently a historical landmark site and a national park. Immigrants were documented, families were given medical exams and the family name was possibly modified from Nazaj to Nazy.

The History Channel recently aired a special called, "The Statue of Liberty." During the program a tribute to Ellis Island was featured. During the segment it was stated that the clerk processing immigrants had roughly two minutes to ask twenty nine questions to each family entering America. It could of been here where the family name was changed from Nazaj to Nazy. For the miscommunications and mistaken between the clerk and my grandfather could of occurred. Also noted is that the name Nazey and all with the name of are relations to our family.

It is not known where the family stayed first in America after their long voyage to America. It was known that during the early years of the 1900s that the Nazys first lived in Pennsylvania. Michael worked as a coal miner along with other immigrants from Europe. It was hard work but the wages were good and democracy was quite enjoyed.


Between the years 1900-1904 the family moved from Pennsylvania to a small town in central Illinois called Wenona. My grandfather chose to settle there due to two migration pull factors. Economically, there were jobs at the coal mine that provided work. Culturally, many other immigrants from Croatia lived there already and this made the family most  comfortable. Also, the rural landscape and lifestyle was similar to Croatia.

There was a coal mine located there that provided work for hundreds of persons. This economic pull factor increased the town's total population to over 2500 people. Presently and most notably the Archway Cookie plant is found nearby along with a new modern highway. lllin6is Interstate 39 was constructed to meet the needs of the state of Illinois. It is located due west of the town.

Also during this first decade of the twentieth century there were the births of Rose, Michael, Frank, Anne and Maria. They were all baptized at Saint Mary's Church in the town. Tony and Mary Kaplan, Mike and Paula Chernich, Frank Mircon, Eva Stoich and Peter Vallerich were all family friends and godparents for these children. Father D.O. Druyer, a priest at St. Marys baptized these children.

During the second decade of the 20th century there was tragedy in the family. Two deaths occurred that caused great grief to the Nazys. Maria died as a small child in the years between 1912-1914. The year is unknown along with the cause of death. Also, Michael's wife Barbara unfortunately passed away in 1913. They are both laying in peace at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Wenona. During the year 1915, after mourning the loss of Anna and Maria, Michael courted and married Anna Yurkas Bahorich. She also was in the aftermath of a tragic death. She was a widow with three children named Tony, John and Josephine. Her husband had also died alike many Americans in the era due to tuberculosis.

My grandmother Anna Yurkas was born in Urovar, Croatia in 1883. She migrated to America with her first husband at the beginning decade of the twentieth century. She also being catholic and in marriage took the name Bahorich. They lived in Joliet, Illinois and started to raise her family when illness took her husband.

As World War One began and economic times prospered in America and in Wenona. The Nazy family was growing with the addition of new members. There were the births of Edward, Peter, James and William. This concluded all the children of Michael and Anna Nazy. They were all baptized at St. Mary's Church in Wenona by Father Druyer.

The absolute location of the Nazy household is not clearly known by the author at this date. It was said that the streets in Wenona were not named yet. The author is currently researching the location of the family home. It is also to be noted that the home had a fire and was burned down. I can remember being there thirty years ago as a child and seeing a garden of flowers growing in the ground where once the Nazy home stood.

In 1925 the coal mine which was privately owned closed due to mandatory unionized wages. The owners did not comply with federal laws and closed the mine. This had a great impact on the Nazy family and the town of Wenona. Former workers in the mine needed steady employment so they left town to find work.

Popular towns with manufacturing such as Joliet and Chicago in Illinois and towns in Northwest Indiana were settled by former residents of Wenona. They soon found jobs at manufacturing plants, secured them and called for their families to make the journey north. Once again the Nazy family was forced to move due to economics.

The town of Wenona presently has about one thousand inhabitants. This town lost over half its population due to the closure of the mine. This tiny hamlet did not ever recover from the loss of people when the mines closed in 1925.


Michael found work in the steel mills located on the Southeast Side of Chicago. There were three large steel mills in the area that employed nearly 15,000 workers. They were United States Steel, Wisconsin Steel and Republic Steel in the nearby area. These mills were located 15 miles south of the downtown area of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan and the banks of the Calumet River. This area also borders the state of Indiana to the south and east.

A strong back and broad shoulders were needed to labor in the steel making business. Thousands of new immigrants from Europe, Mexico and Blacks from the South migrated to the Southeast Side of Chicago. It was the steel mills that attracted people into this area of Chicago. It meant the American Dream which was higher pay, better schools and the purchasing of a single resident home. This resulted in a better life for all.

When Michael's job in the steel mill was secure he sent for his family. The Nazy family left Wenona teary eyed with found memories to this day of this little hamlet on the prairie of Illinois. There were many friends they left there that the my father, aunts and uncles talked about. One family did come north with the Nazys. The Mayhan family along with the four sons of Tony, John, Joe and Nick. They were all good friends to the Nazy family along with their parents migrated to the Southeast side of Chicago to work in the steel mills.

My father's family settled into the Sacred Heart Parish which is Croatian in ethnicity in 1925. It is still presently located in the neighborhood of South Chicago. This part of Chicago borders Lake Michigan and the state of Indiana to its south and east. US Interstate 90, the Chicago Skyway, the city of Hammond, Indiana and the popular gambling casinos now are notable features in the area.

South Chicago was located in close proximity to the three locale mills, the Calumet River and other Chicago neighborhoods. This area of Chicago contained vast cultures of Serbians, Croatians, Polish, Irish, Mexican and Blacks living in there own segregated areas of the neighborhood working in the steel mills.

The first set of children between Michael and Barbara were old enough by now to work, take care of the younger children and get married. They worked jobs as cooks, waitresses, truck drivers and laborers in the steel mills. Also they were old enough to become engaged and to wed. John and Rose were the first to wed. Rose was married and named her first child Betty. She was the first born of the second generation. Moreover, the last birth of the second generation of Nazys was myself in 1964.

All the children attended Sacred Heart and Marsh Schools and Bowen High School. In one of schools was a notable character named Father Bono Andacic. He ruled Sacred Heart School with a iron fist alike Jozef Stalin did the Soviet Union. Michael Nazy had become enraged with the rigid enforcement of capitol punishment installed by Bono on his son Peter one day. On the next day Peter, Jimmy, Eddie and Billy were all taken out of Sacred Heart after a heated and threatful confrontation between Michael and Bono. All the boys were then enrolled at Marsh School a few blocks away.


In October of 1929 the stock market crashed and America entered into the era of the Great Depression. The Nazy family along with millions of Americans suffered tremendous hardships during the decade of the 1930s. Michael and his sons lost their jobs at the mill alike thousands of others. My name sake Jimmy unfortunately passed away during this decade due to appendicitis. This was a great loss to the family. He was waked at home and was buried at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

In order to support the family Anna ran a boarding house in the Nazy household. This forced the children to live in the basement while transients utilized bedrooms, living room and dining area of the household. Sometimes business was slow resulting in the rent not being met. This forced the family to move residences several times during this bleak economic decade in American history.

During the 1930s sports and music played a big part of the social life in the Nazy family. It helped forget about the problems of hunger, rent and joblessness. The brothers became most talented in these favorite American past times. In the field of athletics Peter, Billy and Eddie Nazy along with John Bahorich all played semi pro baseball and football in their leisure time at Bessemer and Calumet Parks. The East Side Boosters, Sun Dodgers and the Pla-Mors were popular area semi pro baseball teams that existed during this time. My father also starred on the gridiron with the Crimson Tide.

Music also was a escape from the dark days of the depression. Frank and John played in various orchestras and bands in the Chicago area. They played at weddings, dances and even at Wrigley Field. While the "Monsters of the Midway," The Chicago Bears were destroying teams on the gridiron the Nazys were entertaining the crowds in the left field end zone with music.

During the 1930s teenagers of the era often did not finish high school. Once they were efficient in reading, writing and arithmetic they went out to work. Times were hard then and they had to support the family by any means. My father worked as a paper boy selling newspapers on the streets of South Chicago. During the fall when the University of Chicago Maroons were playing Peter hitched a ride north to the neighborhood of Hyde Park to sell newspapers before the football game near 57th Street.

Great crowds ventured here to see the original, "Monsters of the Midway" play other Big Ten Conference opponents. My father and his friends would try to sneak into the stadium which held a capacity crowd of sixty-thousand persons to view great games. During the 1930s the U of C had great football teams and a star half back named Jay Berwanger. He later on went on to become the first player to win the Heisman Trophy Award. This honor is awarded to the nation's best college football player. Also, Amos Alonzo Stagg a infamous and legendary coach in college football coached and led the Maroons to victory.

Meanwhile, Eddie left Chicago and my father Peter soon followed a few years later to the Civilian Conservation Corps created by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This was part of the New Deal created by FDR along with the advent of Social Security, Public Aid and Public Works Programs and other innovated concepts that created jobs in America.

As young adults Eddie and Peter lived in tents and cabins in the forested and mountainous country side of Oregon and Washington. They earned money fighting forest fires, dismantling beaver constructed dams on the Columbia River and escaped the wrath of yellow jacket bees in wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. This was a tremendous and refreshing escape from the poverty stricken urban environment of South Chicago.

Also, during this time fascism was emerging in Germany, Italy and Japan. This would have a great impact on the world, America and the Nazy family. But for now the Nazy brothers were content and happy with their lives. In the late 1930s when our nation's economy was recovering Peter and Eddie came back home to Chicago.

During the 1930s there were marriages and more children added to the second generation. John was married to Lona and John Jr. was born. Frank was married had a son Frank Jr. and nick named him, "Bud." Aunt Josephine was married to Paul Patzer. John and Tony Bahorich were also married during this decade.

There are a few known address for the Nazy family before WW II. One was 9618 Escanaba Avenue. It a few blocks west of Commercial Avenue, due south from South Chicago Avenue and a mile west of the Calumet River. If you pass over the steel bridge along Interstate 90 on the Chicago Skyway you might glance over the area as looking west as passing over the Calumet River. This area and its rooftops are still there today.

Another known address is 90th and Escanaba Avenue. John, Lona and John Jr. lived on this street in the community of South Chicago. Junior attended Saint Peter and Paul School located a few blocks south of his home. Later, this family moved to Denver, Colorado.

 Economically the world, America and the Nazy family had survived the Great Depression of the 1930s. This era was economically heart breaking but the Nazys and other millions of American families survived. They were working once again in the steel mills and other jobs. In August of 1939 World War Two began which created great demands of iron and steel globally..

The era of the Great Depression was vital and a pivotal period for America and the Nazy family. It laid a iron and steel foundation on the basis of mental toughness. This was needed on the battlefield in order to defeat fascism. World War Two had begun and the world was at war. Also the Depression, every day life, old age and great stress raising a large family took its toll on Anna and Michael Nazy.


Four brothers served during World War Two. John Bahorich and Michael Nazy in the Army. Both were active but did not serve overseas. John was a Captain in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Mississippi. Michael was a Staff Sargent stationed in California with the Medical Corps. Billy was in the Coast Guard and was overseas nearly 20 months. My father Peter was in the Navy and saw six years of active duty in the Pacific and European Theaters of War.

During the war years unfortunately my grandmother Anna passed away in 1942. It was great loss to the family. Three years later Michael died at the age of 71. His last known address was 10016 Avenue "M". They were waked and buried from Sacred Heart Church at East 9~h Street near Exchange Avenue. Mrs. Nazy was buried next to her first husband at St. Mary's Croatian Cemetery in Joliet, Illinois. Michael was laid to rest at St. Mary's Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

The last known address pre World War Two address of my father, Billy and Mike was 9618 Escanaba Avenue. After the war when the boys came home they had to live with their brothers and sisters. They had no home due to a fire to the family home and everything was destroyed. The locations of 3047 East 97th Street in South Chicago and 10731 Hoxie Avenue in the South Deering, and on the East Side at 10623 Avenue "F". These all were homes for the Nazy boys.

The house on Escanaba is still there today as the other homes are in South Chicago. It is a blue wooden frame two flat which is still standing in the old neighborhood. It is around the corner from Sacred Heart Church which is one block east of it and it is south of 95th Street and a few blocks west from Commercial Avenue. I often drive past this building on the way home from work and think of my father.

It is also to be noted that a relative of the Nazy family paid the supreme sacrifice for his country during the Second World War. He was Private First Class Edward Cavlovic. He was a close friend and loved cousin to the Nazy family. It was a great loss to his family and to the Nazys. The Nazy and Cavlovic families roots were similar in the old country.  Their common genealogical ties have yet to be known.

The handsome and dashing Ed was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He participated and survived the Normandy D-Day invasion in which seventy percent of his fellow commandos were killed. He and fellow paratroopers were dropped at night behind German lines to secure bridges and to take pressure off the Normandy beaches during the invasion.

This invasion was greatest ever amassed in history of civilization. There were nearly two million men in England preparing for the invasion. Nearly 200,000 troops passed through the beaches of Normandy in a 24 hour period. This enabled the Allies to establish a third front and ultimately defeat Germany.

Steven Spielberg's epic WW II drama which won five Academy Awards called, “Saving Private Ryan" depicted what Ed and his fellow Americans accomplished to save us all. The actor Matt Damon played a paratrooper and a member of the 101st airborne group in the movie. These two airborne groups played a vital role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II.

Also many men from the area fought and died on bloody Omaha Beach on that infamous day of June 6, 1944.4,000 American men died on D Day fighting fascism and to make the world a safe place to live in. I thank them. Ed survived and made souvenirs from his silk parachute.

Three months later Ed and his 82nd Group, the 101st Airborne Unit along with British and Polish commandos were dropped seventy miles behind German lines in Holland. This epic battle was depicted in the movie, "A Bridge Too Far." It was called Operation Market Garden. Ed and his comrades were to secure a bridge near Nijmegen in order to allow the British forces of Field Marshall Montgomery to enter Germany over the Rhine River.

Edward and many other brave young men were killed by overwhelming German forces. They were tremendously outnumbered and fought with great courage He was killed in action on September 17, 1944. This battle was victorious by allied forces as they held the bridge which allowed safe passage for tanks and troops to cross over into Germany.

It is unknown where Ed is buried. There is a American cemetery near the village of Margraten. He could of been buried there. This small hamlet is located near the city of Maastricht in the Netherlands. It is traditional for soldiers to be buried near the battlefield at which they died. It was also a common practice after the War to specially request the remains of a loved ones body to be shipped back to the states for burial. There was a fee required and this act was quite popular after the War. My father told me stories that nearly every weekend after the War concluded he was requested to be a military escort at the funeral of a dead soldier.

There were 25 young men that died during World War II from Sacred Heart Parish alone. Many other young men died during the War on the Southeast Side of Chicago. They paid the supreme sacrifice for freedom in the world. I thank them.

My father also told me it was very sad at these funerals. These heroes of the War were young men. Some were barely twenty years old. They had their whole lives a head of them. Mothers, fathers, wives, sisters and brothers were heart broken by the deaths of these young brave men. Also, my father remarked about how delicious the funeral luncheons were after the conclusion of the burial service.

The Nazy and Cavlovic families were in great mourning due to Edwards death. He will never be forgotten as he was a true hero to all of us. My father never let me forget this story.

John Bahorich and Michael Nazy also played vital roles during World War Two. John was a Captain in the Army air Corps and made a career in the Army. He trained the young teenage boys into fighting men. Mike was a cook and also a military policeman. Billy was in the Coast Guard and was overseas 20 months. He served on the USS Evergreen and the USS Cowslip as a Seaman.

But it was my father Peter who served front line duty and he who fought the Japanese and Germans with great bravery. He was inducted into the United States Navy in 1940. He did his basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station. It is still located 20 miles north of the city of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan. It was a popular site that the Navy used during World War Two and today in training boys to become fighting men.

Peter was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. It was anchored off San Diego, California. He was assigned to a crew of five men to act as a loader of a five inch anti aircraft gun. It was located on the stern (back) of the ship. Later, the "Lady Lex" was ordered to be stationed at Pearl Harbor which is still today a major port for the American fleet in the Pacific.

My father enjoyed the Navy visiting exotic ports, sailing the high seas, playing baseball and even having batting practice on the flight deck. His team won the fleet championship during the fall of 1941. They were all awarded a watch by the Navy for their feat. As the months passed and the holiday season approached Peter was looking forward to coming home on leave to visit his family back in South Chicago.

On Friday, December 5th, 1941 the Lexington had orders to leave Pearl Harbor. The ship was loaded with fighter planes and ordered to take them to Midway Island to bolster defenses. Also, the other aircraft carriers such as the Hornet, Wasp, Enterprise, Yorktown and Saratoga were all out at sea on maneuvers over this weekend. It was a common naval practice before Ww II started that half the naval fleet was out at sea on maneuvers and the other half anchored at bay in Pearl Harbor.

My father has often told me about a grand conspiracy about the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. This attack was created into a war drama in Hollywood called, "Tora, bra, Tora" (Attack, Attack, Attack). This was a excellent movie describing the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Also there is a book titled, "Admiral Kimmel's Story" that depicts the events of the attack on Pearl Harbor and America's passiveness to luring Japan into making the first move to start the war.

Also, I can remember my father stating that FDR, the politicians in Washington and other federal dignitaries all knew the Japs were going attack. My dad also replied that the massacre could of been avoided. It was a plot to get America into the war and the government gain public support for fighting Japan. FDR made sure the carriers were out of the harbor that day my father often remarked.

I also can vividly remember on December 7th,1991 sitting on the couch in our family den with my father watching the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. There was a special on television and ceremonies to honor the dead Americans. I was shocked to hear father begin to cry with great sadness that he endured while watching this program. I didn't know his feelings until then. I hugged him immediately. And I thanked him for his great courage. He told me often that we fought that war so my generation didn't have to go to war. I thank him.

My father and other sailors were in tears when the Lex steamed back into Pearl Harbor on the following Tuesday. All the boys viewed the wreckage caused by the Japs sneak attack. They all wiped their brows and sought revenge with great anger. In months to come these newcomers to the War would cause great havoc to the Japanese.

These young men were difterent then the ones of today. Their tough up bringing during the depression having to survive on little means made them mentally tough. Also back then there was tremendous pride, courage and patriotism. All these attributes made these 18 and 19 year old boys into a fighting machine which enabled America to defeat fascism globally.

Six months passed and America was at war with Japan, Italy and Germany. It was in March and April of 1942 and the Lexington was in the Coral Sea getting its sweet revenge against the Japs. The Lex along with its escort of a cruiser and several destroyers sank two Jap carriers and caused other great damage to enemy forces during the battles of Bougainville, Lae and Salamaua, Talugi Harbor and in the Coral Sea.

A naval flyer on my father's ship was awarded the Medal of Honor for shooting down six Jap bombers. His name was Edward "Butch" O'Hare and this pilot was considered America's first War hero of WW II. He was the son of a Chicago businessman that had ties to Mafia in Chicago and links to Al Capone. Before the war his father was gunned down on Ogden Avenue on the South Side of Chicago for being a government informant. It was stated that he did rat on Capone to the FBI and in return his son was accepted to Annapolis Naval Academy.

Orchard Airport in Chicago was renamed to O'Hare airport in Ed's honor. There is a Grumman Wildcat fighter plane erected in his memory at the world's busiest airport. Butch was a hero in states and was highlighted by the government to improve public morale and promote the selling of war bonds. He decided to go back into action in 1943. He went out on a mission In the Pacific and never returned. His remains are unknown but his valor remains to this day.

Later in May of 1942, the Baffle of Coral Sea was a significant one during World War Two. It stopped the Jap movement south to Australia. Secondly, this was the first naval baffle ever in the world which airplanes not ships decided the outcome of the baffle. Thirdly, it marked the beginning of the end for the Empire of Japan. The Japs suffered tremendous losses of many ships and men during this baffle.

One month later in June of 1942 three other Jap carriers were sunk and the tide of the war in the Pacific had changed. The Japs supreme naval power in a few months succumbed to the American Navy. At the Baffle of Midway, which was also made into a motion picture the tide of the War in the Pacific began to turn in favor of America.

My dad's ship the Lexington actually was sunk by an American destroyer on May 8th,1942. It took several hits by Jap torpedo bombers but remained afloat. There were roaring fires, dark smoke and internal explosions occurring on the Lex but this proud Lady would not sink. The Lex laid dead in the water exploding and stubbornly not sinking.

The Lexington was engineered to take many fish (torpedoes) into her and still be afloat. But the Lex had great supplies of fuel, bombs and oil which caught on fire and started to blow up. As the sailors were evacuated the ship lay dead in the sea. To prevent the fire glow from it to give the Japs a clue to where other US ships were in the area it was sunk by two torpedoes from a American destroyer.

It was amazing and a gift from God that 92 percent of the sailors on the ship were rescued. Out of a crew of nearly three thousand only 200 died. Peter was rescued by the USS Hamman, a destroyer which picked up nearly 800 sailors out of the sea.

The Coral Sea water temperature on average is 90 degrees in summer and the threat of sharks are unavoidable. But, due to the massive explosions of the Lex before she sank not one shark was seen. As the proud Lady protected her crew before she sank to the bottom of the sea.

Soon Peter was sent home on leave for a week. He was promised one month but it was cut short due to War in Europe. While he was home on leave my father visited family and friends. He ate dinner at Roma's on Commercial Avenue, went to Annie Paun's Bar for a beer and ventured to Sacred Hear Church to say a prayer of thankfulness to God that he survived the battles in the Pacific

Then my father was ordered to report to Pensacola, Florida and later he was trained at Newport News, Virginia. He was assigned to a 36 foot wooden submarine chaser. It was equipped with torpedo launchers, depth charges and anti aircraft guns. Peter and has new crew trained on the boat and its guns for weeks preparing them for the European Theater of War. My father's great experience from baffling the Japs was needed among the young raw recruits doing battle with the Axis forces in the Mediterranean Sea realm.

Through years of 1942-1944 Peter participated in the Invasion of Sicily, Italy (Salerno) and D-Day Plus Three which was the invasion of Southern France on the Mediterranean Seacoast. These invasions were all crucial in defeating Germany. They were all Allied victories which resulted in the ultimate defeat of the Nazi war machine.

Peter and crew were on a small tiny wooden thirty-six foot long sub chaser. It commonly resembles the more popular steel Patrol Boat (PT Boat) that was used in the Pacific Theater. My father and the crew played a vital role in the amphibious operations used by allied forces during World War II.

The crew escorted and provided fire power for the Higgins boat troop landing craft that landed on the beaches of Southern Europe. As seen in the epic war saga, "Saving Private Ryan" this was a suicidal, hazardous and courageous feat done my father and his fellow crew. The bravery they had along with mental toughness ought to commended.

Peter also was fortunate to be in the company of George S. Patton. This man is considered one of the best generals that America ever had. Old Blood and Guffs fought the war his way. He was old fashion, stubborn, mean and he cursed a lot. It was also noted that Patton read the bible each night before bed.

There was a movie made about him titled, "Patton" which won a Academy Award in 1971 for best picture. Also, actor George C. Scott won a Oscar for the role of Patton in the movie. This WW Il saga was a favorite of my dad for years. I can remember watching it at the theater in the early 1970s and on cable tv today.

The four star general was given a ride by Peter's wooden gun boat from the Sicilian towns of Gala (Gay-La) to Palermo. George S. Patton remarked to my father and the rest of the crew loudly with the use of great profanity about how young they all were. The General always said what was on his mind. The crews of the two wooden 36 foot sub-chasers my father served on were the USS 5C762 and USS 5C1044 They did heroic duties in the Mediterranean Sea realm that enabled America to win the war. They escorted Higgins troop landing craft to shore under great enemy fire. The sub chaser crew also came up to the shore line and provided support for troops landing on the beach. They were active in troop convoys in the Med Sea area. Also, the patrol boat chased after Nazi submarines with depth charges, provided anti aircraft support during aerial bombardment and fished out of the sea dead fliers.

During the last days of the war Peter had light duty as he called it on the USS Repose HS-16. This was a hospital ship that carried the wounded from Europe back to the states. He relaxed on board, flirted with nurses and was happy the war was concluding.

After the war ended in late summer of 1945 my father was assigned to Great Lakes Naval Station. He was glad the war was over as everyone was throughout the world. He was a Boatswains 2-C and was a supervisor back at the base. The movie actor Rock Hudson was under my father's reign of command in late 1945. He was a handsome man, respectful and a good sailor at the naval station.

In January of 1946 my father was honorably discharged from the United States Navy. He had served 59 months overseas and had performed with great bravery on the European and Pacific battlefields. He received the following citations from the United States Navy for his service in World War II. Peter was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with 2 stars, a European Theater Ribbon with 2 stars, a American Defense, American Theater, and Victory Ribbons.

In conclusion, Thank you Edward for sacrificing your life for your country and my family's safety. Also Peter, Billy, Michael and John I applaud you for fighting, training raw recruits and protecting us from the enemy. If I could only be that brave for my country and family.


As World War II concluded the 12 million soldiers that fought during the War came back to America. They went off as boys and came home as men. They soon were married, had children and bought houses in large cities and adjacent emerging suburbs. They also purchased autos and sought blue collar jobs. Industry enabled America to defeat fascism and to become the world's Supreme Global Power. While Japan and Europe was recovering industrially from the destruction of the war the United States dominated industry world wide.

During the decades of the late 1940s till the early 1980s the Southeast side of Chicago was once one of the largest industrial regions of world. The mills of United States Steel, Wisconsin Steel and Republic Steel employed nearly twenty thousand workers.These steel workers also lived in close proximity to the mills.

Almost all of the Nazy brothers labored in these steel mills, were married and settled down in neighborhoods located near the steel plants. The families settled into the communities of South Deering, South Chicago, South Shore, Roseland, East Side and Hegewisch. These were sections of the city of Chicago after WW II that boomed in population and prospered during this era.

The Nazy brothers made a excellent living laboring in the steel mills. They had steady jobs, a decent wage and their wives stayed at home to raise and spoil their children. Consumer goods were cheap and affordable to all. Secondly, it was also a short commute to work and lots of over time that doubled their pay. Finally, if you quit your job one day it was a sure bet you would land one the next day. The economy was just that good in America during this era of blue collar jobs in America. This was quite a reward after growing up poor and having little if anything during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

During this era also the second and third generations of the Nazy family were being born. There were many baptisms, communions, confirmations and marriages at Sacred Heart Church on East 9~h Street and in other churches in Chicago. Also there were many family picnics held at Eggers Grove and Wolfe Lake located on the East Side. Also there were many socials held at Aunt Ann's bungalow located at 10623 Avenue "F"


During the 1940s and onward to the mid 19905 the Nazy family began to grow in numbers. Michael Jr. wed Mary and had no children.They resided all their lives at East 97th Steet off Commerical Avenue. Eddie married Mary and had Eddie Jr., Donnie and Joyce. They lived at 10731 Hoxie Avenue in the community of South Deering. They later moved to 108th and Buffalo Avenue in the East Side community.

Ann and Bill had a daughter named Barbara and raised Bud on the East Side at 10623 Avenue "F". My father also lived with them for awhile before he married my mother. Jo and Paul had a daughter named Carol and they lived in Evergreen Park, Illionois on Utica Avenue near 98th Street. Billy married Gladys who had three childern and lived on 108th and Avenue "H". Peter married Mary and for eight years they lived in a apartment on 108th and avenue"N". Later they bought the house I am living in presently at 10514 Avenue "E".

Tony Bahorich and his wife Loretta resided on the East Side. They had three childern named Richard, Cathy and Lynne. John Bahorich had three sons. He lived in the Midwest region of America.

During this era Eddie Jr. married Sharon and in the mid 1960s. They had two childern named Eddie III and Dawn. They lived on Crandon Avenue in Calumet City, Illinois. Eddie Jr. and wife Sharon have moved to Portage, Indiana. Dawn currently lives in Lisle, Illinois and Eddie Ill lives near Los Angeles, California.

My cousin Betty married Len and had two children Ron and Laurie. They lived on the south side of Chicago on Laughlin Avenue and later to moved to Oak Lawn, Illinois. They lived on 107th and Kenneth Avenue. Aunt Joe and my cousin Betty currently reside in Palos Park, Illinois and they live off of 135th Street near Carl Sandburg High School.

Eddies' two other childern Don and Joyce moved from the Southeast Side decades ago. Donnie, wife and son live in Florida. Joyce, husband and two sons reside in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Peter married my mother Mary and I was born. John Jr. married Margaret and had a large family. They were Janet, Paula, David, Robert and Peter. They lived in Evanston and Kanakee, Illinois and in Minnieapolis, Minnesota. As Junior's family has grown four out of the five childern have settled in the metropolitan area of Seattle, Washington. John Jr. and wife Margie are currently residing in Reno, Nevada.

Carol married Ben and they had a daughter named Joy. They settled in the far western suburban of Burr Ridge, Illinois. Joy married Eric and they reside on West Belmont Avenue on the North Side of Chicago.

Barbara was married and had a daughter, Anne Marie and they lived on Kenilworth Avenue in Calumet City. Barbara then moved to New Lennox, lllinois. Anne Marie is currently residing on the North Side of Chicago.

Cousin Bud lived in the neighborhood of Pullman for nearly a decade. Before then he resided in residence at 10623 Avenue "F". He has retired and is living a comfortable life in Dowagiac, Michigan.

Kathy Bahorich was married and had four childern named Debbie, Kerrie, Joe and Danny. They lived on the East Side on 1 lOth and Avenue "J". Cathy still resides at this loaction. Kerrie married Mike and they have a daughter and live in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Danny lives in Burnham, Illinois. Joe resides in South Holland, Illinois and Debbie lives in California.

Lynne Bahorich married and had two childern. They were Philip and Kelly. They lived on the East Side at 3900 block of East 105th Street. Then later they moved to Northwest Indiana. Phil and Kelly reside in this area with thier famalies.

Also, and to a great dismay in our contemporary society divorce is rampant and has occured unfortunately in the Nazy family. In 1940 the divorce rate in the USA was one in six. Today one in two marriages in America end in divorce. This is tragic to all members and it was uncommon to get divorced during the 1930s and 1940s.

Also other family members were married too. Ronnie was married and Jamie was born. They live in Alsip in their "K" Cape Cod home. It is to the south of 127th Street. This is near Interstate 294. Driving south look east and before you cross the bridge over the Cal Sag Channel look for the house with the symbol of a "K" on it. Be sure to check the garage for cousin Ron is a Ham radio operator. Lastly, his sister Laurie married Bruce and they had three childern. They currently are residing in West Chicago, Illinois.

There were fifteen children in the first generation. They were three sets of children in the first generation. It was his, hers and ours. The first set of children born to Michael and Barbara. Secondly, there were three children that my grandmother Anna Yurkas Bahorich had with her first husband before his untimely death. Thirdly, after the marriage of my grandparents (Michael and Anna) they had five boys that were born.

In the second generation there were 15 children being born which I am the last born in 1964. I have counted the third generation and the total is 24. The fourth generation sum is at 18 as of the year 2000. Between the four grandparents they produced nearly 70 persons.

Also, in 1946 My father tried his hand at major league baseball. He and a family friend Frank Oganovich were signed by a local scout of the Chicago White Sox organization. They then ventured to Wisconsin with big dreams of making it to the majors. He was placed in minor leagues to prep him for the major leagues. He was in Class "C Ball" which is alike Class "A" of today.

He was a outfielder in the Lake Superior League. Peter was 27, injured a ankle and was released from the organization. One year later he rejected another chance to play due to his age and low pay. He was working in the steel mills, enjoying his life and later courted then married my mother.

At the end of this era in 1980 many of the Nazy brothers were retired and enjoying their Golden Years. Some moved to Florida, the suburbs of Chicago or stayed put in their frame or bungalow homes on the south side of Chicago. Also during this time American industry was falling from their global dominance.

After World War II, Europe and Japan were devastated by warfare. Both their governments and economies destroyed and were vulnerable to other political influences. The Cold War began and a great threat of communism sponsored by the Soviet Union and China was spreading in eastern Europe and in Asia. Thus the Americans enabled economic development in these regions to thwart the expansion of communism.

The Marshall Plans was installed and funds were allocated in the billions of dollars to economically aid in the development of economies and the industry might of Japan and Europe after the Second World War. This enabled democracy and capitalism to become permanent in regions of the world. Also, after years of reconstruction of industry in Europe and Japan global competition in manufacturing was beginning to become quite competitive in the 1980s.

Nearly forty years of great prosperity globally in steel making dominance in America brought middle class wealth to all family members. New autos, college tutions, affordable mortgages and various family vacations were popular during the boom time of the steel mills in America. The brothers and sisters were spoiling us second generation Nazys with the amenities of luxury they did not have during the Depression.

Also during this era Japan and the European Union were rebuilding from the ruble of World War Two. There was the erecting of modern effective steel mills that would dominate the globe. It also would force the downsizing of and closures of the steel industry in America.

During the 1980s the USA began to lose its rank as leader in making of iron and steel. During the 1 960s America steel plants smelted and produced nearly seventy percent of the globe's output. The Nazy family and the nation all prospered due to this monopoly of industrial output. Then suddenly the King of Steel was knocked off his throne. What had happened to this global giant?

America lost its industrial might in steel making due several factors. They were high union wages and failure of American steel companies to invest in upgrading plant facilities. Secondly, global competition increased dramatically with Japan, the European Union and other nations making steel quicker, cheaper and faster then American steel. Foreign nations were dumping cheaper steel in to the USA freely due to limited government interference. Lastly, no tariffs on imported steel and lack of government subsidies to American steel companies caused the decline in steel making nationally. The politicians in Washington looked the other way at the American steel industry and the Nazy family.

The decline in the steel industry hurt America, the Southeast Side of Chicago and the Nazy family. Nationally, the middle class lost millions of great paying jobs in cities such as in Pittsburgh, Penn., Youngstown, Ohio and in other towns in the steel belt. On the Southeast Side of Chicago and in Northwest Indiana area nearly 20,000 jobs were lost.

Also neighborhoods that were once rich became poor and white flight has occurred all over the Southeast side. The Nazy family members were mostly retiring by then and enjoyed their pensions, children and grandchildren. The steel belt had become the rust belt. An end to a great period of Industry in America had come to end.

It was originally the steel industry and its economic opportunities that kept the Nazy family all in one area for long periods of time. Then in the early 1980s with the mills closing, white flight spreading and a new emerging technical and automated economy evolving diaspora occurred to the Nazy family. The loss of jobs in the steel mills pushed the family and the second and third generations out from the southeast side of Chicago.

Nazys are now living in suburban Chicago, Northwest Indiana and in the southern and western regions of the United States. They had left to seek jobs and a better living elsewhere alike their grandparents did nearly a century ago..


As the Nazy family and the world enters into the 21st century there has been a great shift in more developed national economic structures. Global economies in the advanced world are changing due to advancements in automation, technology and the service and information industries. The secondary sector of the American economic structures which provided manufacturing type of jobs are of the past in America.

Today, there was been a great loss in secondary jobs of the labor force in countries like the USA, Japan and Europe during the beginning of the 1980s. This had led to a tremendous growth in tertiary (white collar and/or service related area) sector. Also, with the growth of computer technology and the world wide web (Internet) the quaternary sector of America is emerging to become quite a formidable division of the labor force in the upcoming 21st century.

One now needs technical training and a college education rather than a strong back and muscular shoulders to work in the steel mill to compete for jobs today. Many of the Nazys have gone on to college and been quite successful. This is a major trend currently in more developed nations.

John Jr. earned the highest honors as he earned a PHD in Organic Chemistry from Northwestern University. He later became Vice President of Heinkel (formerly General Mills) and is now enjoying retirement. Many of the family have gone to college and graduated from Big Ten Universities. Some are educators at community colleges, high school and elementary schools. Some are engaged in the business world. Some work at Boeing and with Three Com. While Eddie Jr. I believe is the only Nazy working in the steel mills.

In 1982 my father was forced into a early retirement that he thoroughly enjoyed for 15 years. Peter along with a few of his brothers, close friends and brothers in law gave me solid advice to go to college rather than become a mill rat. As a child my friends and I had always planned to become a rodent that labored in the steel mills. There were never any plans of college, graduate school or law and medical school for us Southeast Siders. A job at the steel mill was always waiting for myself.

Also as we approach and enter the new century mostly all of the first generation of the Nazys have passed away. They all had a rough life during the Depression and World War II. But they were rewarded with great prosperity of the steel industry in America and spoiled us later generations tremendously. They are gravely dearly missed and will never be forgotten.

During the 1980s and 1990s I attended several funerals of aunts, uncles and my father. I was a pall bearer for most of the funerals. As I looked into their caskets and viewed this first Nazys in America I said often thanked them and vowed I would never forgot them. I felt a great lost because they were there for me all the time. If I only could be as half as good as a relative as they were to me I would be happy.

There are also two remaining members of the first generation. They are Rose who is 95 years old and Josephine 89.These two women have endured a long and fruitful life. They all have lived through the greatest moments of the Nazy family and American history. It will also be sad day when they pass for it will mark a end to the first generation of the Nazy family and links to my late father.

This first generation of Nazys and Americans that served and lived through World War II was considered by media icon Tom Brokaw as the, "Greatest Generation." This also was a title to his book in 1998. Theses first born Nazys in America have contributed to the history of world, America and played a vital role in ourselves being cultured. We should never forget them. For our existence and survival is directly due to them.

This was my attempt to record the Nazy family history to the best of my ability. These were the stories told to me by my father Peter over the thirty years of our relationship. I regret and to apologize to other family members that If I failed to identify any family member in the narrative. Also, I am sorry of my ignorance of many stories by other family members that were not mentioned.

I needed to catalog this history for it is almost 100 years of our family in America. This Nazy legacy must never be forgotten. This story and others about our family must be told, written and expanded into the next century and beyond. Also enclosed is a family tree.


Jim Nazy was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois 1964. I was named after my father's brother that died in the 1930s. Peter and Jimmy were very close and his death was a great loss to the family. I was raised in community of the East Side. I have received a Master's in Geography and a BA in Speech Communications from Chicago State University. Presently, I am a college geography instructor at Moraine Valley College in Palos Hills, Illinois. I have also been employed by the Chicago Public Schools and with the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census Bureau. I am also carrying on a family tradition as a bachelor.

Please feel free to contact myself about this paper. For it is not flawless and needs feedback from all that read it. Contact me at the following:

Jim Nazy email: bijsn@csu.edu

10514 Avenue "E"
Chicago, Illinois 60617

Descendants of Michael Nazaj

1 [1] Michael Nazaj 1871 - 1945

.. +Barbara - 1913

......... 2 John Nazaj 1899 - 1983

............. +Lona

.................... 3 John Nazaj

......... 2 Nick Nazaj 1900 -

......... 2 Rose Nazy 1904 -

.................... 3 Betty

......... 2 Michael Nazy 1906 - 1988

............. +Mary 1909 - 1995

......... 2 Frank Nazy 1908 - 1990

.................... 3 Frank Nazy

......... 2 Ann Nazy 1910 -

............. +Bill

.................... 3 Barbara

......... 2 Maria Nazy 1912 - Abt. 1914

*2nd Wife of [1] Michael Nazaj:

.. +Anna Yurkas 1883 - 1942

......... 2 John Bahorich Bef. 1910 -

......... 2 Tony Bahorich Bef. 1910 -

......... 2 Josephine Bahorich 1910 -

......... 2 Edward Nazy 1915 - 1978

............. +Mary

.................... 3 Edward Nazy

.................... 3 Don Nazy

.................... 3 Joyce Nazy

......... 2 Peter Nazy 1918 - 1997

............. +Mary

.................... 3 James Nazy

......... 2 James Nazy 1920 -

......... 2 William Nazy 1922 - 1996

............. +Gladys

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