year old Mary Neumann*
worked as a housekeeper at the rectory for Father Joseph C. Ocenasek of Our Lady of Lourdes Bohemian
Church at the corner of 15th and 42nd St. (today's
S. Keeler). The rectory was at 1355 40th St.
Nothing was reported about who
attended the theater with Mary, or where her body
emigrated from Austria to the United States with her
parents in 1872 when a toddler. Her parents,
Joseph and Barbara Neuman, settled the family in
Baltimore, Maryland. Mary was one of four
children. In 1896 Mary relocated to Chicago.
The Monday after the fire
Father Joseph Ocenasek set out to escort Mary's body
to her parents in Baltimore, MD but at the
Pittsburgh train station passed out and was taken to
a hospital. He remained in the hospital for a
few days while Mary's body went on to Baltimore.
It was reported that he suffered from a heart
problem and was weakened by exhaustion. If the
hours looking for Mary's body Wednesday and
Thursday, delivered multiple masses over the weekend
then boarded a train, a weakened heart might well
have been over taxed. He passed away a year later to the month, at age thirty-five.
Our Lady of Lourdes Bohemian
Church was founded in 1892 and Father Ocenasek
became pastor in 1896, remaining until his death.
Ocenasek was said to be a self-made man who had put
himself through his seminary education after
arriving alone in Chicago from Bohemia as a fourteen
year old boy.
Catholic Charities operates
Our Lady of Lourdes Child Development Center in a
portion of the original property on 15th and Keeler
Joseph F. Halik was named as the person who
identified Mary's body.†
Mary's funeral was held at St.
Wenceslaus Catholic Church on Central Avenue in
Baltimore, officiated by Rev. Edward Hornung.
Burial was at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in
Thirty-three-year-old Anna Cerny Hrody* (b. c1870)
lived at Anna was the mother of five children
under age seven (Mildred, Clara, Edward, Joseph Jr.
and Thomas) and the wife of Joseph T. Hrody
(1870-1940), married in 1891.
Joseph was a sign and show card painter in business
with twenty-nine-year-old Cornelius H. Babbe
Babbe & Hrody, in 1903 operating at 189 Clark.‡
The sign business was successful
enough that the Hrody family owned their home at
1353 S. 40th St. in Chicago by 1900 when Joseph was
just thirty-three. No small feat in 1900.
Nothing was reported about who attended
the theater with Anna, where she was seated or
buried and nothing was reported about her injuries
or funeral. Her body was found at
Horan's morgue and identified by Joseph F. Halik.†
Anna is thought to have
been the daughter of German immigrants, Albert and
Kate Cerny, with a passel of sisters.
years after the fire
remarried in 1905, to one of Annie's sisters, Mary
Cerny (1851-1961), the widow of John Hubalek.
Mary added her two girls, Mae and Minnie Hubalek, to
Joseph's five and raised them as her own.
until 1930 that Joseph and his wife lived without
their children in the household.
was still in the sign business at the time of his
Discrepancies and addendum
In 1907 Joseph and Cornelius
patented a method of producing shadowed lettering on
In 1895 Joseph partnered with
his brother in law,
Frank Uhrer (1867-1900),
husband of Annie's sister, Kate, and Alois Petrik,
to form the Merchants Parlor Furniture Company.
Annie had married Joseph and Kate had married Frank
on the same day in 1891.
spellings of Mary's last name included Newman, Newmann and Neuman.
Anna was sometimes referred to as Annie. The last
name was spelled "Hrody" in Iroquois stories in 1903
but the coroner spelled it as "Hrodij" on the
inquest list and in city directories and other documents
spellings included "Hrodej," "Hrodei" and
† Joseph F. Halik may have been a bicycle maker who lived near the church and was also
an Austrian immigrant.
structure leased by a group of merchants, including Babbe and Hrody,
for $5,000 per year.