By Colleen Lockhart
Ann Youshak may be the oldest Geauga County resident “centenarian”, having turned 106 years of age on Nov. 16, 2019. Her parents, Michael and Sophia (Sukovach) Kuchta, immigrated separately to the United States from land in the Carpathian Mountains between Slovakia and Poland. They each happened to settle in Chisholm, Minnesota. They met and married and soon began raising their ten children: Mary, Ann, John, Mike, Helen, Julie, Eva, Steve, Nellie, and Millicent. Ann was the second born. Julie Burton, Eva Pechota and Nellie Milhof still live in the area.
When Ann was six years old, her parents had saved up enough money to buy farmland and the Kuchta family followed a number of Russian families and settled in Windsor, Ohio. The family worked hard clearing their land for farming, growing wheat and corn and raising dairy cows.
Ann met Isadore, her future husband, when they both attended the Russian Orthodox Church, Sts. Peter and Paul, that was established in a house in Huntsburg on Route 528.
Isadore and his brother purchased 100 acres across from his parent’s farm in Huntsburg at a Sheriff’s sale. He bought his brother out and in 1935 he built a house. When they married on Nov. 7, 1937, Ann moved to her new home in Huntsburg.
Neither Isadore nor Ann had high school diplomas. They sacrificed much in order to send their children to college: daughter Maryann Walter, sons Dr. I. J. (Jack) Youshak OD and Dr. Michael Youshak DVM. She has eight grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and two great, great grandchildren.
Ann was always a great cook and loved to make the traditional ethnic foods for her family, like Halupki (stuffed cabbage), pierogies, Halushki (noodles), Staranko (fried dough) and the Holy Night Supper on Christmas Eve. Her son, Michael, carries on the Holy Night Supper tradition at Christmas.
Ann held many jobs while her family was growing up, including working for the 1950 U.S. Census, in the Huntsburg cafeteria with Mrs. Sidley, at TAPCO in Euclid, and at Johnson Rubber Co. in Middlefield where she formed many lasting friendships.
Ann’s philosophy of life: “I worked hard, took care of my family … I did what I had to do.” On her 102 birthday, she was asked if she thought she would make it to 110. She answered, “Sure!” and her family laughed, but after recently celebrating her 106 years, they have a feeling that she just might.