Her journey was celebrated Saturday during a reception and luncheon at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where family members, friends and parishioners gathered.
Born in Wieliczka, Poland, on March 19, 1910, she and her husband, Jan, and three children, Kasimir, Malgorzata and Eva, were living in the small town near Krakow in 1944, when Soviet forces moved into Poland. The Kachmareks decided to leave their hometown and made their way to Austria.
Following the war, with Poland under Soviet control, the family opted not to return to Poland and to remain in an Austrian displaced-persons camp. It was there they applied for immigration to the U.S. and were eventually accepted. Through the Lutheran Church, they were sponsored by Irvin and Elva Petz of Tracy and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to come to the U.S. They arrived by Army troop transport ship in 1951, making their home in Tracy.
Jan Kachmarek worked on the Petz farm while the three children born in Poland and a second son, John, born in Tracy in 1953, attended New Jerusalem School and Tracy High School.
After son Kasimir (“Kas”) left for Lutheran seminary in St. Louis and daughter Malgorzata (“Maggie”) married Karl Priebe of Tracy in 1960, Josie and Jan Kachmarek and their two younger children moved to the San Francisco Peninsula and later to Santa Clara and eventually to Huntington Beach in Southern California.
Josie’s husband died in 1977, and she remained in Huntington Beach until three years ago, when she returned to Tracy to live with her daughter, Maggie Priebe, a retired Tracy real estate agent. Since last month, Josie has lived at New Hope Care Center.
Josie’s two younger children, John and Eva, died within the past decade, and a son-in-law, Karl Priebe, died in 2008.
Her son, Kas, a retired Lutheran pastor, lives in Hillsboro, Ore. There are 10 grandchildren, including Suzanne Fegett of Tracy, and 18 great-grandchildren.