Lots of family, friends and residents helped Josie Vinar celebrate her 100th birthday at a party on Dec. 17, 2016 at Meadows on Main of Renville.
Josie Vinar as a young country school teacher. Contributed photo
Josie was born in Kandiyohi County on Dec. 17, 1916. She went to District 64 through eighth grade. She graduated from Olivia High School in 1935 and graduated from teachers training in Olivia with a two-year certificate. She taught in country schools including District 106 in Kandiyohi county (where her oldest daughter was one of her first grade students). She also taught in Renville County and in Todd County. During WWII, there was a shortage of teachers as women took other jobs to help in the war effort.
She met Raymond Vinar at a barn dance. They were married July 23, 1938. They always polka danced. Josie and Raymond moved many times before settling in Olivia in 1960. Josie did home and office cleaning work and then worked in the laundry department at Renville County Hospital until retiring in 1992. Ray worked at the Olivia Feed Mill until he retired and worked at Mike’s Standard. Ray passed away in 1996.
Ray and Josie raised seven children. Today, Josie has 21 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, 6 great- great-grandchildren and there are 29 in-laws making a total of 104 descendants with four deceased. Over half of them attended a family gathering in July 2016.
Josie moved to Meadows on Main where she and Anna Kodet used to spend time together making homemade egg noodles, kolaches and many ethnic (Czech) foods they shared together.
Her parents, Frank Malecek and Milada Matejka, immigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1906. They met in the USA and married Dec. 11, 1913. They farmed in southern Kandiyohi County where they raised small grain, livestock, corn and sugar beets. The sugar beets were dug by hand and loaded on trucks with forks. The children spent the winter stripping “down” from goose feathers from geese they raised to make pillows and comforters. The feathers were woven together with string to make pastry brushes. They had a big garden and always made 20 gallons of sauerkraut as pork, potatoes and sauerkraut were often on the menu.
Josie has six siblings. Her sister Lucy, lives in Pocahontas, Ia. Also still living is Florence Malecek (Mrs. James Malecek) and Louise Malecek (Mrs. Edward Malecek). Her sister Cecelia and brothers Frank, Charles, James and Edward are deceased.
Josie Vinar at her 100th birthday party in December. Contributed photo
Josie’s hobbies include sewing, crocheting, crafts, gardening, and house plants (especially African Violets). She still crochets. She always baked Kolache and Houska for Christmas and special occasions. Goose, dumplings and sauerkraut were a staple of the Christmas meal.
Josie and Raymond belonged to a card club and she still enjoys playing cards with children and grandchildren. They also watched the Minnesota Twins games together and liked stopping at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.