My Mother was born in Dixon, Illinois (also birthplace and childhood home of the great communicator, Ronald Reagan) in 1932 of English/German/Pennsylvania Dutch stock that has been here since the Revolution. She experienced what could best be called a rural Depression Era childhood, horses, goats, cows and bare feet. She was, I believe, the third of ten children. She lived out her formative years there in Dixon only to move to Chicago in her later, post war years. She wanted to "bust out" of the small town and try to make it in the "big city". Upon moving to Chicago she got a job as a waitress in a fancy downtown restaurant and continued that time-honored occupation all the way until they retired. After her first few years there she met my father, fell in love (he had a "thing" for redheads I was told) and got married. One year later I was born followed by my brother Steve and then Dave, all two years apart. My Mom was one of the greatest cooks I ever met. She also had an unequaled love for wildlife, nature, flowers, trees and plants. Lots of plants! Sounds almost like an environmentalist except I clearly remember during Bill Clinton's presidency she got so mad at him about the assault weapons ridiculousness that she actually joined the NRA! I couldn't believe it and we had a good laugh over that. She was also forgiving and kind and would never hold a grudge (that I knew of anyway). She was the best........
Honor thy Father and thy Mother
My parents have passed away and unfortunately this is the only way I can (publicly anyway) now honor them. I'll always feel like I never did it well enough while they were alive.
On Wednesday, 11 April, 2001 my Mom passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack at their home in central Wisconsin. I never thought this day would come and I can't believe I'm writing these words. I thought my parents would just live forever. My Dad passed away 27 July, 1998 which should have taught me a lesson. I wanted to devote this portion of my website to my Mom and Dad. Never having made their acquaintance I'm sure most of you may not care about them but it's just something I feel I have to do. I always bragged about them when they were alive and now I think I need to brag to the world about how great they were and how much they affected the lives of myself, my brothers and everyone who knew them. Having children now myself and being older I wish they were still alive just so I could apologize to them.....not for any one thing in particular, but just because now I understand what they surely had to go through.
My father was born in Chicago in 1927 in an area now known as "Old Town", currently an affluent and rebuilt part of Chicago just north of downtown, think "brownstones". Back then it wasn't so nice. It was pretty much the slums. The second of three children he was named after Tom Mix, my Grandfather's favorite Cowboy radio star. He lived on Sedgwick St. and enjoyed a childhood during the depression and the famous gangster era firsthand. I remember stories of he and his friends fighting over apple cores and potatoes being cooked on fires in the streets and allies. Stories of people being shot or machine gunned in the street or the local barbershop! Playing kick-the-can. His cousin, Sam Joseph, the most decorated cop on the Chicago Police Dept. (at least he was) was spanked severely by his Mom for bringing home his hankerchief that he had dipped in John Dillinger's blood in the ally next to the Biograph movie theater. Interesting childhood! My father later quit from LaSalle High School to join the Navy (Fireman First Class) and "fight the Japs". He went to Great Lakes Naval Training Center and then was stationed aboard the U.S.S. New Jersey battleship, BB62. His Dad, my Grandfather was in Europe for W.W. 1 stationed with horse drawn artillery units. After getting out of the Navy he finished his schooling at Washburn Trade School and went on to become a Tool & Die maker. I have to thank him (and actually did many times) for teaching me so much of what he knew. Thank God I listened to some of it! I am very proud of my Dad for all he did for his country and his family. My Dad and Mom worked very hard, saved and scrimped and he was able to fully retire at age 55 and move into the woods of Wisconsin, his lifelong dream. I remember talking with him a few weeks before he died about how they had been able to so far enjoy a good solid 16 years of retirement, gardening, building birdhouses, etc., as compared to a lot of people that seem to finally retire and then just die. Strange how life works.............
Ruth Anne (Yates) Sargis
1932 ~ 2001
During my childhood my parents were very strict with my brothers and I. We behaved in public or else! We were taught to not speak unless spoken to (I'm not sure that worked too well). They taught us to respect others, that prejudice was a bad thing and that God should be an important part of our lives. They took us to Lakeview Bible Chapel every Sunday and we prayed at every meal. Loving to travel my parents strove to show us this great country, see the USA in your Chevrolet! Of course gas was probably a lot cheaper and that helped. We went to almost every state in the country over the years, Washington D.C., all the provinces of Canada and even drove to Alaska when the AlCan highway was a car-killer. I clearly remember cigarette ashes flying through the side windows into my face while driving down the highway. That was before smoking became politically incorrect and known to be deadly of course. They taught us to work hard for what we wanted. That nothing comes easy. Allowance to my folks meant 50 cents a week and we had to work for that. They also knew, were grateful for and talked about the freedoms we have as Americans. And I can't help but mention that they realized and were depressed about what was happening in this great country since the late 60's, early 70's but now is not the time for politics. I can remember my Dad taking me out and teaching me to shoot as a kid, maybe 6 or 7 years old, with his Marlin Model 81 and a Colt .22 Challenger that he bought used. I don't ever remember my parents fighting with each other. If they did, it wasn't in front of us kids. I remember thinking as a kid about how lucky we were when I'd here about other parents getting divorced. I saw how my Mom and Dad took care of my Grandmother when she got old and feeble until my Aunt Lillian Tamraz took that job over as she lived closer. They just don't make 'em like this any more. Well maybe they do........
I and my brothers miss my parents very much but we realize they are happy now with the Lord, they are together again in Heaven.
May you both rest in peace and in the Glory of God...........
Tom Sargis Sr.
1927 ~ 1998
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