by Jenne M. (Guest Blogger)
Pictures show Mary/Maria Bazsika as a sturdy and unsmiling woman. But pictures aside, she was also a bit of a firebrand and cared about her daughter-in-law. After she found out that her son was beating his wife, this obese woman grabbed a frying pan and ran after him to beat him in turn. Frank Bazsika ran into the woods to hide from his rather fierce mother. Mary Bokor knew grief, outliving her young daughter Elizabeth and then, when she was in her 40s, her husband, whose candy business she would have helped in. She died before her son’s murder.
Maria Bokor was born in Nagygeresd, a small town in Sopron county (now Vas county) in western Hungary. Current Vas county is next to Zala county, where her husband is from, and is home to a Slovene minority. The village was once known as Gueruzd, a version of the name George; the first records of its existence date back to 1260. “Nagy” means big or great, and hence the town’s name means “Big George” or “Great George”; there was apparently a “Small George” nearby that merged with it in the 1920s. The town is home to quite a nice castle.
Bokor means “bush,” and her line likely derived its name from a feature in the landscape. There is a Hungarian village of that name in northern Hungary, on the border of Slovakia – a long way from Sopron, so it’s no guarantee that the family comes from there.
She was the daughter of Alexander (Sandor) Bokor and Susan Hazlia, about whom little is known. Interestingly, the Hazlia surname is found in Greece, Italy, Romania and Muslim countries. “Haz” means house in Hungarian. The name could also be a corruption of hazel, derive from a Turkish name at the time of the Ottoman Empire, or derive from the word for “hare” in Vilamovian, a small Germanic tongue found in Poland near the Slovak border.
She had four siblings: brother Joseph and sisters Susan Bokor Laboda, Rose Bokor Vilman, and Esther Bokor.
Interestingly, my grandmother Marie Kocun Baszika had helped either her mother or mother-in-law win election as a Perth Amboy city committeewoman – likely for the Democratic party – four times. My suspicion is that this committeewoman was Mary Bokor Bazsika, whose position as a shopkeeper’s wife would have afforded her more resources to run for political office than Victoria Swenko Kocun, who was an iron-worker’s wife.