THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS! AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!

CIRCUS NOW OPEN!

2014 Convention

SAVE THE DATES

SAVE THE DATES

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MIDGE GESMUNDO

By Dave Person Special to the Kalamazoo GazetteMarch 02, 2010, 11:07PM Left: Marian Gesmundo, 1938. Center: Marian and Serafino Gesmundo, Los Aeros, 1937. Right: Marian Gesmundo, March 2010.
RICHLAND — When Marian “Midge” Erway met her future husband, Serafino “Gus” Gesmundo, she fell for him in a big way.
And he caught her — over and over again.
That’s how the romance between the two trapeze artists blossomed, and it eventually led to a marriage blessed with 13 children.
View full sizeHandout photo.Marian and Serafino Gesmundo - The Sensational Gesmundos, 1939. View full sizeHandout photo.Marian Gesmundo, Slide for Life, 1939.
Memories of Midge’s early days of traveling with a circus faded over the years, however, and were replaced by images of a woman of strong faith who loved her family.
“She was a very devoted wife, devoted to her faith, devoted to her children,” Judah Gesmundo said of her mother, who died Feb. 19 at her Gull Lake residence. “She really was quite saint-like.”

Midge Gesmundo exuded happiness throughout her 91 years and brightened many other lives, including those of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her daughter said. “She brought joy into a room, into a conversation, into an interaction,” Judah said.
A native of Hastings, Gesmundo moved to Kalamazoo with her family when she was young.
“It was during the Depression and she had finished high school and done some business courses and couldn’t get a job,” her daughter said. “There was … (a job advertised) for a woman who was acrobatically inclined. Her mother mentioned it to her sort of, we think, as a joke. … I don’t think her mom was really taking it seriously.”
But young Midge was, so she applied, got the job and was soon part of a traveling circus.One of her stops was at Playland, an amusement park in Rye, N.Y., where the circus added a local act, The Flying Victors headed by Victor Gesmundo, who had grown up doing acrobatics with his younger brother, Serafino “Gus” Gesmundo.
“He (Gus) came … to visit his brother … and was doing his handstands and the things he did all over,” Judah said. The circus owners were impressed and hired him to join Midge's trapeze act.
“Eventually, they came back to Kalamazoo and they were married in 1940,” Judah said.
Gus went into the service during World War II while Midge worked at Erway Home Bakery, her family’s business, on Davis Street. Gus joined her there after the war.
In 1948, they moved to a cottage on Gull Lake, where they raised 11 children of their own (one other died in infancy and another of cancer before he was 3) and Victor’s two teenagers after he was killed in an accident. They also greeted visitors with open arms.
“Our friends were always welcome. … Our table always had a place for one more person, our house always had room for more people,” Judah said.
From 1961 until their retirement in 1980, the Gesmundos owned Serafino’s Party Store in Richland, which is now run by their son James. Gus Gesmundo died in 1999.
“They were very, very involved in the community,” Judah said. “My mom was involved in Girl Scouts at one time, she was very involved in the (Gull Lake) Ambulance Service … and a lot in the church, St. Ann Catholic Church.”
In recent years, she said, family members have been reminiscing about Midge’s many positive qualities, highlighted by her mothering skills. “She raised us with unconditional love,” Judah said. “She could make each of the 11 children think that they were totally unique and special.”
Midge Gesmundo is survived by six sons and five daughters and spouses, Joseph Gesmundo and Sherry Dueweke, of Richland, Jack and Martha Gesmundo, of Delton, Gary and Gayla Gesmundo, of Hickory Corners, John Paul Gesmundo, of Portage, James and Barb Gesmundo, of Kalamazoo, Jay Gesmundo and Michele Libbrecht, of Richland, Gail and Jim Gesmundo-Lyons, of Florida, Judah Gesmundo and Paul Raynes, Maria Gesmundo-Ferguson, Vicki Gesmundo and Mike Marcinek, and Marymarie and Mark Rice, all of Richland; 26 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren; a brother and sister-in-law, Norman and Willie Erway, of Madison, Wis.; and nieces and nephews, including Victor and Myrna Gesmundo, who lived with the family while they were in high school.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Friday at St. Ann, 12648 East D Ave. Arrangements were made through Parchment-Redmond Funeral Home.

No comments:

Post a Comment


TO VISIT OUR PAST POSTS--SCROLL DOWN THE SIDE BAR. ALSO LINKS ARE FURTHER DOWN