Agnes Ann [Virostek] Dick, BHS ‘42
Agnes      May 1949 Fort Dix, NJ
A Class of Her Own
by Cate Murway

On September 5, 1938, the “59th Regiment of the 42nd Battalion marched into the battlefield of education with 250 timid and bashful protégés”. Only 114 of those were victorious and graduated in the class of 1942. Warren P. Snyder was the Superintendent and the Principal was David L. Hertzler. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the USA. 

Agnes Ann [Virostek] Dick, BHS ‘42/ Temple University ’65 was a 20th Century pioneer. She was born in the boom of the 1920s, lived through the uncertainty of the Great Depression, married at the end of WWII, and in the 1950’s found herself a single parent with two daughters to raise. The single mom phenomena did not exist then as it does now. The threat of nuclear war, racism and segregation and a lack of women's equality were all hallmarks of that time.   

Agnes was born in Wallington, a borough in Bergen County, NJ to Maria [Machala] and Steven Virostek who grew up in neighboring villages of Slovakia. Like most Slovaks, they immigrated to the USA for economic reasons. They “came for a better life”, but her father still wanted to return to his birth home. Slovakia is located at the crossroads between eastern and western Europe, bordered by Poland to the north, Hungary to the south, the Czech Republic to the west, and Ukraine to the east.

Her dad remained in NJ 
but he sent 18 month old Agnes 
and her mother back to live 
with cousins in a one room, 
thatched roof home 
with a dirt floor. 
They returned to America 
when she was 5 years old.

Agnes spoke the Hungarian dialect of Slovak, inherited from her parents as her first language until she started school. She didn’t know one word of English when she entered Miss Staley’s 3rd grade classroom. 
Agnes cannot recall any difficulty in learning the English language.
Sports were never really her forte. 
Agnes tried out for the girls’ baseball team once with her best friend, Julia, who was also Class VP, but the coach decided the position for her. She would make a good baseball manager. 
“Aggie” was a great student and a member of the National Honor Society along with her athletic best friend. Agnes also was a member of the Girl Reserves and the Yearbook staff.

Her father worked at a paper mill in NJ and when the factory moved to Tullytown, they relocated as a family to a rental on Jackson Street in Bristol in 1931.
Her parents saved all their money and used it to purchase the Taft Street home in which Agnes still resides. Without the porch and the fireplace and no downstairs bathroom, they paid $6,000.00. “We had no furniture in the living room and there was only one car on the street”. 
On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings, her mom prepared chicken or beef soup with homemade noodles. It was delicious but “I was never into cooking. My father always had a job and we never had much but we were never hungry.”
Agnes remained an only child. “I don’t have a relative in this country except my two daughters and my granddaughter.”

Their first car was a blue Plymouth and then her father purchased a 1946 Dodge “Sherman tank”. Cars then sold for $1,229-$1,339. “I wish I had kept it, I would get good money for it now." 

She graduated in 1942 
and with no previous office experience, 
she took a job at the Farmer’s National Bank of Bucks County until 1945, 
earning $9.00 a week. 
“Between Mr. Thomas Scott and Tom’s father, 
[Charles E.], they ran that bank for 100 years.” 
Her one interaction with Senator Joseph R. Grundy 
that she recalls was bringing him papers to sign. 
She would see Margaret R. Grundy 
when Mr. Scott would ask “Meta” to go out for a newspaper.

She had become an efficient and dependable secretary [that career was the yearbook prophecy for Agnes] and she looked for new employment in a defense plant.
Don Luscombe founded the Luscombe Aircraft company in 1933, in Kansas City.
In the winter of 1934-1935, the company moved to Trenton, NJ, and was incorporated as the Luscombe Aircraft Development Corporation. In 1938 and 1939, personality conflicts arose within the company, and Don Luscombe was forced out in a proxy battle. The man who had forced him out of the company was an Austrian gentleman named Leopold Klotz, who hired Agnes and she worked as secretary to Jim Cunningham.
After the war, Luscombe Aircraft moved to Dallas, TX but “of course, I didn’t go and I was out of a job”.

Agnes then applied to Civil Service and secured a position for almost a decade at Fort Dix as secretary to the G1 in personnel. She was working for Major General Robert W. Ward when she left the base.

Agnes continued to reminisce. 
She and her mother shopped in 
Trenton every Saturday afternoon.
She never wore slacks, just sweaters 
and blouses. 
“Clothes didn’t interest me that much 
but we always dressed beautifully 
for Church, not like it is today.”

A most daring adventure? She took the train solo to Burbank, CA in 1948 to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding.

The late Helen Repella and Annie [Choma] Bellesi [husband, Salvatore A. “Sam”] were her best friends in elementary school. In High School, she attended Langhorne dances with the late Julia Jay “Jule” Palowez, dubbed in the yearbook, “Most Talkative” and  ”Twinkle toes Julia, a dancer quite rare, Never seems to have a care”.
Agnes still loves to dance. “I didn’t know how to dance then but I looked pretty sharp.”
Her “Les Memoirs” yearbook quote stated that “Agnes has a winning way, and all the boys think her quite gay.”
She learned well enough to teach the jitterbug at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Trenton for six months. She worked there after her day job at Fort Dix!

She even met her husband ballroom dancing. Her father-in-law was the proprietor of a grocery store in nearby Edgely. The late Fran O’Boyle was a friend of her late husband’s and Agnes is Godmother to one of his daughters, Valerie.

Agnes started college after their daughters, Sheila Marie Kucko BHS ’71 and Sonya Lee Bosken BHS ‘74 were born. Agnes truly mastered adaptability and change amid the post-war optimism and ideals of what was expected of American life in the suburbs.

Her daughter, Sheila participated in the band, the orchestra and the plays in high school. She has been the assistant director of the Asian American Cultural Center of the University of CT since 1993. “I love my job. I look forward to coming into work every day!”
Agnes’ granddaughter, Melanie Joy Kucko is a U of CT grad, working toward her masters in History/Psychology/Leadership at NYU, one of the largest private universities in the United States.

Sheila confided, “My mother is one of a kind, my personal hero! Single mothers were not as accepted at that time. I try to emulate her in every way. She is always very grounded and takes part in caring for her fellow human beings. She is just always there.”  

Per her daughter, Sonya, “I was more of the wild child and my mother put up with me.” She met her husband, Fred in 1991 at the New Orleans Mardi Gras and they moved to his home state of Ohio. She has been a hairdresser for 35 years.
Sonya first worked as an assistant to Borough resident, Walt Carmasino in his Village Cuts until she earned her own license.

Sonya stated, “My mom is a really special gal. She puts everyone first before herself. 
I went to her graduation from Temple. That was huge! I learned responsibility from my grandmother, “baba” and my mother.” 

Agnes was a member of the self-named “Retreads” at Temple University who returned to school and she took commercial college courses to continue working in offices. She is happy that she listened to the suggestion of a colleague to change her major to teaching to assist him in his venture to start college courses in High School. 
After earning her degree, Agnes taught transcription, 
typing and shorthand when the position became available in BHS. 
As a class advisor, she also chaperoned 
the school trips to Washington, D.C. 
She retired in 1989 
after 27 years of teaching.

Agnes still loves to dance and she smiled when sharing dance memories, especially remembering those when they cut loose with the hits of the Shag, Big Apple and the Lindy Hop and jitterbug.
She continues to dance now at the Bristol Township Senior Center. 
She delivers “Meals on Wheels” to people in need, directly to the homes of seniors whose mobility is limited, for the Wood Street Bristol Senior Center, including meals to the Grundy Towers on Fridays. Tuesday's child is full of grace.
She is an active member of the Golden Marks and they play bingo after a luncheon at the Loyal Order of Moose #1169 on Tuesdays. Agnes is also a member of the Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation.

When the Bristol History & Culture Initiative [BHCI] grant, provided by the United Way of Bucks County was approved, the Oral History Project became the first project to be tackled. Agnes shared some of her story at the Bristol Borough Oral History Fair, presented in June 2008 at the Bristol Riverside Theatre.
Because she loves to dance, one of the stories she shared was about the Ragtime dances held in Bristol, where “the kids from Burlington and Bristol would meet to dance”. 
Her fond memories also included the Grand Theatre and her Bristol High years. She was quoted as saying, “I think we had our graduation exercises there. For ten cents you got the news, a serial, a cartoon, and a good, decent movie. You could probably buy a whole bag of groceries for ten or twenty dollars.” 
Agnes grew sentimental over the WWII days when, “Everybody was together.”

Historic Bristol on the Delaware is her home and she loves the town and the people in it.
About 10 years ago, Agnes had a blue spruce growing in her front yard and she responded to an article in the newspaper right before the holiday season had begun. 
Edward Long, Sr., proprietor of Tri-State Telecommunications, and the current President of the Bristol Borough Business Association/owner of Another Time Antiques, Richard “Rich” Vallejo cut down the massive tree and she donated it to be trimmed at the tree lighting by the wharf.

Agnes was a successful career woman, an established beloved teacher and is a phenomenal mother and grandmother. 
She remains independent, loves life, and her family.
She is highly motivated to share her friendship and affection, remaining generous in giving of her knowledge and experience, freely sharing her memories of simpler, beloved times in Bristol Borough.

Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail

5 year old Agnes w/ her mother, Maria  [about 35] 1930
15 years old
designed the sweater and knitted it herself!
Julia “Jule” Palowez, Lenora "Lee' Melidio, Agnes  4.08.1948
modeling a fur coat
Trenton Sunday- Times Adviser
August 17, 1947
Agnes was the only teacher invited to the 
BHS 1964 Class   40th Reunion
A message from Shiela: 
 It would help our family if you could include the following announcement, either in the church bulletin, or during the announcements of those who have died at mass:

Agnes Ann Dick, a lifelong resident of Bristol PA and communicant at St. Mark’s Church, passed away on Thursday, January 29th, 2015, in Cincinnati, Ohio. For her last two years she had been residing with her daughter Sonya Bosken, as independent living became more difficult. She missed Bristol very much, and especially her friends and activities involving St. Mark’s church. Her family wishes to thank all her Bristol friends for the many happy memories and companionship they shared with her over the years. Her ashes will be brought back to Bristol in the summer, for burial near her parents at St. Mark’s Cemetery. 
Exact details will be announced in the future.
 Sheila Kucko, daughter


Posted: Sunday, February 8, 2015 5:07 pm  

Agnes Ann Dick entered into eternal peace on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015.

She was born in December of 1924 in the town of Wallington, N.J. to Maria Machala (d.1973) and Stephen Virostek (d.1955). She spent her early years in her parents' small towns of Michal'any and Medzany, Slovakia.
The family moved to the U.S. in the early 1930's, and soon made Bristol Pa. their permanent home. She went to Bristol schools, graduating from Bristol Jr.-Sr. High School in 1942. She got both her B.S. in Education in 1962 and her Ed.M. in 1965 from Temple University.

Agnes then began a long career as a Commercial Arts teacher and advisor at Bristol Jr.-Sr. High School. She was a demanding teacher who expected the best from her students. The continued respect and gratitude from those students who heeded her lessons was a constant source of pride and fulfillment to her over the years.

Agnes had a passion for ballroom dancing, which she did as often as she could. She often said she wanted to 'die on the dance floor' and probably would have if her dancing legs hadn't given out on her a few years ago. We know she is dancing in heaven already! Thank you Gloria and Tony for driving her to many dances.

Agnes was a communicant of St. Mark's Catholic Church in Bristol. St. Mark's was an integral part of her life and she attended daily Mass and was active in many church activities.

Agnes lived in her Taft Street home in Bristol for over 70 years. She was an only child, and it was a comfort to know many in Bristol cared for her as though she was family. Since both daughters lived out of state, they wish to thank all those who visited and helped her over the years, especially Henry and Diane Waxmonsky, Marie and Paul Carroll, Dave Marozzi, Mary Kehoe, and the 'gang' from the Radcliffe Café.

She is survived by her daughters, Sheila Kucko of South Windsor, Conn. and her incredible caretakers, Sonya Bosken and her husband, Fred, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and her granddaughter, Melanie Kucko of Farmington, Conn. She is also survived by her goddaughters, Marie Carroll and her husband, Paul, of Bristol, Pa. and Monique Principi; extended family, Evelyn and Emil Kucko of Willington, Conn. and her almost 'sister', Madeline Cimusz and family.

We couldn't have asked for a more wonderful mother. In everything she did, she always put our best interests first in her life. She always said, 'I don't know what I'd do without you girls.' Despite the passing years and the weakening of her body and her mind, she never let us forget how important we were to her. It is difficult to imagine what we now have to face without her.

She lost many loved ones over the years - her parents and dear friends - and we know she was ready to see them again....
Her wish was to be buried with her parents. Interment will be in St. Mark's Cemetery in Bristol, Pa. during the summer of 2015. The date for a memorial service is TBD and will be announced when plans are finalized.

To honor Agnes's life, donations may be made in her name to St. Mark Church, Bristol Pa., Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund.
An online obituary is available at for anyone wishing to share memories.