Hector Boiardi: The canned pasta creator

We know them. We love them. We grew up with them. That’s right– Chef Boyardee canned pastas are an American staple: the saving grace of busy parents, the provider of last minute meals, and the microwave safe option for broke college students. It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t enjoyed a Chef Boyardee meal at some point, or at the very least heard of the brand. For us Clevelanders, we can take special pride in knowing that the creator of the Boyardee products, Hector Boiardi, actually started his business here, in Cleveland!


Chef Boyardee
Picture of Hector Boiardi making a brand appearance, Photo Credit


Born in the village of Piacanza, Italy on October 22nd, 1897, Boiardi was instantly drawn to the kitchen. He found great joy in cooking, and worked as an assistant in one of the local restaurants. In May 1914, Boiardi braved the overseas journey to the United States where he entered through Ellis Island. He lived in New York City upon arrival, where he reconnected with his brother Paolo, who was the maître d’ of the Plaza Hotel. Paolo was able to get Hector a job in the kitchen, and soon Hector worked his way up to being head chef. This sparked a lifelong record of success for Hector Boiardi, so much so that he was even contracted to cater Woodrow Wilson’s wedding to Edith in 1915. After continual success, he eventually moved to Cleveland where he opened his first restaurant, Il Giardino d’Italia which translates to “The Garden of Italy.” The restaurant became very popular, and people would even request jars full of Boiardi’s special pasta sauce.

In 1927, Boiardi would meet two people that would change his life and legacy forever. Maurice and Eva Wiener were regular patrons of Il Giardino d’Italia and noticed the huge opportunity behind the home-cooked Italian food. They owned a grocery store franchise and approached Boiardi with the idea to can his goods and sell them nationwide. Maurice and Eva helped Boiardi develop a canning process for his pastas, and by 1929 the canned goods were released to the public. This release was a huge success, and prompted a swift and massive expansion of Chef Boiardi’s products.

Using only natural and homegrown ingredients, Boiardi moved his factory to Milton, PA where there was more room to grow mushrooms, tomatoes, and other produce needed for his recipes. This factory is still the headquarters for Chef Boyardee products, and produces that canned goods that we know and love today. Amidst all this success, Boiardi decided to change the spelling of his name to Boyardee to ensure that his American customers would pronounce his name correctly.


Vintage Chef Boyardee Label
Vintage Chef Boyardee label, Photo Credit


The Boyardee business grew throughout World War Two, providing meals to soldiers overseas (which would result in Boiardi being awarded the Gold Star Award of Excellence from the US War Department) and even managing a Welcome Home Dinner for World War Two soldiers hosted by President Wilson. However, as political and economic climates changed in the 1950’s and the Boyardee product line was beginning to expand internationally, Boiardi could no longer keep up with managing his business and decided to sell the Boyardee brand to American Home Foods, now called International Home Goods. While Boiardi fought against this sale initially, it ended up being a very lucrative business move for Boiardi as American Home Foods asked him to become the face of the brand. Yes- the face on the can is actually Hector Boiardi! Boiardi would end up earning millions due to his brand presence.

Boiardi passed away due to natural causes in 1985 in Parma, OH. He is buried at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, OH. His story is a shining example of the American Dream that so many immigrants imagined upon migrating through Ellis Island, and is an inspiration to anyone who dares to dream big enough.


Boiardi’s Crypt at All Souls Cemetery Chardon, OH.

Visit Boiardi’s Memorial  




Post written by Katie Karpinski



Preplanning: What is it?

Death is not something anyone enjoys thinking about. It is a very somber and difficult experience to lose a loved one, or think about one’s own mortality. However, as Catholics we know that death is not the final destination, but rather a transition into God’s eternal kingdom. Therefore, death should not be seen as a permanent condition, but rather a necessary evolution on our journey to come home to Christ. Like any other sacred tradition, such as a marriage or a baptism, one’s burial also requires planning and consideration to assure that it follows the teachings of the Catholic Church and the preferences of the individual.

This article addresses some common questions regarding preplanning, Catholic teaching, and how you can get started!


1. What is preplanning?

ANSWER: Preplanning is the process and careful deliberation of your end of life arrangements. Preplanning can include anything from your funeral arrangements to your burial preferences. Preplanning is very helpful, and can prevent families from experiencing added emotional and financial stress following the death of a loved one. Normally, preplanning involves the help of a Family Service Representative who will walk you through the process and explain difference choices you have for your burial arrangements.

2. Who needs preplanning?

ANSWER: Nearly everyone can benefit from preplanning, especially those who are reaching middle age and wish to ensure that their final arrangements are taken care of before death. It is never too early to begin preplanning!

3. What are the benefits of preplanning?

ANSWER: There are several benefits to preplanning your final arrangements. First, preplanning your arrangements will prevent your family from experiencing additional stress. Often when a loved one passes away without having their arrangements taken care of in advance, family members are left to make quick and difficult decisions regarding their loved one’s burial. Not only does preplanning prevent this added stress on your family, but it also assures that your wishes are carried out to the fullest extent. Another benefit of preplanning is that you can save you and your family money by purchasing your cemetery products and services such as grave, vault, crypt opening and desired memorial at today’s prices.

4. How is the Catholic faith incorporated into preplanning?

ANSWER: Preplanning your final arrangements guarantees that your burial will be carried out following the teachings of the Catholic church. Also, by preplanning and securing a cemetery plot in a Catholic cemetery, you are reserving a final resting place that is on sacred ground, something secular cemeteries do not offer.

5. How can I start preplanning?

ANSWER: You can get started today by reaching out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate, and experienced Family Service Representatives at 855-85-2PLAN (7526) or by visiting the Catholic Cemeteries Association website at https://www.clecem.org/Information/BeginPrePlanning.aspx


Don’t forget to follow the Catholic Cemeteries Association on Facebook!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Cleveland History: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918

The year is 1918—entertainers such as Harry Houdini and Charlie Chaplin are amazing the world with their talents, and the end of World War I is close at hand. The golden age of what would later be called “The Roaring 20’s” is approaching, and it seems as if the last four years of wartime might be replaced with growth and stability. How could anyone have known that a disease was brewing– one so large that it would take more lives than the Great War ever would. Killing over 50 million people world-wide, the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 would eclipse the 16 million lives taken by World War I– making the strain of influenza one of the deadliest world events in recent history, second only to World War II.


influenza hospital
Makeshift hospital used to treat influenza patients in 1918

At first, the killer strain of influenza seemed mild. In the Spring of 1918, there were several reported cases of what was then called “3 Day Fever.” While this first strain certainly took a remarkable amount of lives, its patterns were typical with other flu outbreaks at the time, and therefore it didn’t draw much attention from the public. It wasn’t until the early Fall of 1918 that the second strain would first be reported. The second strain was much more severe, and resulted in millions of fatalities.




As an airborne illness, the disease spread rapidly, particularly in the trenches of World War I and highly populated areas. Also, contrary to most illnesses, it seemed to target previously healthy young adults, as opposed to the usual groups such as infants or the elderly. Seeing as penicillin would not be discovered for another 10 years, it is clear that the world was at a loss for how to handle and treat this mysterious illness.


Cleveland, OH received its first warning about the disease in September of 1918. Dr. Harry Rockwood was the City Health Commissioner at the time, and seeing as how the war effort was still underway, he was hesitant to enforce any isolation measures at first. However, by October 1918 Rockwood understood the drastic impact of the pandemic and decided to enact an isolation policy. All of those exhibiting symptoms were required to be admitted to the contagious ward at their local hospital. Employers and teachers were encouraged to report anyone showing symptoms as well.



police during epidemic
Police officers wearing protective masks to prevent the spread of the disease



By mid-October Rockwood placed a complete gathering ban. All public gatherings were prohibited, resulting in the temporary closings of movie theaters, restaurants, schools, and offices. The city of Cleveland was on lockdown, having reported thousands of cases of the disease and hundreds of deaths. It wasn’t until mid-November that Rockwood would lift the ban, and life in Cleveland began to slowly get back to normal. In all, an estimated 24,000 Cleveland residents contracted the disease, and nearly 4,000 would find the disease fatal. Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH buried 985 of these causalities, and on November 4th, 1918 the cemetery reported burying 81 people on a single day!


The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 will forever go down as one of the most destructive pandemics in modern history—Cleveland was no exception to its destruction, and it’s important that we remember those who lost their lives to such a tragic occurrence.

To learn more click here.
Visit our website.

Follow us on Facebook!

Post written by Katie Karpinski



What you need to know about disposing of an American flag



As our country celebrates the great patriotic holidays of the summer months, such as Memorial Day and Independence Day, it is the great honor of the Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries to facilitate the placement of American flags on the graves of those who have served this country. Hundreds of flags are displayed each holiday, and it is truly inspiring to see just how many dedicated American citizens served their country. However, many people don’t realize what the process is for disposing of these American flags displayed at our cemeteries:


The flags are collected by our groundskeepers and placed inside well protected tarps or otherwise acceptable and protected containers. They are then stored until proper disposal can be arranged. At no point does any flag face any sort of damage or disrespect. Once all flags are collected and ready for disposal, they are shipped to one of our cemetery locations to be burned with dignity, which is the most commonly accepted and encouraged method of flag disposal. The ashes are then buried in keeping with proper public teaching on the disposal of the American flag.


Catholic Cemeteries Association considers the disposal of American flags as an honor and a privilege, and we are humbled that we are able to perform this service with the very upmost standards


Post written by Katie Karpinski

Frank Lausche: Faith, Politics, and Baseball

The 20th century is rich with significant national and worldly history. The Great Depression, both World Wars, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, and the introduction of the personal computer are just a few examples. Not many people have been alive to see all of these events take place. However, Frank Lausche is a member of the rare group of people who can say they did! Lausche was born in 1895 and passed away in 1990 making him 95 years old at his time of death. Lausche saw nearly a century of history happen around him, and he was part of that history as well. 


lausche headshot.jpg
Frank Lausche later in his career


Lausche was born on November 14th, 1895 in Cleveland, OH to Frances and Louis Lausche, who were originally from Slovenia. Lausche attended school throughout his childhood; however, as Lausche was attending high school his brother passed away, forcing Lausche to drop out in an effort to support his family. When he wasn’t working, Lausche enjoyed playing baseball. One day, while Lausche was playing, he was scouted and recruited to join The White Motors amateur team. The White Motors soon won a national championship, which resulted in Lausche being recruited for yet another team—the Duluth White Sox. After playing with a few other minor league teams, in 1917 Lausche decided to enlist in the United States Army.  


Stationed in Camp Gordon near Atlanta, Georgia, Lausche was asked to join the camp baseball team. His superior performance on the team prevented him from being sent overseas to the frontlines of World War One. When the War ended in 1918, having completed high school while in the Army, Lausche decided to attend Cleveland-Marshall School of Law in 1919. He graduated in 1920, second in his class, and soon became a respected trial lawyer before becoming a municipal court judge in 1932, and a common pleas court judge in 1937.   


Camp Gordon .jpg
Camp Gordon circa 1918


In 1941 Lausche was elected the Mayor of Cleveland. Soon after, in 1944 he was elected as the governor of Ohio, making Lausche Ohio’s first Catholic governor. He served as governor from 1944-1947. In 1957 he resigned as governor after being elected as a United States Senator representing Ohio. He was known for being very bipartisan and for taking an independent approach to politics. This made Lausche very popular among voters, and led to his reelection as a Senator in 1962. Lausche was so popular, in fact, that there is even evidence suggesting Lausche was considered to be Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidential running mate in 1952.                    

Frank Lausche Building .jpg
The Frank Lausche Building in Downtown Cleveland 


Frank Lausche passed away in 1990 due to congestive heart failure. However, his legacy lives on—if you ever visit downtown Cleveland, you’ll notice that several buildings bear his last name, including the State of Ohio office building. Frank Lausche was also named a Knight of St. John of Malta by Pope John Paul 2, the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed by the Catholic Church.  Frank Lausche serves as a great example of someone who put their God and country first.


Frank Lausche is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH.  


       Visit Frank Lausche’s grave here.      

Visit our website clecem.org

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!

Pictures gathered from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/timevanson/25181654456
Post written by Katie Karpinski



Helena Pelczar: A story of sacrifice and heavenly devotion

We’ve all heard the heralding stories of the Catholic saints and the miracles they performed. Be it bilocation, the gift of tongues, or the ability to read hearts; Catholics have become familiar with the exciting tales of ancient and modern followers of God. To some, these figures may seem grandiose and distant—no one hears stories about saints who grew up just a few blocks down. But what most people don’t know is that Cleveland is home to some of these spiritual examples. For instance, Helena Pelczar.

Born on Christmas Day in a small village in Poland, Helena quickly learned to depend on Christ alone. Being one of eight children, Helena’s parents often did not have enough money to provide their children even the most basic necessities like shoes or a daily meal. Helena would go days at a time without eating, but she never complained. Because of this, Helena’s childhood was very challenging, and it became even more difficult when her mother passed away prematurely, forcing Helena to work to provide for her family. She performed mainly farm work, but also was hired as a domestic servant for a short time.

During this time of harsh work, Helena maintained her calm and reflective demeanor. She found great joy and comfort in prayer and, even after her family finally achieved financial stability, she maintained a deep devotion to Christ and Mary– often attending church and praying deeply for several hours at a time. These periods of prayer grew longer and longer, and eventually resulted in prolonged visions. On Easter Sunday in 1910, Helena experienced a vision that lasted three days. During her visions, Helena’s eyes would be wide open, but she would otherwise be unconscious. After, she would report seeing Christ Himself or the Virgin Mary.


These prolonged visions continued after Helena’s immigration to the United States. In fact, upon moving to Cleveland, Ohio Helena would start experiencing painful episodes as well, leaving her bedridden. The most intense pain would protrude from her right side. After 3-5 days, the pain would subside and Helena would begin her work again.


On December 28, 1917 (Good Friday) Helena received her first stigmata. She suffered a great amount of pain in her hands, feet, and right side. Then dark round stigmata appeared and they lasted for several days. Helena’s family, obviously concerned, called the local doctor but they could find no physical cause for Helena’s marks or severe pain.
Helena would continue to receive the stigmata throughout her life (mainly occurring during Lent and Holy Week). During one occurrence, shortly after her original stigmata, Helena received a vision where she encountered Christ who said:
“I shall bless you with a special gift by which you will be able to recognize sinners, for whom you should bear the sufferings I will send upon you. You will experience as much affliction, misery, and pain as I did during my agony on the Cross. Due to your great love for me, you will offer all your torments for sinners whom I myself will point out to you.”


From then on Helena was the subject and source of several miracles. Some include bilocation, healing of the sick, and prophesizing. Helena also reported having constant support and supervision of her guardian angel, who accompanied her into purgatory so she could properly see and comprehend the torment of souls. These gifts were not without great suffering though. Helena would continue to suffer as Christ did throughout her life, offering up all of her pain and anguish to heal the sinners of the world.


Helena joined Christ on April 26th, 1926 while praying the “Hail Mary.” Shortly after her burial, it was reported that singing could be heard from her grave. Helena was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH where she currently remains.


Helena Pelczar
Photo credit:  Catholic Cemeteries Association



Helena Pelczar is currently being reviewed for Sainthood. Pray for her, as she prayed and suffered for so many sinners.

Visit Helena’s Grave                                                                        Visit our Website

For more information about Helena Pelczar, click here.

Don’t forget to like Catholic Cemeteries Association on Facebook!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Frank Battisti: A Legacy of Faith and Civil Liberties

1976- The year that Steve Jobs founded Apple; the year gymnast Nadia Comaneci was awarded a perfect 10 score on her Olympic routine; and the year Judge Frank Battisti would receive the most controversial case of his career. On August 31st, 1976 Robert Anthony Reed III filed a lawsuit against Cleveland Public Schools on the grounds of purposeful discrimination and segregation, thereby denying Reed, and countless other students, their rights founded upon the 14th Amendment. The case cast a spotlight on Judge Battisti; however, he was no stranger to controversy.     

Frank Battisti
Photo Credit: Cleveland Memory Project           Judge Battisti Presiding over Reed v. Rhodes

Born on October 4th, 1922 in Youngstown, Ohio, Battisti served as a combat engineer during World War II. Upon returning from active duty, he attended Ohio University to study law and soon after attended Harvard Law School. He served as a civil attorney for the U.S. Army before teaching Law at Youngstown State University and opening his own private practice.  

JRK Picture
Photo Credit: Kheel Center via Flickr President John F Kennedy appointed Frank Battisti as the District Judge of Northern Ohio in 1961. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. Learn more about John F Kennedy here.

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy appointed Battisti as the District Judge of Northern Ohio. Being only 39 years old at the time, this made Battisti the youngest federal judge in the country. In 1969 he would be appointed head judge, and it wasn’t long after this appointment that Battisti earned a reputation for accepting controversial and challenging cases. Some highlights include his decision to deport John Demjanjuk, an Eastern European immigrant suspected of Nazi war crimes, and the acquittal of eight Ohio National Guardsmen who took part in the Kent State Massacre in 1970. These, among other cases, accelerated both Battisti’s regional and national exposure that would only escalate further upon the Reed vs. Rhodes case.     

Kent State Shooting
Photo Credit: Cliff via Flickr  
The Kent State Shootings took place on May 4th, 1970 in Kent, OH. During a student protest of the Cambodian Campaign, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on the students, killing four and wounding nine. Learn more about the Kent State Shootings here.


Siding with Reed, Judge Battisti ruled that Cleveland Public Schools were, in fact, guilty of intentional segregation and ruled that Cleveland Public Schools start an integration program. (A process that would last upwards of 20 years or, as some would argue, continue to this day). The ruling was very controversial and resulted in Battisti and his wife, Gloria Karpinski (m. 1963), receiving multiple death threats. Many people close to Battisti testify that it was his deep Catholic faith and respect for civil liberties that aided Battisti’s decisions. 

Battisti’s strong resolve earned him several honors throughout the course of his life; most notably, the 1979 Award for Outstanding Trial Judge by the Trial Lawyers Association of America, and in 1974 a plaque awarded by B’nai B’rith for Battisti’s commitment to civil rights. 

Frank J Battisti died on October 19th, 1994, and his death received national media coverage. He is still known today as a major civil rights advocate, and his ruling in Reed v. Rhodes has shaped the Cleveland school system as we know it today. While Judge Battisti certainly lived a life full of controversy, his effect on Cleveland history is undeniable. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.     

Photo Credit: Catholic Cemeteries Association

Visit Frank J Battisti’s Grave


For more information about Catholic Cemeteries Association please visit clecem.org



Information gathered from: 



Post written by Katie Karpinski





Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park, after heavy rain last week.

Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park, after heavy rain last week.

Sharing a nice note we received about our staff at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron…

Sharing a nice note we received about our staff at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron…

Winter scene at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park.

Winter scene at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park.