Bernard Madeya

By Jackie Pacholke

Bernard Madeya
Bernard H. Madeya, whose last name is pronounced "ma-DI-a," is affectionately called "Bernie" by his family and friends. He doesn't have a lot of money but the love that surrounds him by his family makes him a very rich man.

He was born on Silver Street in Wickliffe, Ohio, August 20, 1930 to Gustave and Frieda Madeya. He had two brothers and two sisters. He served in the Army during the Korean War in the 1st Armored Infantry Division. He dealt will all facets of the armored tank, and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. His name is recorded, as a memory of his service, on a flagpole on the Eastlake Boulevard of Flags.

Upon returning from the service he met Margaret "Peggy" Nadock while at a bar. Peggy worked as a barmaid for many years. In 1953 they were married by the justice of the peace in Brecksville, Ohio. Peggy passed away May 26 of this year. The couple had been married for 25 years and then divorced, but Bernie and Peggy remained very close friends for over 32 years. She had never learned to drive a car and Bernie continued to help her in any way that he could.

To them were born five children: Karen Sabol, Mark, Patty Tenney, Diana Ropos and Michelle Paris. Karen, Diana and Michelle are still Eastlake residents. Michelle was in the first group of babies to be born in the West End Hospital in Willoughby. Bernie has 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. While the Madeyas were busy raising their own children, Peggy's sister and husband died leaving two small children to be cared for. Bernie never hesitated to become the guardians of Helen and Elliot "Frank" Jones. The house that they acquired on Parkway in 1960 had only ONE bathroom for nine people, but the Madeyas made do. Bernie was handy around the house and made all feel comfortable. He spent many long hours at work to be able to support such a crew, but many of his children present during the interview had nothing but love and praise for the way that they were raised.

Most of Bernie's occupations involved his working in a machine shop. He had worked for Markett Metal and Eaton Axel. He also worked for a time for his son Mark, who runs a construction company called Mark Rite Construction. They are well known for their cement work.

Bernie always took great care of his yard and made it look like a park. Once Mayor Dan Diliberto stopped to give him a compliment on how well it looked.

When Mr. Madeya first moved to Parkway the street was a dead end. Woods were around the surrounding area. There was a multitude of raccoons that were forever getting into their garbage. Garbage had to be burned in the back yard to get rid of it. The street was considered a private road that was ignored by the city for services. The street did not go all the way through to Hillcrest until the Surfside development was built. People used it as the drop-off place for all of the dogs and cats that they no longer wanted. The Madeya children were forever trying to talk their parents into adopting another one. The sewer went into a septic tank that often smelled. The house was heated by oil that was expensive and had to be delivered. The holding tan had to be filled before the snow came because the oil truck might not be able to make it down the street to replenish it. In 1977, the snow left eight-foot snow drifts at the family's front door. Many people used this kind of service to heat their home. You couldn't afford for the heat to go out because one might freeze before the service truck could get around to your home again

To get to their school, Thomas Jefferson, the Madeya children would always cut through the field. Their shoes would often be full of mud. One winter someone from the school took the children to the mall and bought all of them boots. The school also helped the seven children to get dental assistance. One thing about so many children was that when one got chicken pox, they all got chicken pox. When one got measles, they all got measles. This was hard on Mrs. Madeya. Not only were they all at home at the same time, but they were all ill.

A special treat for the children was when their father worked third shift on the weekends . He would bring home a box of Biagio donuts for breakfast. The children also liked it when they filled up their yellow station wagon and attended the Eastlake Drive-In. Popcorn was made by the kettleful to take with them. They could go and play on the swings, located in front of the movie screen , until the movie began. They seldom had the stamina to stay awake for the second feature.

Michelle recanted that when she and her father were the only two left at home they would often go to the Ponderosa Steak House for dinner. This was a restaurant that was located in the K-Mart parking lot.

Dynamite explosions could be heard from their home. This meant that the city engineers were trying to break loose the ice on the Chagrin River. Flooding caused from thawing snow was backing up the water on the river. The ice needed to be broken up so that the river could flow more freely into the lake.
Bernie knew that when he heard this sound that the bridge going over the river would be closed. He worked on the west side of the river, so this meant more time was involved for him to get to work, because now he had to find an alternate route. The freeways had not yet been built.

For New Year's celebrations Bernie and Peggy would often go out to a community bar to celebrate with their neighbors and friends. Best Wishes for a Happy New Year are forwarded to all Eastlake residents from the Madeya family.

This article is presented courtesy of the Eastlake Historical Society.

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