| Tribune Columnist
If you build it, they will come. And, by the way, if you build a new life, they will come, too.
Just ask Jamie and Fritz.
A wedding happened last Saturday during the seventh inning stretch at Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium. Family members came from across the country. Others drove in from North Liberty. They all came. Everyone wanted to take part in this lovely event in the patio area, adjacent to the outfield.
It was the second marriage for both. So why not have a different spin on a ceremony, the bride said.
The bride is now known as Jamie LaFortune Hancock. She was formerly Jamie Hartzke. The groom is Fred Hancock. However, he goes by Fritz.
Jamie said they got engaged at a baseball game. A wedding at the park seemed perfect. A great double play, of sorts. “We wanted to bring the families together, have a good time, let the kids run around. It was everything I wanted.”
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Her dad, Mark LaFortune, said his daughter was always around baseball and softball. “She played at Penn High School, got a scholarship at Indiana State. Her kids played baseball. Softball was everything in her life. This was a perfect place.”
The emphasis was family and friends. A ceremonial home plate placed at the couples’ feet was signed by all the relatives. Jordan Hartzke, who is in the Navy and stationed in Charleston, S.C., and Will Hartzke and Nicholas Hancock, both of Mishawaka, were there. Fritz’s daughter, Hailey Dowlen, came in from Tennessee.
Fritz’s other son, Eric Hancock, also is serving in the Navy in California. He was unable to attend.
(Time for a little disclosure: Jamie is my first cousin once removed. She is Linda Borlik Lafortune’s daughter. My cousin, Linda, died in 2019. I met Jamie only three times ― at funerals. Yes, it is a shame, but there are a lot of Borliks. Now there are more. I met a few more at the wedding.)
Jamie’s bouquet had a small container of her mother’s ashes tucked into the flowers. Everyone was there.
As the rest of the South Bend Cubs fans sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Jamie and Fritz stepped up to the plate and said their vows. The officiant was family friend Harvey “Ole Harv” Stauffer, the host of “The Blues Revue” on WVPE-FM (88.1). Harv asked them to pledge their love and understand the ups and downs of life.
The sky was turning to an apricot pink and sapphire, and at 9:13 p.m., they were pronounced husband and wife. Just then, there was a flyout to the outfield. In the end, the Cubs lost and the Hancocks won.
Time for a few noteworthy people. They deserve to be remembered again.
First, longtime Crumstown legend Theresa Krzyzewski died last week. She was 94, and she lived a full life of family, friends, music and nature. She loved to fish, feed the birds, dance and laugh. She and her husband, Ted, were a joyful couple.
And about those birds. A few years ago, Tribune editor Ken Bradford wrote about the bluebirds that she attracted to the back yard. He said it was the type of story he loved to write. In later years, she had a parakeet that was a constant source for more stories.
As a kid, I don’t remember her raising her voice no matter what stupid stuff occurred in her yard. However, I may have run away from the house before she discovered what had happened and I missed the conversations. The Krzyzewskis lived next door but not too close. There was a farm field between houses.
In the past few years, she rode a motorized wheelchair from one end of the road to the other. Visits along the way, stories and “Kathy, come and sit with me.”
She was one of a kind.
Tom Grzesiak, 73, died Aug. 1. He was a woodcarver with a big heart. Although he suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, he spent hours carving canes for the fellow members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lakeville. He made more than 100 canes for the parishioners who needed a little help from a friend.
I spent an afternoon with him for a story several years ago. I watched his technique and skill. I was concerned about a wood burning method that involved electricity. He assured me it was safe, almost.
He never took money for the canes. He just wanted to give people something to lean on.
Helen Hibbs, 83 was a musician, teacher and church organist. She died in May. Helen liked to spread her music and love. She taught middle school music, helped with community productions and, for 40 years, taught at IU South Bend.
For 20 years, she was one of the church organists at Holy Family Catholic Church. She played with so much emotion and happiness, it was fun watching her. You had to grab a pew and sit near the choir to watch.
So long to these good souls.
You can contact Kathy at email@example.com.