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UFCW Local 23 Member Pays Tribute to her Mom and the Values She Instilled

May 5, 2016 Updated: September 8, 2020

Mary Julia Teslovich Tarka
Mary Julia Teslovich Tarka

As we celebrate Mother’s Day throughout this week, we’re sharing the stories of #UFCWMoms, and of the mothers of members who want to share how great they are!

Today, Kathy Tarka, a member of UFCW Local 23, shared with us about her “Mummy.” Here’s what she had to say:

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”30%” align=”right” size=”2″ quote=”Our family meant the world to my father and Mum. We weren’t wealthy by any means, but so very rich in love, discipline and respect. ” cite=”Kathy Tarka, UFCW Local 23 member” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]

“Meet my mother, Mary Julia Teslovich Tarka.  Mummy was in her early 20s when this picture was taken in 1930 at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa.  Mummy was the oldest of eight children and also a first generation American. Born in Donora, Pa., her parents both immigrated from the old Czech Republic. She married my father when she was 25 and he was 28.  Considered and “old maid” in those days, Mum worked in the Brownsville (Pa.) Hospital for several years before being pulled to work in a private practice for a general surgeon.  She worked for Dr. Vesely for almost five decades.  Mum taught us the love of life, respect for all people, tremendous work ethics, and to persevere against all odds.  Our family meant the world to my father and Mum.  We weren’t wealthy by any means, but so very rich in love, discipline and respect.  Mum passed away at 92.  Her legacy lives on through their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She continues to give me strength daily.  To have such a strong, loving, funny Mummy is the greatest gift I could ever want.  How I love her.”

Kathy herself has a great story too. In her 60s, she was excited to finally become a union member as she accepted a part-time position at Giant Eagle supermarket.  She enthusiastically embraced her union membership by participating in actions, community service projects and by working with the local as a SPUR to elect three union-endorsed Supreme Court Justices in Pennsylvania last fall. Kathy’s brother, John Tarka, also retired as president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers in 2011 after a 43-year career as a teacher and union leader.

John and Kathy Tarka
John and Kathy Tarka