Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Jennie Mary (Frello) Ciesielczyk

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Jennie Mary (Frello) Ciesielczyk, 97, of Bessemer, passed away on Aug. 21, 2019.

A lifelong resident of Bessemer, Jennie was born Oct. 11, 1921, to John and Victoria Frello, immigrants from Asiago, Italy, and residents of Bessemer. She was a 1939 graduate of A.D. Johnson High School. She was the last surviving member of the 1938 Yale Sluggers softball team, which earned her a mention in the book, "A History of the Italian Immigrants from the Seven Towns of the Asiago Plateau in the Region of the Veneto in Italy on the Gogebic Iron Range in Michigan and Wisconsin from the 1890s to the 1950s," written by Peter Oberto and published in 2016.

Following high school, Jennie married Andrew John Ciesielczyk also of Bessemer at St. Sebastian Catholic Church on May 10, 1941. The young couple lived temporarily in Chicago during World War II, returning permanently to Bessemer to raise their children.

Affectionately known as "Nona" by her family, Jennie had a servant's heart and was known in the community as a faithful caregiver to several Bessemer area residents. Her children and grandchildren can attest to the delicious care packages filled with baked goodies and her famous antipasto jars sent to them during hungry college years. We were told that when UPS charges increased, she channeled her gift for loving others through food by visiting shut-ins with goodies and pots of homemade soup.

She was a consummate letter writer and loved staying in touch with people both here in the U.S. as well as her family members in Italy. She never met a stranger, and all were always welcomed in her humble home. Self-discipline, a balanced life, a voracious appetite for a good book, a glass of red wine, Canasta Queen and a whole lot of spunk describes Jennie's long life.

After her husband passed in 1973, Jennie was able to return to visit her family in Asiago, Italy, including celebrating her 85th birthday there with her cousin, Maria Frello. In between she went to Hawaii with her daughter and lifelong friend, Marge Honkala. Another opportunity of travel was with her grandson, Aaron, which was seven weeks in Spain on the Mediterranean near Barcelona. Those were special highlights in her life.

She is survived by her children, Dianne Ciesielczyk of Naubinway, Alan (Marie) Ciesielczyk of Blaine, Minn., and Brian (Tina) Ciesielczyk of Ironwood; sister, Barbara (Frello) Peterson of Bessemer and Ishpeming; sister-in-law, Valeria (Polkus) Mizerk of Chicago; brother-in-law, Vincent Polkus of Bessemer; and seven grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Andrew; sister, Mary (Frello) Jackovitch; and brother, Matthew Frello.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, Aug. 29, at St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Bessemer at 11 am, preceded by a viewing and visitation with the family from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. There will be a luncheon following the burial provided by the St. Sebastian Ladies Guild in the church hall.

Interment will immediately follow the service at Hillcrest Cemetery in Bessemer.

Many thanks to staff and administration at Gogebic Medical Care Facility for the loving care given to our mother, Jennie.

Frick-Zielinski Funeral Home, Bessemer, is assisting the family. For more information or to express online condolences, visit

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