Cilka S. Hettinger thumbnail

Cilka S. Hettinger

November 6, 1932 - June 23, 2019

Cilka S. Hettinger, 86, passed away Sunday, June 23, 2019.

Service: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2019 at the graveside in Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Biggers Funeral Home.

Cilka was born November 6, 1932 in Slovenia to Janez and Marija Peretic Verk. She met the love …read more

Cilka S. Hettinger, 86, passed away Sunday, June 23, 2019.

Service: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2019 at the graveside in Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Biggers Funeral Home.

Cilka was born November 6, 1932 in Slovenia to Janez and Marija Peretic Verk. She met the love of her life, Walter Eugene Hettinger while in Italy during the 1940’s. They were married on July 28, 1953, while in Canada, and would have celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this July. Together, they loved to travel throughout the U.S. in their motor home with their three poodles.

She is survived by: Her Husband, Walter E. Hettinger, daughter, Stefi Hardin and husband, Ronny; grandchildren, Tanya Lancaster and husband, Travis, Brian Hardin and wife, Ashley; great-grandchild, Grayson Lancaster; numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws.

Cilka’s Story…

Hettinger Cilka Vark
My husband, James Franklin Hettinger (Jim) has an amazing story of his early childhood. It includes being separated from his older siblings following the death of their mother when he was six. After my marriage to Jim in 1974, I met his oldest brother Walter Hettinger and his wife Cilka, and learned that they both had a wealth of stories that needed to be recorded. I urged them to tell the stories to me while I took notes. I reminded them that I was the person most interested in family history, and that if I took notes, we could get the sequence and spelling as correct as possible. They agreed.
This history was told to me by my sister-in-law with comments added by her husband.
Cilka Vark was born 06 NOV 1932 in Smarje Pri Jelsah, Slovenia, in the family home built by her grandfather. Cilka’s parents were Maria Peratic, (1890- 1963) and Janez Vark, (1886-1934). Cilka was the sixth of six children. Three siblings died in infancy or early childhood. On the living room wall of her Texas home is a large photo of Cilka with her surviving siblings, taken when they were young adults, Cilka is on the right, her sister Minka on the left, and their brother Janez Johan is in the middle. I forgot to ask who took the photo.
Cilka spoke Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Italian, German/Austrian and “enough French to get by”. She did not speak Czech, Romanian, or Polish. She explained that she could understand and speak, but “not write” in many of the languages, which prevented her from having a job as a translator.
Cilka worked on the farm “from the time I could walk.” Her mother farmed, raised grapes, and made wine. Some wine was sold to local customers, and some was “picked up” by a restaurant. The winery was in Gorca, “out in the country”. Cilka’s husband, Walter Hettinger (Walt), remembers being shown the wine barrels, some dated back to the 1600’s.
Cilka’s family raised primarily wheat, corn, and potatoes. The plowed with oxen, Cilka said, “first you plow it up, then you dig out the potatoes. Some of the corn was fed to pigs, the rest taken to a mill to grind into flour.”
“Hay was cut by a scythe”, Walter added. “My brother-in-law Janez used the scythe “to cut grass for the chickens”, even though he lost his right arm in World War II. Walt and Cilka demonstrated with a wooden model of a kozove, a shelter in which to hang hay. The hay was cut with a scythe, left loose, not bundled, and hung across rails until needed for feed.

The chickens were raised for both eggs and meat. “You had to chop their heads off if you wanted meat. ”
Cilka recalled that bacon and ham were kept on the table, turned over, salted, and then hung “from the kitchen rafters”. She does not remember how her mother cooked the pork, but does remember that her mother was a good baker. “Her potpoa was wonderful.” Walt and Cilka describe this as a dough more like bread than pastry. “It is rolled thin, spread with a mix of honey, sugar, and chopped walnuts, like a nut roll.”
Cilka talked about starting to public school about age 6, 1938. She went to elementary school Smarje Pri Jelsah, and later to a different high school. World War II was in progress in Europe. Slovenia was controlled by the communist government. Their farm was occupied, all the food they raised taken. “When I was about 16, I tried to escape, walking alone. At the Austrian Border, she was captured and taken to jail. During her jail sentence, Cilka and “many other teenagers” were “Put to work building highways. They fed us good, they wanted us to work hard.” When she was released, “I walked back home to see my mother. I did not plan to stay. In jail, I learned how to to escape, to do it right.” A few weeks later she left in the night, up and “over the mountains into Italy.” Walt smiles. “I was stationed in Italy”.

Cilka was unable to emigrate to the United States but did get to Canada. “Once I got there, I remembered his (Walt’s ) phone number. I called him and said, ‘When are you coming to see me?'” They were married the July 28, 1953.

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Service Information

Visitation Information

Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Biggers Funeral Home

Address:

6100 Azle Ave.
Lake Worth, Texas 76135

Service Information

Date: Thursday, June 27, 2019

Time: 2:00 pm

Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery

Address:

2000 Mountain Creek Parkway
Dallas, Texas 75211

Service to be held at the graveside.



Cemetery Information

Time: 2:00 pm

Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery

Address:

2000 Mountain Creek Parkway
Dallas, Texas 75211

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