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Biography of Frank J. Maruska

FRANK J. MARUSKA, a hardware dealer of the Maruska-Smith Company and a member of the city council of Cresco, is keenly interested in all plans and projects having to do with the upbuilding and development of his section of the state. He was born in Fort Atkinson, Iowa, October 20, 1878, a son of Frank and Maggie (Raucsh) Maruska, the former a native of Bohemia, while the latter was born in Fort Atkinson, Iowa. The father came to the United States about 1870, when a young man of twenty-one or twenty-two years, and made his way directly westward to Iowa, establishing his home in Wnneshiek County. He was there married and in 1888 removed to Howard county, where he rented the Bullis farm and later invested his savings in eighty acres of farm land north of Lourdes. There he has since resided, his time and attention being successfully given to general agricultural pursuits. His first wife died in Winneshiek county, Iowa, and he was later married in Howard county to his present wife.

Frank J. Maruska was educated in the district schools and at the age of nineteen years started out upon an independent business career. He went first to Elma, Iowa, and began work in the implement house of Frank Smart, with whom he remained through the summer. He then accepted a clerkship in the general merchandise establishment of William Deikmann, with whom he remained for a year. He afterwards worked a short time for the Gilchrist Elevator Company at Elma, Iowa, and then went to Alta Vista, where he entered the employ of Timmermans Brothers, general merchants, with whom he continued for two years. Following this he went to work for E. C. Brenner, a general merchant of the same town, and continued with him for seven years at two different periods. Between these two periods, or in the fall of 1906, he went to Dickinson, North Dakota, to take charge of the grocery section of a department store but in the following year went to the Twin Cities and for four months was employed by the St. Paul Railway Company. He then returned to Alta Vista and again became an employee of Mr. Brenner, with whom he remained until 1910, when he came to Cresco. In July of that year he entered the employ of Peterson Brothers, hardware merchants, with whom he continued until November, 1914. In January, 1915, the Maruska-Smith Company was organized and on the 30th of month its doors were thrown open for business. Since that time the firm has remained active in the trade circles of the city and they have built up a very substantial patronage. They carry a large line of shelf and heavy hardware and their reasonable prices, straightforward dealing and earnest efforts to please their customers have been the salient forces in the attainment of their success.

In 1901 Mr. Maruska was unite in marriage to Miss Clara Ruzicka, of Howard county, and to them have be born six children, as follows: Mildred, Regina, Clarence, Mabel, Agnes and Roger.

In his political views Mr. Maruska is a democrat and in 1912, through the solicitations of his friends, he allowed his name to be placed on the ticket of county clerk of the courts, but he was not desirous of the office and made no effort to be elected. However, notwithstanding the big republican majority in the county, he was defeated by only twenty-one votes, his support indicating his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him. In the spring election of 1918 he was elected a member of the city council of Cresco and is now serving in that body, exercising his official prerogatives in support of all interests for the public good. He is member of the Catholic Order of Foresters and also of the Knights of Columbus and both he and his wife hold membership in the Catholic church. He ranks with the representative citizens of Cresco and is highly esteemed as man of genuine worth, thoroughly reliable in matters of business and in citizenship.

History of Chickasaw and Howard Counties,
By Robert Herd Fairbairn (Published 1919 - Volume II)
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois
Transcribed by Paul Maruska