Elizabeth Maria Csik, 75, was born in Szekesfehervar, Hungary Sept. 3, 1942, during World War II, to Julius and Helen Csik. She died March 9, at home in Goshen.
Along with an older sister and parents, the family escaped Hungary, traveling by foot and hitching rides to arrive in Germany months later. Their life in Germany continued for five years living in a displaced person camp (refugee camp), until they were given permission to immigrate to the United States in 1950.
The family made their home in South Bend. She graduated from Washington High School in South Bend and lived in South Bend until getting married. Her husband was in the Navy, so for the next 20 years, they were stationed in several different countries.
It was while they were stationed in Japan that Tammy joined the family. During their years in Europe, they would annually take Tammy out of school and travel for a month visiting the highlights of Europe and do home schooling in the van and in motels in the evenings. Among the countries she enjoyed most were Japan, Italy, Iceland and Germany.
After the years of traveling around the world, she settled in South Bend, where she worked a variety of jobs in medical facilities and Partners Insurance Company.
In 2005 she married Mel Friesen of Goshen, where they made their home. She became a member of Eighth Street Mennonite Church and developed a deep appreciation for the congregation and its leadership.
She was an excellent seamstress and homemaker with an exceptional home-decoration skills. She was always concerned that people had enough to eat. She enjoyed traveling, often going with Mel on his business trips.
One of her favorite vacations was their annual Canadian fishing trips. Oh, how she loved to tell the story of the 44-inch pike she caught, then with a twinkling eye, boast that it was larger than any fish Mel ever caught.
She is survived by her husband; two sisters, Violet (Barney) Jalinsky, South Bend, and Judith (Marty) Levin, Portland, Oregon; brother, Steve (Teresa) Csik, Boise, Idaho.
The Friesens have three children, Tammy (Scott) Reuben, Cedar City, Utah, Jeremy (Jenny) Friesen, Goshen, CJ Christopher (Miriam) Friesen, St. Paul, Minnesota; eight grandchildren, Lelana Asbrand, Aidan, Savannah, Ainsley and Phillip Friesen, Eliana Spitler, Sierra Thomas and Jake Rueben; also great-grandchildren, Michael Montero and Kaylana Kavanaugh; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She cherished the relationship with stepchildren Gen (Mike) Babbit, South Bend, and Terry (June) Bensley, Carmel.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Dan Zakrowski and Bud (Marion) Bensley; and stepson, Bruce Bensley.
Visitation will take place at Eighth Street Mennonite Church, 602 S. Eighth St., Goshen, Friday, March 16, 5 to 8 p.m. with a memorial service at Eighth Street Mennonite Church Saturday, March 17, at 10 a.m. Pastors Julia Gingrich and Brenda Sawatzky Paetkau will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gift contributions be designated for either Eighth Street Mennonite Church or MCC for Immigrant Advocacy.
Liz was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and a friend to so many people. She was an inspiration to many. Liz had a special spot in her heart for children. She was a persistent survivor of multiple cancers, surgeries an amputation and significant pain in her recent years. She felt very blessed by the many family, friends and church acquaintances who offered her a cup of support that kept running over.
Published on March 12, 2018