Loss of brothers leaves a sad void in Posen

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

The senseless deaths of brothers Eugene and Henry “Hank” Hincka of Pulawski Township left a major void in the lives of sisters Sophie Zyracki, 93, and Stella Smigelski, 95. The ladies live down the road from the Hincka home where the men were found dead, Jan. 15.

Every day for the last three years, the Hincka brothers would stop in to check on the women to visit or see if they needed anything. If Eugene went in the morning, Hank would go in the afternoon.

“They were our guardians,” said Zryacki. “They never missed a day. They were very, very good neighbors.”

Hank was there Wednesday at 5 p.m. “He left and said ‘I will see you Thursday morning.’ ” Unfortunately, his visit Wednesday was the last.

The Hinckas leased 40 acres from the family for 21 years, growing potatoes, corn and pumpkins. “They were like our brothers,” said Sophie. “We can’t get over it, we can’t forget it. It’s just unbelievable.”

Sophie said she never heard them say a harsh word to each other, or curse, “And I have known them for 21 years. They were very gracious.”

Erwin Styma II went to school with Hank in Posen.

“I considered him to be a good friend. He loved to talk about all kinds of different subjects,” said Erwin. “It is very shocking and devastating. He was a friend to a lot of people.”

Cindy Nichol and Bob Styma played spitzer with Hank at camp. “It’s something you would never think would happen in this community,” said Cindy.

“It is not supposed to go down like this,” said Bob.

“They were like big teddy bears,” said Clarence Hincka Jr.

Sisters Stella Smigelski (left) and Sophie Zyracki will miss the men they called "their guardians." Sophie said it would be a pain that will be difficult to get over. (Photo by Peter Jakey)

The Rev. Art Duchnowicz, vacationing out of the country,  offered words of encouragement to the Hincka family and members of the community.

“Even though I am not present in person, the sad news reached me and filled my heart with great sadness,” stated Duchnowicz in an e-mail. “I am with all who experience grief and pain at this difficult time in spirit. Please be assured of my prayers for the families. May the healing power of the Lord help you in this time of pain and grief. God bless you all.”

(More details are in the Jan. 22, 2015 edition of the Presque Isle County Advance)