The churches in Phoenixville were built by individual ethnic communities — so happened with the Hungarians. Their first church was located on Third Avenue & Buttonwood Street. The church relocated to the present location on Main Street & Third Avenue.
In recent years the name was changed to Parkside United Church of Christ to reflect Reeves Park across the street.
Of Hungarian heritage, Jerrie Kehler and Jack Serdy grew up in this church. As there were just a few years difference in their age, they gravitated toward one another. In 1961 — 58 years ago — they married at the church. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Jack’s parents owned 50 acres of farmland in Schuylkill Township. Along with the farming the land, Mr. Serdy Sr. worked full-time at the Valley Forge Army Hospital. Over the years, 25 acres have been sold off. Today, the remaining acreage is kept mowed. A neighbor uses some of it to graze horses.
At the time of Jerrie and Jack’s marriage, they were given one-acre to build a house. The main structure was built by a contractor. It took Jack 10 years to finish off the rest. Their budget at the time was $21,900, which was considered to be extremely high. Little-by-little the house was Jack completed to their liking and needs of a growing family.
Jack graduated from Drexel with a degree in mechanical engineering.
His career varied from working on nuclear submarines to being part of a team that placed a monkey in space. He started an engineering firm, worked in construction and finally retired as the head of the woodworking depth in a pipe organ building company.
A master cabinet maker, his current project is building a grandfather clock. Known as a “tinker,” he volunteers time at the American Treasure Museum in Oaks.
Jerrie was a stay-at-home mom. Later she worked as a teacher’s aide for the Chester County Intermediate Unit for 18-years. Now retired from the job, she finds great pleasure in volunteering, including at The Colonial Theater and Kimberton Fire Company. She enjoys playing cards on a regular basis along with crafting.
Since 1989, Jerrie and Jack have traveled to Hungary 15 times. They have relatives in what is their families’ mother country.
They are collectors of many things which are displayed throughout the house. High on the list is Herend porcelain and Hungarian pottery.
Jack has been given the title of the “Kolbasz Man” as he heads the tradition carried down by Parkside Church from the Hungarian Church of making kolbasz twice a year. The next day it will be ready for sale is Nov. 23. The deadline to place orders is Nov. 17. Call Jack at 610-933-3601 to place your order.
An excellent fundraiser for the Church, Jack, Jerrie and other church members make well over 700 pounds of Kielbasa at a time. Once a year they make another favorite called Hurka (liver & rice sausage mixture).
Jerrie enjoys baking and cooking – and wants to share a popular Hungarian Pastry ...
Sift together 5 cups all-purpose flour
set aside - 4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
Cream together in a large mixing bowl -
½ lb. softened butter
2 Tbsp. shortening
4 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
½ pint sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine creamed & flour mixtures. Mix well – chill dough.
Divide dough into 3 portions. Roll first portion out & place in an ungreased “jelly roll pan”. You may have to piece it together.
*To this first layer spread walnut mixture of 2 ½ cups ground walnuts & ½ cup granulated sugar.
*Roll out 2nd portion of dough & place on top of walnut mixture. On top of this spread 1 lb. of lekvar (plum butter) or apricot butter or do ½ of each.
*Roll out last 1/3 portion of dough – using a pastry cutter, cut stripes of the dough. Place in a lattice pattern on top of fruit topped layer.
Baked in a pre-heating oven of 350-degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
Contract columnist Bette at banjack303.verizon.net. Search YouTube – with BetteBanjack as well as phoenixvillenews.com (search bar Banjack). She can be found on Facebook. Her book “2 Cups of Yesterday” can be found at the Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her directly.