Joanne Milasus

According to the search from, Joanne Stecz Milasus and I are distant cousins through her father Joseph Stecz's side of the family. But the only link we can find is that of the Lucas or Jacob family. Neither of us is familiar with that name. But we keep looking for the connection.

Joanne is deep into the search of her family’s ancestry and very good at it. Me — I am interested in my ancestry — but do not want to do the work. Actually, I have very little information to rely on.

A connection we do know about is that her great-grandparents — John and Mary Wolski — lived in the upper Buchanan Street area where I grew up for many years. It is funny how the spelling of names changes so easily. My family always spelled their name Walski. For quite a long time, they lived in one of the houses connected to our row house.

Joanne was born in Phoenixville and grew up in the Bevan Orchard area. She is the oldest of four children of Eleanor and Joseph Stecz. She is the only girl with three brothers.

After graduating from the Phoenixville Area High School, she went on to graduate from Millersville University with a bachelor's in education. Her minor was in library science.

After Millersville, she went on to work in the Lancaster area — actually the Penn Manor School System as a librarian. Later, she moved on to the Columbia Public Library in Lancaster County. After that, she moved to the insurance world. For over eight years and currently, she is a third-party administrator for Significa Benefit Services, in charge of enrollments.

Joanne and Victor Milasus met at the Lancaster County Courthouse decades before they dated. He worked for the county and her job as a title searcher took her to the courthouse. They started to date in 2004 and married 14 years ago. He is retired with his background in law enforcement and the military.

Today, they live in Stevens — which is near Ephrata in Lancaster County. There are no children so they have a lot of time to spend together with their many projects. They do have a "fur-baby" who gets a lot of attention.

She enjoys many hobbies — counted cross-stitch, scrapbooking and photography of nature. She and Vic like to travel as much as they can.

Joanne and I connected on Facebook. Actually, she was the one who contacted me first. As she saw my name listed on the printout list.

Joanne likes to cook but really likes to use her crock pot. Many days she starts off dinner before leaving for work. Or leaves for Vic to plug in at the correct time for dinner to be ready when she gets home.

At the top of her list is this chicken dish:


4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup ketchup

1/3 cup honey

3 gloves garlic – minced

1 tsp. dried basil

Place chicken thighs in crock pot. Whisk remaining ingredients in bowl — pour over the chicken thighs. Cook on low for 6 hours.

For those who do not have a crock pot I have an idea on how to make this on top of the stove. Brown chicken thighs in skillet with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Whisk remaining ingredients together plus up the soy sauce & ketchup to 1 cup and honey to a half of cup. Pour over chicken. Shimmer on low until chicken is cooked as you would like it.


Contact columnist Bette Banjack at Search YouTube – with BetteBanjack as well as (search bar Banjack). She can also be found on Facebook.

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