Marija's parents, Angela nd Janez, later John, God gifted with two sons, Pavel and Milan, and the daughter Milka. Their original home was a typical Gorenjska farm in the Village of Trboje, South-East of the City of Kranj in Slovenija. The Čebašek family was traditionally very religeous and God was its guide and protector. Her father Janez was the sexton in the local Catholic church.
The war that engulfed also by the Nazis occupied Slovenija placed additional strain on the family when father Janez was mobilized by the resistance movement, called Partizani, sometime in 1944. His belief in God and the Holy justice as well as in the sanctity of the human life, drove him to desert the resistance movement a few weeks before the end of the war. As a deserter, he was offered protection by the traditionalist movement, called Domobranci (Home Guard) that ended up on the losing side of the events. In the chaotic closing days of the war, father Janez, out of fear of retaliation and because of the threat of the forthcoming denial of God by the new regime, led his family away from their beloved home, and riding on a horse-drawn wagon they joined the stream of refugees and retreating Domobranci heading for southern Austria.
The Čebašek family ended up in a refugee camp near the City of Leoben in Austria. Life in the refugee camp was not easy, but the family endured in large part becaase they never lost faith in God and his miracles. The camp's religeous and spirutual leadership was provided by Father Roman Malavašič. God gifted the Čebašek family with daughter Marija on the 11-th October 1948 in their camp in Austria. The difficult living conditions there started strengthtening Marija from day one of her life into a God believing, never-losing-faith-and-hope very resilient and very brave woman that she grew into.
Father Malavašič was allowed to immigrate into the USA about the time Marija was born. He settled in the city of Joliet, Illinois, where he resumend and for many years maintained his pastoral mission at the St. Joseph Church. Not forgetting the Čebašek family he has left behind in Austria, Father Malavašič solicited and organized the community of the St. Joseph Church into granting a guarantee, the so-called affidavit, to the Čebašek family, which was required and needed for their permission to immigrate to the USA as well. After crossing the stormy Atlantic on a Liberty-class transpoirt ship "General McRae", the Čebašek family landed at the Ellis Island and entered the USA in late 1950. The family settled in Joliet, where the Church of St. Joseph and its community welcomed it and became its refuge and support.
Marija's parents were in the mid-fourties when the family immigrated and had no prior knowledge of the American language. They worked long days to feed and support the family, instead of going to school. So Marija learned Slovenian language from them and became fluent in it. She was a very talented girl and was educated in Catholic schools until she entered the Joliet Junior College. After her sister Milka and brother Milan established their own nests, and after their father passed away in 1962, Marija started handling her mother's and her own adminstrative needs and duties already as a teenager. She also started working very young after school hours to help sustain the houshold and purchase her first car, Rambler American 440, in 1966 when she turned 16.
During her senior year at the Marquette University in Milwaukee, Marija met a young visiting fellow Slovenian enthusiast, Ivan, and they were married in St. John the Evangelist Church in Springfield, Wisconsin, on 21-st March 1970. Ivan took Marija with him on a two year travel stint that in a reverse Atlantic crossing took them first to Northern Africa, then to his home in Slovenija, and later also on a brief business stay in Central Asia. Their first son, Ivan, was born in Slovenija, but he started walking in Pakistan, whereto the father took his young family with him on a business assignment.
The young Neubauer family returned to, and permanently settled in, the USA in July 1972. Two more children were gifted by God to the young couple, daughter Marija and son Aleksander, both born in the St. Joseph Hospital in Joliet, Illinois. After living and working in Illinois for 4 years, the young family relocated to Michigan, where Marija's surviving husband continues to reside in the same house 44 years later, at least for the time being still. During their life in Michigan, Marija resumed studies and became a devoted registered nurse on a mission to serve and help the ill and needy.
After several years of the battle with various health challenges, Marija's strength and resilience were enough no more. When she was taken for the last time to the hospital on the 17-th November, 2020, and later to a skilled care facility, her last words on the way out of the home were: "Bog pomagaj! Bog pomagaj!" (God help! God help!). Marija never lost faith and hope in God Almighty. Ready to meet Him, she passed away peacefully in Rochester Hills, Michigan skilled care facility in the the early hour of the day after Christmas, after her husband on Christmas Day afternoon sang to her Slovenian hymns including the "Silent Night".
Today, Marija has returned to the Church of St. Joseph and to the City of Joliet, Illinois, where she grew up and became a remarkable adult woman and later a devoted wife and mother of her three loving children. Marija is back to her permanent home where her earthly remains are joining those of her loving parents in the Čebašek-Neubauer grave at the St. Joseph Cemetery.
Let us pray for the mercy of God to accept Marija's soul in Heaven and rejoin her with her parents in eternal togetherness.
A memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Interment will follow and Marija will be laid to rest at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Joliet.
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