Bartlesville has been home to the Vaclaw family for 100 years. Walenty “Joseph” Vaclaw arrived as a Polish immigrant in 1920. His original name was Waclaw, but he changed the spelling because a “W” sounds like a “V” in the Polish dialect.
Walenty and his wife, Bernice, had four children: Pauline, Josephine, Ann, and Mike. The Vaclaws lived in a small frame house next to the local smelter where Walenty worked. Bernice worked as a maid for the Burlingame Hotel and would bring home leftovers from the lobby cafe. All of the children worked to support the family. Ann worked as a maid for Frank Phillips, both at his home and Woolaroc Ranch.
Tragically, Pauline died from blood problems, Berniece succumbed to diabetes, and Walenty committed suicide during the Great Depression.
Mike, the only son, graduated high school and joined the local fire department. He worked there for 20 years and became the senior captain. During his time there he met his future wife, Katherine, a waitress at the Brass Rail Cafe. They married in 1938 and had a son, Michael, in 1942. Katherine had two children from a previous marriage, Jack and JoAnne McCarty. After graduating from Col-Hi in 1949, Jack entered the Navy and established his home in the Norman
area. He passed in 2004. JoAnne graduated from Col-Hi in 1951 and married Taz Burt in 1953. They had three children, and JoAnne lived in Bartlesville until her passing in 1996. JoAnne worked for Phillips Petroleum for over 30 years.
After retiring from the fire department, Mike went to work for Phillips Petroleum Company. He retired in 1980. Katherine worked for Koppel’s Clothing Store until 1949 and then sewed from her home. Mike passed away in 1986, and Katherine passed in 1997.
Their son, Michael, graduated from Col-Hi in 1960 and attended the University of Oklahoma on a football scholarship. He met his future wife, Roberta, while participating in the All-State football game. They married in 1964 and established a home in Bartlesville in 1971 after Michael had completed dental school and had served in the Army. Michael operated his dental practice for 34 years before retiring in 2005. He and Robbie have been active in community projects throughout their lives.
The Vaclaws raised eight children, all of whom graduated Bartlesville High School. Ryan Vaclaw is the oldest child and a veteran family physician. He and his wife, Julie, have four children.
Stacy, an esthetician technician, is married to local dentist John Lard. They also have four children.
Tyler and wife, Amanda, have four children. Tyler works for L&T Infotech and has served on the Bartlesville Board of Education for nine years. Amanda, RN, is a practical nursing instructor at Tri County Tech.
Russell is an Oklahoma associate district judge for Washington County. He and Emilie, a dental hygienist, have three children.
Bartlesville’s New Year’s baby in 1975, Lorne is director of retail for Murphy Oil in Edmond, OK. He and his wife, Heather, have two children.
Amy, a dental hygienist, and husband Brian Christenson live in Dallas where he is CFO for two tech companies. They have four children.
The youngest son, Marcin, is a podiatrist who lives in The Woodlands, TX. He and his wife, Brittany, have six children. The youngest, Katie, is a special needs individual who lives in Tulsa.