...fought desperately for their lives...
Vaclav and Zofie Homola took their two daughters, Marenka (3-1/2 years old) and her younger sister, Vlasta, on the picnic. Their family was one of the many young families who were on board the Eastland when it rolled into the Chicago River. Father, mother, and both daughters were thrown into the river, with Marenka grabbing onto her father's neck and holding on for dear life. The family fought desperately for their lives, but Marenka's mother and younger sister both perished.
Marenka never went into the water or on a boat again. Years later, as she entered high school, Marenka was determined to graduate in three years. (One of the senior year requirements was a swimming class.) Marenka did graduate in three years.
Following the disaster, the front page of the Denni Hlasatel carried the story of the Homola family. The captions announced that Vlasta and Zofie had drowned, while Marenka and Vaclav had been saved.
Marenka was one of the last known survivors of the Eastland Disaster. Known as Marie, she passed away on February 21, 2003 at the age of 91.
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