Josef was the son of Mathias Hrebec and Anna Bokor, born on 1 July 1884 in Bohemia (today the Czech Republic but then part of the Austrian Empire). At the age of three, Josef arrived in New York on the ship Polynesia with his mother on 29 September 1887. The records indicate their place of origin was Austria and their port of departure was Hamburg, Germany.

In 1897, the St. Louis city directory listed Joseph as living at 1005 Soulard. The 1898 and 1899 directories listed Joseph living at 1724 South 10th Street. This neighborhood was known as Bohemian Hill. Joseph started working at Johansen Brothers Shoe Company as a tanner at about the age of ten or eleven.

On 9 December 1909, while living at 4161 Humphrey, twenty-four year old Joseph married twenty-three year old Laura E. Wiegert who lived at 2910 California. They were married by (Pastor) C. Krawer at 2811 Juniata Street. By 1910, the newlyweds moved to 3221 Ohio, and the federal census listed Joseph as a wheeler in a shoe factory.

Joseph was required by law to register for the World War I draft in September 1917. At that time he lived at 2850A Wyoming and still worked for Johansen Brothers Shoe Company located at 2203–7 Chestnut St. The record describes Joseph with medium height and build, brown eyes, and black hair.

The1930 federal census shows Joseph, age forty-five, lived at 3727 Arkansas with his wife Laura, age forty-four. Joseph indicated he was born in Austria, as were his parents. Laura was born in Missouri, but her parents were born in Germany. Joseph was still working as a shoemaker.

The couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on 1 December 1934. The guests included Mr. and Mrs. C. Wiegert, Mr. and Mrs. W. Wiegert, Mr. and Mrs. R. Sindelar, Mr. and Mrs. H. Breen, Mr. and Mrs. H Nyland, and Misses Dorothy Sindelar, Georgianna Sindelar, Mona Mae Breen, and June Breen.

After living for many years in their home at 6626 Winnebago, Joe suffered a stroke, was paralyzed, and used a feeding tube for more than a year. He was cared for at the Little Flower Retreat House before his death on 26 August 1955 at the age of seventy-one. He is buried at New St. Marcus Cemetery.

Written by Judy Broleman
June 2020

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Last Modified: 04-Sep-2020 10:42