THE HRUSKA FAMILY
GENERATION I: FRANK J. HRUSKA
Frantisek J. Hruska – nicknamed ‘Frank’ – was born in Ross Prairie in Fayette County, Texas, in 1880. In 1903, Frank wed Louise Mikeska, also a Ross Prairie native, at the Ross Prairie CMB Church. He was 23, she was 19.
Frank and Louise farmed in Ross Prairie for several years as they began having their family of five children: Alfred, Elenora, Frank R. (Frankie), Leslie and Gussie Lee. Both Alfred and Leslie died during childhood of dysentery, leaving only the two brothers – Frankie and Gus Lee – and their sister, Elenora.
In 1912, Frank and Louise moved their family to Ellinger and opened up the Hruska General Merchandise Store on Main Street. Louise died of cancer in 1941. In 1947, Frank passed the general store on to his sons, Frankie and Gus Lee. A year later, Frank remarried at age 68 to Annie Sulik of La Grange. He died in 1964 at the age of 84.
GENERATION II: FRANK R. HRUSKA
Frank R. Hruska – nicknamed ‘Frankie’ – was born in Ross Prairie in Fayette County, Texas, in 1908. In 1940 – the year before his mother’s death – Frankie wed Bessie Walla, an Ellinger native. He was 32, she was 24.
Bessie’s own father and grandfather were rather well-known Texas inventors. Her grandfather, Frank Walla, Sr., invented the first cotton cleaner and distributor in the state for use in cotton gins. And her father, Frank Walla, Jr., designed and built his own cotton gin with the help of her brothers.
Frankie and Bessie had two children: daughter Karen and son Franklin. In 1947, Frankie partnered with his younger brother Gus Lee to take over ownership and operation of their father’s general store. They changed the company name to reflect the new management: Hruska Brothers.
In 1952, Frankie and Bessie branched out and built their own service station along Highway 71. The business venture proved extremely successful. So when the brothers decided to part professional ways in 1966, Frankie opened up his Hruska’s Store & Bakery next to the highway service station, where it continues to thrive today.
Frankie and Bessie were married more than 50 years, until Bessie’s death in 1993 at the age of 77. Frankie died in 1997 at the age of 88.
Frankie and Bessie’s daughter, Karen, is the mother of John Haworth, Lucas Knickerbocker, and current Hruska’s owner and operator, Teresa James. Teresa began managing Hruska’s in 1995, eventually taking over the family business from her grandparents and continuing Hruska’s rich tradition of deliciousness in her hometown of Ellinger.