Few can say they are 100 percent Lithuanian-American after four generations in this country. But Mary Ann Rackauskas can! A Springfield dentist for 28 years, Mary Ann is the daughter of George and Helen (Sitki) Rackauskas.
George’s parents, Mary Ann’s paternal grandparents, were Michael and Cassie Rackauskas, who both immigrated from Lithuania to the north side of Springfield: 1820 N. 8th St., to be precise. Mike was a coal miner—you can see his interesting immigration story and why he was called “U.S. Mike” under the Springfield Lithuanian Families tab on this site.
Since mine closures and strikes made coal-mining work so sporadic, miners often moved and needed to board. Mary Ann’s paternal grandmother Cassie boarded as many as four miners at a time, cooking and cleaning for them and even washing their backs with water from a galvanized steel tub when they returned home blackened with coal dust. (See The Mining Life and The Mine Wars on this site.)
Mary Ann’s Lithuanian maternal grandparents, Anthony J. and Mary Ann (Yezdauski) Sitki, lived on S. 16th St., where Mary Ann’s mother, Helen, grew up. Anthony was actually born in 1896 in the coal-mining town Scranton, Penn. to Lithuanian immigrants Annie (Valentine) and her coal-miner husband Adolph Stozygowski-Sitki, Mary Ann’s maternal great-grandparents. (So, on her maternal side, Mary Ann is actually 100 percent Lithuanian-American for FOUR generations.)
Born in 1896, maternal grandmother Mary Ann Yezdauski (probably Jezdauskas), for whom Mary Ann is named, set sail for America in 1912 when she was just 16. Her older brother sponsored her and paid her passage to Ellis Island.
As for the Mary Ann, subject of this profile, she was born and raised in Springfield, graduating from Sacred Heart Grade School and Sacred Heart Academy. After two years at Springfield College in Illinois, she attended the U of I at Champaign-Urbana and then the SIU School of Dental Medicine.
After graduating from SIU dental school, Mary Ann practiced general dentistry in Springfield 1981-1991, until she was accepted into a pediatric dentistry hospital-based residency program at the U if I—Chicago. Two years after graduating with a Master’s of Science degree in Pediatric Dentistry, Mary Ann opened her own solo pediatric dental practice at 1112 Rickard Road, Suite A, in Springfield. She became board-certified in pediatric dentistry in 2010, and also specializes in disabled patients. http://www.pediatricdentistspringfield.com/
Mary Ann has two grown daughters: Lindsay Ann Ross, who has lived and worked in China for the past six years and now works for the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and Amanda Josephine Ross who just graduated with a medical degree from Creighton University and is now a first-year plastic surgery resident at the SIU School of Medicine, Springfield.
Mary Ann’s brother, Gregory, is a retired general dentist who resides in Bloomington, Ill., with his wife, Bette Davis-Rackauskas. They have raised 8 children and now have 7 grandchildren.
Maria Race said:
What a noble profession!
Marilynn Yezdauski Doherty said:
Great article, Cousin Mary Ann!
I sveikata! Marilynn Yezdauski Doherty