LAKE BARRINGTON – Ladislaus “Lou” Bolchazy lived to see a lot of things. He lived through the Nazi occupation of Slovakia during the second World War. He took advice from guys many times his age. Copernicus was one of his favorites.
Above all else, Bolchazy went out with a great flare – in the midst of his family’s most successful year of business in 2012.
Bolchazy founded Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Inc. in Wauconda in 1978 with his wife, Marie (Carducci) Bolchazy. The couple met in Chicago several years after Lou moved to the U.S. from Slovakia in 1949.
Lou Bolchazy will be honored Jan. 4 with a posthumous Distinguished Service Award from the American Philological Association at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Marie Bolchazy, 75, recalls her the legacy of her late husband of 47 years. “Lou would have been so proud,” she said.
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Inc. relocated to Mundelein five years ago when Lou and Marie’s son, Allan Bolchazy, joined the family business.
With a 12-person staff, the publishing company has generated more than 450 book titles, most printed in scholarly Latin.
Having published 26 new books in 2013, Marie Bolchazy said she hopes to slow down in the coming year.
“I know I could retire any day now,” she said. “But these books are a service to the community. We continue to honor our motto of building a better future from lessons past.”
Marie and Lou Bolchazy have a common background in education. Lou was a classics professor at Loyola University in Chicago, and Marie Bolchazy taught language arts and writing on the East Coast before working as a school consultant in the Naperville and Barrington school districts.
Marie Bolchazy has lived in Lake Barrington for 21 years.
“The community has been so supportive, especially when Lou was sick,” she said.
Allan Bolchazy, 47, joined the publishing company with previous engineering and project management experience. He said that with his father aging, he knew his parents were looking for someone to see the company through its transition to Mundelein.
Before Lou Bolchazy passed away July 28, 2012, he commissioned a 75th birthday present to himself – a book, of course. “The Red Flare: Cicero’s On Old Age” was his final project.
“Cicero was one of Lou’s favorite classicists, and he talked about the benefits of aging,” Marie Bolchazy said. “Lou was so proud and passionate about it.”
Lou Bolchazy was diagnosed with stomach cancer July 3, 2012 – less than a month before he died. His wife cannot remember a when that he dwelled on the news.
“His only concern was that his family would be taken care of,” Marie Bolchazy said. “He asked Allan and I to bring two huge briefcases to the hospital, and he would always be talking to the nurses about the classics.”
Allan Bolchazy joked that his father’s briefcases became “black holes” of paperwork.
“It took months for us to clean out his office,” Allan Bolchazy said. “Each briefcase was a little time capsule. He would carry one for a certain amount of time and then move on to a new one.”
Lou Bolchazy was fluent in English and Slovak but spoke Latin, Greek, Russian, German and French, as well.
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Inc. started out as a small commercial print shop with Lou Bolchazy digging up out-of-print titles with expired copyrights. The business expanded over the years to print everything from colorful, scholarly textbooks to Latin Dr. Seuss works and children’s titles. 2012 remains the family business’ peak year, with $2.2 million in sales.
Marie Bolchazy said her husband had a vision to start a Latin-focused publishing company when other companies were giving up on the topic.
“Lou was convinced we would do well,” Marie Bolchazy said. “He would never have wanted to think we could do it without him, but the company has thrived.”
Marie Bolchazy said the most rewarding feedback comes from teachers and classicists who now think of the Bolchazys as colleagues.
“We know that the bulk of our money is going to come from textbook sales,” Marie Bolchazy said. “A lot of our commissioned titles are meant to be more fun – a service to our readers and the classics community.”