By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE — The beautiful red and white home that has a driveway peppered with classic cars and a yard coated in flowers is where you will find Lionel and Trudie Chernak; the recently named Grand Marshals of Cucumber Fest.
The Chernaks have lived just beyond Main Street in Boyceville for 35 years where they have raised two children; Danny and Amy (Schauer).
Lionel grew up around Boyceville his entire life. He is the son of the late William and Gladys Chernak along side siblings Dave and Janice (Score).
Trudie’s life began not too far from Boyceville as she was raised near Deer Park/Clear Lake by her parents, Sharon and the late Herb Fouks. She is one of four children with a an older sister Sally, a younger sister Kiym and a brother Derrick.
Love at first sight
Lionel and Trudie were raised like any other kids and the teenage years passed by as they typically do. It was then in their 20s that they found themselves at Pine Point on Tainter Lake for an evening of dancing and drinks.
The sparks flew at the old dance hall in 1976 so Lionel and Trudie began to date and within a year’s time they were engaged and they married on July 9, 1977.
Making a home
It was in 1979 that Lionel and Trudie became first-time parents, when Danny was born. Their daughter followed in 1982.
The couple lived in a small trailer after getting married, but that was short lived after they found the house where they currently reside.
Lionel shared that he had originally thought the house would only be a five-year type deal and they would move to a bigger place. However, as the years went by the house began to expand, the garage grew and a new garage was built as their house became a home.
Their house was quite different looking in the 1970s as it was just a small, one story two-bedroom and there was a small garage right next to it.
Over time this garage disappeared as the house grew and a porch was built. That very porch is where the Chernaks spent a great deal of time throughout the years as they watched and listened to the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Trudie laughed as she reminisced about the roof of the house being removed and workers hammering away at the walls all while the children managed to sleep right through the commotion.
At the time, Trudie had begun a daycare service out of their home, a career choice that she maintained for over ten years.
Outside of the house is where Lionel could be found late at night working on vehicles in the garage. He worked full time at Hedlund Manufacturing until he decided it was time to take the plunge into making his auto repair gig a full-time job.
For 12 years Lionel ran his own “Chernak’s Auto Repair” shop until the time came that he wanted a change. He was looking for a job that would provide a change in hours as well as a decent retirement plan. So he found himself working at Donaldson Company for five years before he took a job at Andersen Windows in Menomonie.
It was about the same time, 12 years ago, that Trudie had a desire to change careers so she herself took a job along side Lionel. The two of them rode in the same vehicle, worked in the same place and lived under the same roof for years; all the while managing to still “tolerate” each other, said Trudie.
In March, Lionel officially hung up his hat and retired; Trudie still works at Andersen’s on the day shift.
Despite having the title of “retired”, Lionel still keeps busy each day doing some repairs on the side in his garage.
However, his favorite thing to do to keep busy is not repairing others vehicles, but fixing his own. Lionel has a 1959 Ford, 1961 Ford, a 1966 Chevy Hard Top and a 1967 Chevy Super Sport.
The red 1967 Chevy holds a special memory as it was driven in Lionel and Trudie’s wedding and more recently in each of their children’s weddings.
Lionel seems to carry an extra amount of pride and joy for his 1959 Ford with a retractable roof that took nearly three years to complete. Lionel had the original car, but bought a separate one that he used for parts in order to restore the turquoise blue and white collector’s car.
Other than cars, the classic sound of the crackle of records that used to fill local establishment through a jukebox is another hobby of Lionel’s.
Anyone who steps into the garage at the Chernaks’ will find well over 50 jukeboxes that Lionel has found online, at sales or auctions. His plan is to purchase the collectors, restore them and sell them.
Those who stop at the Chernak residence can view what Trudie finds to be her hobby and that is the yard. Plants, flowers and ornaments fill their lush green yard that butts up next to a creek and a row of trees that keeps them almost secluded as if they were in the country.
Gardening, painting and decorating are also what Trudie enjoys on her down time.
Aside from their hobbies, Lionel and Trudie keep busy with their grandchildren, Charlie and two-month old Annabelle. Charlie is just three years old, but is already taking after his grandfather when it comes to cars and “helping” fix them.
Their home is definitely their favorite place to be as the Chernaks seem to have no plans of leaving it in their future.
Even with retirement setting in, Lionel and Trudie aren’t looking forward to any extended vacations or traveling, they just want to be at home and enjoy their lives sitting on the porch looking at what they’ve created.
Trudie did mention that she wouldn’t mind taking a few days to go visit her sister Kiym in Alaska.
Other than that, it is gardening, restoring, playing with grandchildren and going to garage sales, swap meets and car shows that is in Lionel and Trudie’s future.