Dubina, Sophia Bilinski, 1878
Died June 1972
Sophia Dubina was born in Vesnivich, Austria, to Harry and Mary Olynyk Bilinski. In 1907, her brother, already living in New York City, sent her a postcard inviting her to come to stay with him. She crossed the Atlantic, traveling third class, and arrived at Castle Gardens on May 10, 1907. For $3 a week, her first job was peeling potatoes and washing dishes in a hotel from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sophia married Michael Dubina on February 6, 1910, and the couple moved to Albion the following year. The Dubinas bought land on Sheridan Street, where they built a twelve-room house in which to raise their children and take in boarders. They had as many as 24 boarders at one time, mostly employees of the Albion Malleable Iron Company. Sophia did all of the cooking, cleaning, and washing by hand.
The Dubinas bought more property in 1918 and started a grocery and meat business which helped to establish a business section in the west end of the community. Sophia operated Dubina’s Tavern on Austin Avenue from 1932 to 1946.
The family always had a large garden and kept a few chickens to supply them with fresh eggs and meat. They also planted a fruit orchard and trees along the street. Sophia maintained the customs of the homeland, such as decorating eggs and baking Easter bread. These would be taken for the priest to bless during the Easter eve midnight mass at Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church .
Sophia was a very active person who contributed much to her community. She and her husband were founders of and land donors to their church. Sophia died in June of 1972.
Source: Albion Evening Recorder, June 12, 1972
From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.