- 76 years old
- Date of birth: Feb 10, 1938
- Place of birth:
Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Date of passing: Feb 13, 2014
- Place of passing:
Palos Hills (nursing) / Midlothian (family home), Illinois, United States
|"Blue Eyes" . . . we'll be loving you always.|
On behalf of our family, thank you for remembering our dear Rosalie.
Rosalie Ruth Theresa Hoffman Wielkopolan
February 10, 1938 – February 13, 2014
She lived a vibrant and active life that began 76 years ago when she was born on February 10, 1938 in Chicago.
She was predeceased by her parents, Edith (nee Megenity) and Victor Hoffman, who she greatly admired and absolutely adored.
She passed down many of their life lessons and stories to her own children. She loved her mother’s fried chicken dinners and sweet personality, and her father’s photography and witty sayings. The Hoffman family reunions were always something she greatly looked forward to every summer. Her father’s ancestors were one of the earliest pioneer families to settle in St. John Township in Lake County, Indiana around 1845. By the time the first Hoffman family reunion took place in 1934, there were 230 descendants present, and about another 100 that were not in attendance.
It goes without saying that Rosalie had loads of loved-ones, with literally hundreds of relatives. She also and carried on the tradition of going to the annual Hoffman family reunions with her own family in tow throughout her lifetime. Her children also remember the fun sack races and other fun games and treats that Rosalie also enjoyed as a child.
She had many fond memories of vising her grandfather’s farm in Indiana, as well as other relatives in Dyer. She was named after her godmother, Ruth, her father’s sister, and was close to her as well as her mother’s sister Ruth and so many of her aunts and uncles. Rosalie was a close cousin to so many including Millie, Mac, Dolores, Gail, Dale, Mary Ann, Rose Marie, cousin Ruth (called “Sis”), Dorothy, Gracie, Frannie, and so many other extended Hoffman, Megenity, Truly, and Wielkopolan relatives.
As a child she received a pair of roller skates as a present from her parents, and remembered that was a big deal because things made of metal were scarce during and still after the war. She also recalled sharing the roller skates with her sisters. Rosie was the middle daughter between her big sister Martha, who she said was one of the smartest people she ever knew, and her little sister Joanie, who made her laugh and she also affectionately looked after. Rosalie also enjoyed riding her bicycle, playing jump rope and “roly poley.” She often sat with her father and listened to lots of early radio shows such as Let’s Pretend, Tom Mix, and Fibber McGee and Molly.
Growing up in Chicago’s south side, she attended St. Columbinus elementary school, St. Kevin’s Elementary middle school, and St. Peter and Paul High School. She was a bright student who liked Ancient Roman and Greek history as her favorite subjects. About 8 years ago St. Kevin’s had a 50th Reunion, and Rosalie reconnected with many of her classmates, and some may even be with us here today, along with the many friends she made over the years.
Rose was the beloved wife for 55 years of her high-school sweetheart Arthur A. Wielkopolan. He mustered up enough courage in 1954 to ask Rosie to dance with him for the last song of the night. He asked her for her phone number, and she replied “Riverside 1,2,3, jump over” … but obviously she must have thought he was cute, and ultimately obliged his request.
“Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” was her favorite song to dance to with her high-school sweetheart Arthur at her school dances at St. Peter and Paul in Chicago. They eventually married on May 17, 1958 at Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church in Chicago. Rosalie often teased her husband about their wedding night for years, because at their reception he went missing. It turned out that he went out to the store to buy more bags of ice that had run out…instead of sending someone else out. That did not go over too well with Rosalie, especially since she had to deal with her fiancé having a bad case of cold feet two weeks before their wedding day. Thankfully, Art wised up quickly and married that sweet girl with the rosy cheeks and blue eyes.
That first year of marriage Rose learned that Arthur also had another great love in his life….baseball. She and her sister-in-law Florie brought sandwiches to her new husband as he waited in line all night to get tickets to see his White Sox play in the 1959 World Series. The newlyweds lived near both of their parents in the south side of Chicago, until moving here to the suburb of Midlothian in 1960 to start a family.
Rosalie was a devoted mother of five children: Tammy Marie Sutherland, Anthony Arthur Wielkopolan, Jenny Rebekah Israel, Andrew Allen Wielkopolan, and Kathy Sarah Toulouse. Spouses and sweethearts of her children she loved and welcomed into her family, including Obadiah, Giorgio, and the late Christopher, as if they were her own children. We wish she could have gotten to know Jim better. She was also glad to see her mother Edith, who was a young widow, was able to find love a second time later in life with the kind Oren Hanna.
Rosalie was aunt to Tina, Beth, John and Paul, the children of her sister Martha and brother-in-law Gene Pope; also Ross Suttie, the son of her sister Joan Riley, as well as the children of Arthur’s sister, the late Florence and (the late Raymond) Pietrus; their daughters Nancy, and the late Susan, who were also flower girls at her wedding, and spent countless Christmas holidays with us.
Inspired by her own loving family as a child, Rosalie wanted nothing greater in life than to have a large family of her own. Due to some heath issues she initially had some difficulty starting a family, so she always said how “ecstatic” she was when she learned that she was finally expecting her first child Tammy. She was involved in everything her five children participated in, from sports to creative activities. She cared and nursed us through all of our ailments, from flues, tonsillitis, sprains and broken bones as kids, to more serious illnesses as adults, including the devastating loss of her youngest son Andrew when he left us all too soon in 1999 at the age of 32. Rosalie helped her oldest son Tony overcome a serious eye stigmatism as a young child that was affecting his learning, and she singlehandedly did special exercises until he could see better and get caught up to his level. She was long suffering with her youngest daughter Kathy Sarah’s difficulties with math, and she worked with me every night when she got home from work using flash cards…. she could empathize with my utter frustration for math, as that was not her favorite subject either. She aided her adult children through rigorous university studies, especially the nurse Jenny Rebekah who once needed her mother to read the entire book The Grapes of Wrath and help her write a book report, so her daughter could focus on more important nursing studies, like memorizing the names of all of the bones in the human body.
Our mother wisely guided and supported all of us through life's ups and downs. She greatly helped Tammy and Tony raise her four grandchildren, spending much of her time caring, playing and aiding them, just like she did with her own children. Rose was a very loving and nurturing grandmother to Amber, Ian, James, and Britnee, and recently became a great grandmother to Noah. She loved playing games with Tony’s kids Britnee and James, who’s smile and personality often made her laugh just like her son did when he was her small child. Tammy’s daughter Amber was always special to her as the first grandchild, and was one of her favorite singers. She also often laughed at Ian’s humor, just like his father Chris, and enjoyed listening to her grandson play guitar. Although she said she would not use the word “selfless” to describe it, she considered helping her adult children to raise their children as one of the most important things she did for others in her life. All who knew and loved Rose saw that she always thought of others first, and the words benevolent, compassionate, empathetic, kindhearted and selfless would definitely be adjectives we would use to describe her.
She taught her family to be helpful and kind towards others, and to be productive, thoughtful, and hard-working adults. She taught us to not judge people on how they look on the outside, but rather to see others for their character on the inside.
She often said her greatest joys were the simple pleasures of playing and laughing with her children, the humor of her husband, and spending holidays, vacations, and even just ordinary days with her family. With 5 kids, there were times that we all drove her bananas, but we also made her laugh as much as she made us laugh…especially my brothers, Tony who was always up to typical boy mischief like dropping things down the air vents, and Andy who was always making jokes and telling clever stories, thinking he was going to be the next big star on Saturday Night Live.
Rosalie admired Pope John Paul II and President John F. Kennedy. Her places of comfort were her home and church. She was a strongly devout Catholic, and found strength and solace in her faith, and when she retired from working, she attended mass daily.
She had so many friends throughout her life, through golf and volleyball leagues, church activities and organizations, other parents and friends in the Midlothian community, and even her own childhood chums that she kept in contact with so many years later. She loved you all so much.
Rose loved singing, including in her church choir, and often enjoyed listening to music and attended many concerts with her husband. Some of her favorite songs included (my mom and dad's special song) Frank Sinatra’s “Always,” Cat Stevens’ “Morning has Broken,” Vince Guraldi’s “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” and The Beatles’ “Let It Be.” She liked dancing the Polka with her husband, looking at Renoir’s painting On the Terrace, baking chocolate chip cookies with her children, and cooking family meals daily and especially on holidays with her kid helping out. She enjoyed being physically active and playing sports including golf and volleyball, and walking the paths in nature forest preserves and the botanic gardens.
She was an environmentalist --- before that was even a thing. As a Post Great Depression Era child, and later as an adult from the early 1960s onward, she was an ardent recycler, consummate conservationist, and great steward of the environment. She considered one of her greatest accomplishments as having recycled enough paper equal to a giant Redwood tree (and then some). I remember as a young child seeing my mother was always picking up empty cans and bottles when we were out walking, and wondering why people were leaving their trash everywhere for my mom to pick up….like it wasn’t bad enough she had to get after her kids to pick up after themselves, she also had to clean up after everyone on the planet. She also was a loving caretaker of many of our family pets, especially Sparkey and Elexcious.
Out of necessity in her early years, and being taught by her mother, she developed life-long love for crafting, sewing, knitting, macramé and crochet. She made much of her own clothing and her children’s clothes, including her own wedding dress and her oldest daughter’s wedding dress. She once noticed the bell on the kids TV program Garfield Goose did not have a proper rope for ringing, so she made one and sent it in, and they actually added it to their set, and they announced her gift on air as coming from “Andy’s mother.”
Her favorite treats were strawberries, ice cream and chocolate. Her favorite color was baby blue, just like her vibrant “blue eyes,” which her husband also lovingly nicknamed her. Everyone enjoyed her pink peonies and rose bushes that she grew for decades in front of her family home. Some of her favorite television shows and movies were Little House on the Prairie, Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman, Cinderella, and The Sound of Music.
I simply remember her favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.
Rosalie will be endearingly remembered as greatly involved and supportive of her family, friends, community, schools, St. Christopher Catholic Church, Rosary Altar Society, St. Vincent DePaul Society, Girl Scouts, and the American Red Cross.
Her family and many friends will immensely miss her gentle and kind spirit, and her selfless, caring and supportive character. Many have said she was the most thoughtful and sweetest person they have known. “She’s a saint” was never an overstatement when so many said that about her. Our darling Rosalie humbly strived to help and touch the lives of all she encountered throughout her journey in life, and all that love her are thankful for the time we shared with such an extraordinary woman.
On a personal note, I would like to thank my mother for being such a wonderful and caring human being, and great role model. My mom taught me many valuable things in life, but most importantly, as she always said “don’t sweat the small stuff…..because it is all small stuff.”
Many of you may have already known that Rosalie suffered over a decade with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a cruel disease that devastated our family, and robbed Rosalie from enjoying more of her golden years. We all pray that one day a cure will be found for this terrible disease that so indiscriminately harms so many of our loved ones. We encourage all to support the Alzheimer’s Association and other similar organizations that help families cope, and also continue the search for a cure.
“Blue Eyes,” we’ll all be loving you always.
Viewing was Sunday February 16 at The Hickey Memorial Chapel 4201 West 147th Street, Midlothian, IL 60445
Funeral mass was Monday February 17, Mass at St. Christopher Parish 4130 W. 147th St., Midlothian, IL 60445 – time 10:00 A.M.
She is interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery 6001 W. 111th Street, Alsip, IL 60803
Section 39 Block 10 Lot 39 Grave 2
"Missing you a lot this Thanksgiving day mom. Dad misses you a lot too, it was a bittersweet holiday. You were here in spirit."
"Dear Mom, I am trying hard not to be so sad about your passing because I know that you are at peace now. I will miss you very much, especially your sweet smile and your humble laugh and loud laugh when something struck you as very funny.
I know that If by chance I have inherited even an ounce of the kindness and goodness that your soul encompassed , I will be OK in this life, I love you, thank you for being my Mom"
"Rosalie, I will never forget the first time I walked up to your door and gave you a little paper with my name,number and a short note about me. I wanted to babysit Tammy at my young age of 10. I remember how honored I felt when you chose me. Soon after there were 3 more of the most beautiful children and I loved them dearly. You always told me I was like an angel from heaven and I never realized what you meant until I became a Mom. I always looked up to you and admired you for all the talents you had and your ability to look at a dress and then make it without a pattern. I loved spending my free time with you and taking the kids for trips to the park or just uptown on summer days. You were such an inspiration to me and I always wanted to be like you. I will never forget your soft spoken voice, your loving smile. You will be missed by many but the impression you left on many of us will NEVER be forgotten. <3"
"Rose, as I knew her many years ago, was a tireless champion for her children. Always at the ball field, anxious to see Sarah compete. She was a "sure call" driver we could rely on to drop us at the mall for a movie night--even when it meant two or three gals sitting on laps in the backseat of her car. She was a gentle soul, and a loving person. Whenever I caught sight of even a taste of her temper she seemed to smooth it all over and forgive easily.
What a loss for her family. So sorry she suffered with Alzheimer's disease, but I am glad she is at rest, at peace. May God always shine his face upon her."
"I love you mom. I have missed hearing your voice and many other things for so long because of Alzheimers, but I know you are at peace now and not suffering any more. I know in transitioning out of human form you gained perfect consciousness. You feel all of the love everyone has for you, and how much you will be missed by all. You may have been of petite stature and timid on the outside, but in our hearts and in our minds you will always stand tall and our memories of your loving, compassionate and selfless character will always shine brightly in our hearts. Thank you for so many things, but mostly for being such a wonderful mother and great example of a compassionate, patient and empathic humanitarian for me to carry in my mind and heart through the rest of my days."
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