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Rita M. Ruklic, nee Kearney

Posted By Hitzeman Funeral Home On September 10, 2016 @ 3:52 pm In Obituary | 4 Comments

Rita M. Ruklic, nee Kearney, age 90, of La Grange Park, formerly of Berwyn. Beloved wife of the late Leonard M. Ruklic; dear sister of Celeste E. (the late James A.) Johnstone and the late Eleanor K. (the late Leo E.) Bovy. Visitation Monday, September 12, 2016, 11 A.M. to time of Service 12 Noon at Hitzeman Funeral Home Ltd., 9445 West 31st Street, Brookfield. Interment private Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Information 708-485-2000 or www.HitzemanFuneral.com

Condolences for the family of “Rita M. Ruklic, nee Kearney”

Condolence from Beverly Bojanowski on September 10th, 2016 10:35 pm

I remember Rita as charming and friendly. She was a loving wife, sister and aunt. I offer condolence and prayers to her family, especially her sister Celeste. May she rest in peace.

Condolence from Meriona Campion on September 12th, 2016 7:44 am

I’m so glad I got to meet Rita, a most loved and loving aunt to my husband Paul, Carol, Kathleen and Edward and close sister to Celeste. A kind, gracious and giving lady whose spirit will surely live on in those she loved. May she rest in peace.

Condolence from Paul Johnstone on September 12th, 2016 7:25 pm

Lovely Rita … Catchy title, catchy tune. It’s a song I’ve heard a thousand times and a dozen ways over the years – but, for me, it always has brought a smile because of our own special Aunt Rita. I’ve always had a passion for music. I wonder if it was partly inspired by the sing-song way she’d answer the telephone – maybe some of you also remember, GU42975…

When I arrived the other day, Kath told Rita her favourite nephew was here. That’s almost certainly not true. But I may have been the most ‘favoured’ – with her time and generosity; her patience and her inspiration….

Fortune has given me many generosities, but perhaps none quite so much as lovely Aunt Rita. I had a second mum!. Not needed – mine was great -but a great gift it was. Rita particularly gave me an extra helping of arts, and sciences, and culture. I have dozens of memories of Rita leading me through all the mysteries that Chicago had to offer. Across the length and breadth via CTA, She unlocked for me the MoS&I, and patiently waited and interpreted a hundred times while I ransacked it for all the wisdom it could offer … Those days among the trains and planes and telephones and computers awakened a passion for science and technology that gave me both a vocation and an avocation for the rest of my life.

But it wasn’t just geeky pleasures that she gifted me. I remember the long walks around the Loop – around the Fort Dearborn site, throughout the old CPL, to the top of the Prudential ‘skyscraper’ – I think all these journeys gave me an awe and wonder of history and the wider world. And then … We’d wind up at the fantastic Art Institute – the city’s cultural bookend to the Mosi.

I remember my wonder holding her hand and first viewing the impressionists and the grand Seurat – you know the one – I was a little Crew cut lad from Summit suddenly transported to Belle Époque France.

And then, there was ‘The Red Balloon’. It is a very touching & allegorical story set in post-war Paris, it was about a lonely little boy who is befriended by a red balloon that follows him everywhere – a lifetime in just a few days across Paris. As a mostly-only-child, the companionship resonated deeply. And Rita read and re-read tirelessly. I say ‘read’, but it was a picture book – scenes from a movie shot the year I was born. Rita would just make up a story that would change each telling. By the hundreth repetition, I was the one making up the story.

It was perhaps Twenty years later when I finally arrived in the heart of Paris, in Montmartre, on the steps of Sacre Coeur, looking across the rooftops, looking for the red balloon of and remembering Rita’s voice making up our shared story. What a long shadow she cast … And twenty years later still I stood in the same place and watched my daughter, transfixed by the setting sun across the City, and I thought, oh my … How lovely Rita has paid it forward. Olivia will have her own stories to tell, but it was quite a treat when she and I could eventually share secrets in French… All started by our lovely Rita.

Rita also taught me my first few words of Spanish. Counting to six. I remember it quite vividly in the book department on the 4th floor at Fields. For a five year old, it was like a cathedral of books, all leaking knowledge and mystery and adventure. In the last few years as Meri and I have settled part time in Spain, I often think back to that day, skipping through the stacks, chanting uno–dos-tres-Quattro-cinco-sez….

But it would be foolish to think mine was the only life touched. Rita was a nurse throughout her life. But she was shockingly modest about her work. I really never knew much about it, except for a few odd bits of her trade craft lying about – a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff… And watches with second hands. I’m sure Rita, as a professional, touched, and saved, many lives in ways more vital than my memories of her. She certainly saved my own fathers life , summoning the paramedics in time. And I look at what a generous and loving caretaker Kath has been, and I recognize Lovely Rita’s hand.

You’d think at 90 years, Rita’s retirement would be complete. But, These last few days lovely Rita has again been an inspiration and example. She made her end with dignity and grace and grit that we’ll be challenged to follow.

Others can offer you some prayers… And Rita was always devout.
Vios con Dios, Rita.

Condolence from Kathleen Bovy on September 20th, 2016 7:57 pm

Dearest Auntie – About 25 years ago you asked me to care for you in your later years. It started 3 and a half years ago with your fractured hip and a quiet, “I think I am going to need your help.” I did not know all those years ago what a joy it would be. Thank you. We miss you. Love, Kathleen

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