ROCKFORD — Drenda Jean (Hicks) Krainak, 70, formerly of Rochelle, passed away on Dec. 31, 2017, at Wesley Willows Health Center in Rockford. She was born on Feb. 28, 1947 in Carbondale, to Orloff and Millie Hicks. She married Christopher Krainak in 1976 in Rochelle.
Drenda graduated from Rochelle Township High School in 1965 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Illinois University. Drenda worked for United Stationers many years as a copy writer and indexer.
Drenda and her husband traveled to Germany, Belgium, and extensively within the United States. Drenda continued traveling the world and the U.S., cross-country skiing in Yellowstone, hiking up mountains in Nepal, swimming with dolphins in Costa Rica and Hawaii, visiting ancient cities in Greece, Italy and Turkey, sailing around the Caribbean Islands and traveling to many other destinations.
Following a family trip to Mesa Verde, Ariz., in her youth, she pursued a lifelong interest in Native American art and culture and collected Native American artifacts, art work, and music.
She was a member of the Fox Valley Ski Club. She participated in long distance bicycling and cross country and downhill skiing. She rode the challenging RAGBRAI route across Iowa in 1998. She was a member of the Rochelle Township High School Cheerleading squad and held a long-unbroken girl’s high jump record at Rochelle Central School. Besides athletic pursuits, Drenda loved to dance, make art work and jewelry, garden and decorate. She was an excellent photographer.
Above all, Drenda had a great sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. She loved costumes at Halloween, sending and receiving funny cards, watching 1940s movies, and music from many eras, from the 1930s to the 1970s. She also had a great sense of style with both clothing and home decoration.
She is survived by her mother, Millie Hicks, of Rochelle; her sister, Jan (Robert) Hicks Rutt, of Fairfield, Iowa; her brother, James Hicks, of Cape Coral, Fla.; her uncle, Loran Bumpus of Bonnie; many cousins; her mother-in-law, Helen Krainak, of Rochelle; her brothers-in-law, Mike (Janice) Krainak of Omaha, Neb., Paul (Kelly) Krainak, of Peoria, and Gary (Peggy) Krainak of St. Paul, Minn.; sisters-in-law, Marianne (Alan) Patterson of Carbondale, and Caroline (Don) Isaacs of Aurora; along with many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her dear friend, Joyce Manning, who has been like a sister to Drenda.
She was preceded in death by her husband, her father and her grandparents.
A memorial service will be held in the spring at the Rochelle United Methodist Church. We would request that you wear bright happy colors in keeping with Drenda’s taste and temperament. Information about the memorial service will follow at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wesley Willows Good Samaritan Fund, 4141 N. Rockton Road, Rockford, Ill. 61103.
Cremation care has been provided by the Unger-Horner Funeral Home in Rochelle. Visit www.ungerhorner.com to sign the online guest book.