ROCHELLE — Helen Louise Krainak was 97 years old when she passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 at a Rochelle Rehab and Nursing Center. She was born Helen Hermes on February 25, 1921 in Joliet.
Her parents were Jacob and Matilda Hermes. Her beloved siblings Mildred, George, and Thomas Hermes pre-deceased her.
Helen married the love of her life, Michael J. Krainak on July 23, 1943 in Lampasas, Texas. At the time Mike was serving in the United States Army during WW II. Her husband preceded her in death on Dec. 20, 1990. Helen was the matriarch of the Krainak/Hermes families and was a model of love and strength for her descendants.
Helen was survived by five children and their spouses, Michael Krainak Jr. and Janet Farber of Omaha Nebraska, Paul and Kelly Krainak of Peoria, Gary Krainak and Margaret Peck of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mary Patterson of Carbondale, and Carolyn Krainak and Donald Isaacs of Aurora.
She was preceded in death by her son, Christopher and his wife Drenda Krainak.
Also surviving are 10 grandchildren, Michael III, Jonathan, Sara, Sam, Ann, and Grace Krainak, Kristen and John Patterson, and Julia and Jackson Isaacs. Helen is also survived by three great-grandchildren, Milla, Abby and Lulu.
Helen was an active member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, serving on numerous committees over the years. She was the head of Peace and Justice committee with her dear friends Marguerite Thomas, Bobbi Colbert and Gwen Hayes. She chaired the bakery booth with Ellie Chadwick for over 20 years at the annual Christmas bazaar. Helen was an active member of the Rochelle League of Women Voters also with Marguerite Thomas, Bobbie Colbert and Gwen Hayes.
Helen’s true vocation has always been volunteerism, especially for educational and social services. She was the chairwoman of the American Cancer Society, Ogle County east unit for over 15 years. In her later years she coupled her love of educating and children by listening to grade-school children read at Lincoln school.
Helen loved to travel and enjoyed visiting Spain, Austria, Germany, and Ireland with family and friends.
Helen was also an avid golfer and won the Women’s Club Championship in the mid 1960s. She regularly competed in the Lincoln Highway tournament with her good friends Emmie Hope, Ellie Chadwick, and Connie Troop.
She was an outstanding bread and dessert baker to the delight of her family and the church. Helen handed down her creative gene to her children and displayed it through her extraordinary knitting, crocheting and culinary skills.
Her children thought it perfectly normal to come home to a new creation of homemade bagels, English muffins and her mother-in-law’s Central European specialties Potica and Kolache.
The Krainak family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at Rochelle Rehab for their care over the years and to Heartland Hospice since August. Our special thanks to Sherry Smith who has been a wonderful family friend and caregiver for mom.
A visitation will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 9. Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. with Father Ruben Herrera officiating. Burial will be at Lawnridge Cemetery with a luncheon to follow at the Parish Center.
An online guest book is available at www.UngerHorner.com.