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Adela Nowak

Obituary for Adela Nowak

July 7, 1933 - February 22, 2018
Newark, Delaware | Age 84


Adela Nowak age, 84 of Newark, DE formerly of Cicero, IL passed away on February 22, 2018. She was born on July 7, 1933 in Glinowody, Poland to the late Piotr Bokla and Antonia (Komorowska) Bokla. After WWII, Adela, her mother, and younger brother, Ludwik, moved west and relocated to Wegorzyno, Poland on May 1, 1946. Later in 1961, Adela moved to the United States to begin her new life.

In Adela's younger years, she had minimal schooling, maybe finishing up to 7th grade. To help support her family, Adela learned to sew at a young age, and first worked as a seamstress through the age of 16. Later she worked as a manager of a general store, and then as a barmaid at a local restaurant.

Adela married her husband, Edward Nowak on June 17, 1961 and they soon had their first and only child, Edmund. When Edmund was 5 years old, they moved to Cicero, IL where she would live for the next 35 years. In August, 1965, Adela started working full-time as a janitress at the Chicago Civic Center in downtown Chicago. She worked there for 34 years and was the recipient of a number of White Glove Awards. She retired in the summer of 1999.

Adela was a devout Roman Catholic who conducted herself and lived her daily life according to the preaching's of the Church. She was especially compassionate and empathetic towards those less fortunate than her. She cared for friends and neighbors in times of need and, more generally, contributed to a number of children's charities. But the extent of her compassion and generosity are best remembered by two activities. One was the countless care packages (hundreds of them) she assembled and sent to family and friends throughout Poland during the difficult years pre-dating Poland's independence. These packages included essential medicines often not affordable or not available in Poland, as well as staples such as clothing and domestic goods. Many of the clothes she sewed herself, especially for children and their special events. She often had her son model the clothes for the fittings. The other example is the gifts she would give to Chicago homeless. She was known to take time after her work shift ended, around midnight, to tuck cash gifts or food under the blankets of the homeless who were huddled sleeping next to warm air vents around the Chicago Civic Center where she worked.

Adela enjoyed living a comparatively simple and modest life – she was mostly a home-body. In the home she was a busy-body, keeping the house tidy and spending her time sewing, gardening, and cooking. She was a talented seamstress and she enjoyed sewing clothes for her family, and making other textile products such as curtains and blankets. She was also an avid gardener. She grew vegetables and herbs that she used in her cooking, but her favorite thing and what she was most proud of growing was lots and lots of flowers, especially colorful and tall flowers that filled her backyard. She enjoyed cooking for others and was an attentive hostess. The oven and stove top were the hardest working appliances in the house. She was a great baker and the family was often treated to various Polish favorites such as Babka, Paczki, and Makowiec in addition to traditional fare such as cabbage rolls, cutlets, amazingly prepared potatoes and pierogi of all types. She would also routinely make sauerkraut and try her hand at infusions for fruit flavored vodkas.

Holidays were very important to Adela, especially Christmas and Easter. She was fond of decorating the house for Christmas, and especially the Christmas tree. She was also steadfast in upholding Polish holiday traditions such as Wigilia, including preparing all the traditional foods, and sharing the Christmas wafer (oplatek).

Although Adela had minimal schooling, she placed a high value on education. Along with her husband, she worked hard and made many sacrifices to provide for an education for her son. After the passing of her husband in 1986 and her son moving to Minnesota for graduate school, she too went back to school, in a way. She learned how to drive (not so well) at the age of 53 and enrolled in English as a second language courses to improve her speaking and comprehension.

Adela is survived by her son, Edmund Nowak and his wife, Anne-Marie; grandchildren: Griffin, Clarissa, Raith, and Beatrix; nephew Robert Bokla; niece, Beata Piatek; and sister-in-law, Eva Bokla.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Edward Nowak and brother, Ludwik Bokla.

A visitation for Adela will be held on Friday, March 2, 2018 from 9:30-10:30 am at Damar Kaminski Funeral Home 7861 South 88th Avenue, Justice, IL 60458. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:15 am at Saint Fabian Catholic Church, 8300 South Thomas Avenue, Bridgeview, IL 60455. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, 7201 Archer Road, Justice, IL 60458.

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R.T. Foard & Jones, Inc.

122 W. Main Street
Newark, DE 19711
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