Jeanette A. “Jennie” Halmel (nee Paliatka), 87.
Born October 23, 1928 in Chicago to Anna (nee Novak) and Stephen Paliatka. On April 28, 2016, Jennie was surrounded by her loving family as she passed, peacefully, from this life on to her heavenly home. She was married to Anton “Tony” F. Halmel for 37 years. Tony preceded her in death on May 12, 1999. She is survived by her daughter Christine (Cran) Boyd, son Anton (AJ) Halmel, step-daughter Jeanne Kelby, granddaughter Janis Legan, grandsons Jackson and Nathan Boyd, and great-granddaughter Avery Legan.
Jennie lived in Lombard, in the same home, for 54 years. She was a kind and quiet soul who was a helper to everyone. She loved her neighborhood and neighbors. A fond remembrance for many years was of the annual “court picnics” – the food, fellowship, and kids running around everywhere. Jennie loved the Lilac Parade. She would set out chairs for her family on the morning of the parade, every year, same spot. After the parade she always laid out a feast of homemade fried chicken and potato salad. Food was her gift. In the tiniest of kitchens, she managed to turn out delicious meals and goodies – enough to feed an army. The apple slices that she baked were legendary. Homemade kolaczki, rye bread, houska, pork roast and dumplings were all made with love.
She cherished her Czechoslovakian (Bohemian) heritage. Jennie grew up in the Lawndale area of Chicago. As a child of the Great Depression, she would remind her family of the everyday hardships. In early 1938, as a young girl, she went to visit relatives in Czechoslovakia. After several months, it was clear that Europe was changing. Family members raced to get her on one of the last ships back to America before it was too late. She belonged to CSA Fraternal Life (formerly Czechoslovak Society of America) and most recently attended Czech genealogy meetings with her step-daughter Jeanne.
Jennie started working for Sears and Roebuck while still attending Farragut High School. She worked there for over 20 years and was blessed with wonderful friendships with her “Sears Girls”. They traveled to places like Bermuda, Sun Valley, and Florida. They put on song and dance shows and gathered around pianos to sing – just like the old MGM movies.
Later, Jennie worked at Marshall Field’s in Oak Brook for over 10 years. She worked in the hosiery department. This meant socks for everyone on every holiday.
She loved her husband, children, extended family, and dogs. Years ago, summer weekends meant packing up to take the family to Wonder Lake. She enjoyed hosting family and friends and dipping her toes in the water. In recent years, Jennie liked to “go for a ride” just to see the old summer home.
She found great joy in the simple things of life. Sitting in the sun watching the comings and goings of her neighborhood. Puttering around the yard checking on the roses and lilies-of-the-valley. Napping with her dogs, Candy and Frank, on her lap. Watching NCIS. Playing checkers with her grandsons.
There simply are not enough words to describe the beauty, life, and giving spirit of Jennie or how very much we will miss her.
Memorial gathering will be held Thursday, May 5 from 3 to 7 PM at Brust Funeral Home, 135 South Main Street, Lombard.