Celebrating the life of Stella E. Wazny
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She was born Sept. 1, 1919, in the family home in Cicero, Illinois, to Elizabeth and Michael Wazny. The middle of 11 children, Miss Wazny was a lifelong resident of Cicero.
A devote Catholic, Miss Wazny was a parishioner of St. Mary of Czestochowa Church. She graduated from St. Mary’s Parochial School and attended Morton High School for one year prior to beginning a 34-year career at Victor Manufacturing & Gasket Co., first in the factory and then as an office clerk, where she was a jack of all trades and worked for many different bosses.
On the way home from work in the summer of 1975, the year she would retire, Miss Wazny pulled into an Oldsmobile dealer on Ogden Avenue. The 1961 sky blue Chevy she was driving was a hand-me-down from her older brother’s boss. It was 14 years old and “clunking out” and she didn’t want to be without a car in retirement.
“I never liked to press anybody,” Miss Wazny would say. “I wanted to be able to enjoy myself and go where I wanted to go.” And, she wanted to give herself a retirement gift.
In the showroom, it was love at first sight. She noticed a 1976 Cutlass Supreme in metallic lime green. “That color just struck me,” she would tell friends and family.
Once retired, on nice days, if Miss Wazny was not traveling to one of her four senior centers, she would have lunch at a favorite restaurant. She told friends, many of whom were passengers in the Cutlass, that she didn’t buy the car to show off. She just wanted wheels to get around. “I just couldn’t sit and stay home all the time. I’ve met so many, many people by driving around. That’s what kept me going,” she said.
The Cutlass, which she affectionately called her “Green Apple,” though a neighbor nicknamed it “Stella’s Green Hornet,” was a familiar sight around town. She was asked frequently by strangers about the year, make and model, and on more than one occasion, was asked if she would sell the car.
One day, driving down 26th Street from the Riverside Mall, there was a squad car in back of her. Miss Wazny had never been in an accident, never received a ticket, never driven on an expressway and never drove faster than 40 miles per hour. But there was a police car following her. She was scared as she pulled into a turn lane at a stop light and squad car pulled up alongside and the window rolled down.
“What did I do,” she asked.
“Nothing,” said the young officer. “That’s a beautiful car and my partner and I were wondering what year it is.”
That’s how retirement went for Miss Wazny, who was a member of St. Mary’s Seniors’ Club, St. Mary’s Rosary Confraternity, and the Polish National Alliance South Side Senior Group.
Miss Wazny, though engaged once, never married. Her philosophy was: “Why make one man miserable when you can make them all happy!”
Miss Wazny is survived by her brother Walter (late Florence) Wazny, sister Theresa (late William) Jobin, and sister-in-law Jeri (late Anthony) Wazny. She will be forever remembered by numerous nieces and nephews, their spouses and children; cousins and extended family; dear neighbors, friends and caregivers.
She was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers, infant Stanley, John, Joseph and Anthony; and four sisters, Mary Mantek, Jean Haisky, Bernice Przepiorka and infant Frances.
A visitation for Miss Wazny will be held Monday, July 1, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Suburban Family funeral Home, 5940 W. 35th St. (Corner of 35th. St. & Austin), Cicero, IL 60804. 708-652-1116.
A Mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Mary of Czestochowa Church, 3010 S. 48TH Ct., Cicero, IL 60804, 708-652-0948. A brief committal service will be held following the Mass in the chapel at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, 7201 Archer Ave., Justice, IL 60458, 708-458-4770.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations to St. Mary of Czestochowa Church would be greatly appreciated.
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