Deacon Edward Tomkowiak, 85, died March 8. He was ordained in 1992 and served at St. Patrick Parish, Wadsworth.
He was born in Wisconsin, where he met and married his wife, Theresa, who died in 2000. The couple was married for 45 years.
Deacon Tomkowiak lived most of his life in Wadsworth in a house he built. He worked for IBM for 30 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He was a Wadsworth village trustee for many years and the Wadsworth mayor for two terms. He enjoyed traveling, gardening and was a fervent Green Bay Packers fan, and he was a consummate do-it-yourselfer.
After being ordained in 1992, he performed many marriages and baptisms. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus for more than 50 years, he led the St. Patrick youth group for many years and he was director of religious education. He was actively involved with missionary work, traveling to Piura, Peru, annually for 18 years.
Deacon Tomkowiak married his wife, Jane, in 2004. He is survived by Jane and his children Edward, Terry and John Tomkowiak; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; his sister, Lorraine Michalski; and his brother, Thomas Tomkowiak.
Deacon Ralph Hinch, 94, died March 23. He was ordained in 1990 and served at the St. Francis Borgia Deaf Center.
Hinch became a deacon after retiring from a career as a research chemist.
“He was kind of an on-the-go guy,” said his son, Joseph Hinch. “After he retired, he said, ‘I’m going to go get a master’s degree in ministry.”
Deacon Hinch, who was deaf, earned a master’s degree in pastoral ministry with the deaf from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, and became the Deaf Center’s second permanent deacon, said Father Joseph Mulcrone, the center’s director emeritus.
Deacon Hinch enjoyed preaching, his son said, and took pride in his homilies.
“He would bring it down to the everyday person’s level,” Joseph Hinch. “He would tell you a story, and there was probably a joke in there. He wanted to get a message across and he wanted people to listen to it and be interested.”
Deacon Hinch is survived by his wife of 60 years, Virginia, who is also deaf, and their four sons, Joseph, Peter, John and Paul; and four grandchildren. A daughter, Mary, died in infancy.
Holy Family of Nazareth Sister M. Alma (Leokadia) Bak, 99, died Feb. 28 at Nazarethville in Des Plaines. She was in her 80th year of religious life.
Born in Chicago, she was baptized at Holy Innocents Church. She entered religious life in 1940 and professed her first vows in 1943. She earned a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University.
She taught in many parish schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago, including St. Ann, St. Casimir, St. Hedwig, St. Andrew, St. Adalbert, St. Josaphat, St. Ladislaus and St. Hyacinth.
Providence Sister Mary Rita (Mary Paula) Griffin, 83, died March 6 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
Born in Washington, D.C., she entered the Sisters of Providence in 1954 and professed final vows in 1962.
She ministered in education, administration and service to the poor in Indiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; North Carolina; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Taiwan.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she was principal of Our Lady of Sorrows School (1978-1984).
Franciscan Sister Patricia (Helen) Heuer, 103, died March 11 in the 86th year of her religious life.
She was born in South Dakota and entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1933 and made her final vows in 1939.
She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Loras College in Dubuque. Sister Patricia ministered as an educator in Iowa in Waterloo, Sioux City, and Dyersville; in Illinois at Midlothian, Melrose Park and North Riverside; and in California in Crescent City.
Adrian Dominican Sister Ruth (Joan Francis) Rabideau, 93, died March 12 in Adrian, Michigan.
Born in Michigan, she was in the 75th year of her religious life.
She served in education and as a pastoral minister in Michigan, Illinois and Florida.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Queen of Angels (1948-1952); St. Edmund, Oak Park (1963-1965); and St. Rita Elementary School (1965-1967).
She is survived by a sister, Joan Mendicino.
Sister of Christian Charity Carolyn (Agnita) Eultgen, 94, died March 16 at Sacred Heart Convent, Wilmette.
Born in St. Louis, she entered the convent in 1939. She made first vows in 1944.
She taught at St. Raphael (1944-1957) and St. Gregory (1966-1972) and was principal at St. Theresa, Palatine (1984-1988) and St. Martha, Morton Grove (1988-1991).
She also ministered to the Lakota Sioux people on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.
In 2008, Sister Carolyn returned to Wilmette as local leader of Sacred Heart Convent. In 2010, due to health problems, she became a patient there.
Providence Sister Christine (Eleanor Mae) Patrick, 89, died March 20 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
Born in Indianapolis, she entered the Sisters of Providence in 1950 and professed final vows in 1957.
She ministered as a teacher, principal and administrator in Illinois; Indiana; Oklahoma; Washington, D.C.; and Florida. A lover of animals, especially dogs, upon retirement she volunteered at the Southeastern Guide Dogs in East Palmetto, Florida.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she served at St. Mel-Holy Ghost (1952-1953) and Maternity BVM (1956-1958).
Sister Christine is survived by a sister, Zoe Booker.
Sister Marie David (Mary Catherine) Schroeder, 97, died March 30 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
She ministered in schools in Indiana, Illinois and California before returning to the motherhouse, where she served in the business office and gift shop.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she served at Maternity BVM (1943-1947); St. Francis Xavier, Wilmette (1951-1952); St. Mel (1954-1957); and St. Sylvester (1973).