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Hon. Francis Golniewicz Obituary (1920 – 2022) – Lake Bluff, IL

Francis X. Golniewicz II, 101 years old, passed on to his eternal home on July 6th, 2022, in Lake Bluff, IL. He left this earth hearing how much he was loved and the words of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, “Jesus, I trust in You.”

Francis was born September 16th, 1920, in Chicago to Francis X. Golniewicz Sr. and Victoria Stolecki Golniewicz. Francis had two younger sisters: Gloria (Gene) Bednarz and Jeanine (Edmund) Okonek. He was blessed to have been raised in a very family-centric home.

His parents spoke English at home, but Francis was exposed to Polish through his paternal grandparents; he ended each day by saying the Guardian Angel prayer in Polish.

He graduated from Foreman High School in 1938, Northwestern University in 1942 and Northwestern Law School in 1947.

In 1945, while Francis was waiting for a bus for law school, he first saw Kathryn Ruth Richards waiting for a bus to go to work. Noticing she did not have a ring on her finger, Francis asked Ruth to a dance, and in 1950 they were married on October 7th, at St. Hedwig’s Mission Church. Ruth was his best friend, wife of 62 years and partner in all things. Francis and Ruth had four children: Xavier, Diane, Regina, and Christine. Christine was a resident of Misericordia; she passed away in 1972. Francis held Christine and the Misericordia in his heart for the rest of his life. Francis’s children were a source of great joy for him, and he recollected raising them as “the happiest time in my life.”

Upon graduation from law school, Francis went into partnership with his father Francis X. Golniewicz Sr. They conducted a general practice with specialties in real estate and probate. At the same time, Francis was a part-time teacher in the Chicago Public High Schools in history and English. In 1964, Francis leveraged his expertise in real estate and secured a job with Cook County as an Examiner of Titles and Torrens along with his law school friend, Mike Czaja, a longtime friend from law school. In 1979, Francis was appointed a Judge in Cook County’s Chancery Division, immediately earning him the affectionate title of “Grandpa Judge” at home. He was known to be a fair and just judge and had a “brilliant legal mind.”

Francis retired in 1989. However, he continued to work in Judicial Arbitration and was appointed Guardian Ad Litem in many cases well into his 80s.

As a lifelong resident of Chicago and a 70 year resident of “The Villa,” – a neighborhood record – he served on the The Villa Improvement League for over 40 years. In the great snowstorm of 1967, Francis used his Jeep to dig out his neighbors and nearby businesses as voluntary service to his neighborhood.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Francis, along with Ruth were active landlords to several properties. As a team, they saw to the leases, tenants and maintenance of their holdings.

He was a gentleman farmer. He admired and respected all the stewards of the land who woke up early, went to bed late, worked the fields, and raised livestock while raising families and feeding the country. He always wore a belt, tucked in his shirt and was willing to roll up his sleeves. “As a farmer,” he would often say, “you have to be a surgeon, a chemist, a mechanic and an engineer.” He loved, studied, and owned horses, especially his favorite breed Arabians.

One of the most thrilling moments of Francis’ life was when he met Cardinal Wojtyla in 1976 when Cardinal Wojtyla was visiting Chicago. Francis often recounted nearly falling off a ladder, overcome with joy, when Ruth informed him that Cardinal Wojtyla had been elected the first Polish pope just two years later!

Francis was the definition of a lifelong learner who studied history even until the last week of his life. He credited his long life and brilliant mind to a love of reading. He had a natural curiosity and pursued new experiences his entire life: he attended the Kentucky Derby at age 93!

Francis will be deeply missed by his three surviving children Xavier, Diane (Doug Palandech), and Regina (Stanley Dee); his twelve grandchildren Kathryn (Scott), Robert (Jenny), Terese (Tim), Margaret (Drue), Brigid (Tom), Francis, Martha (Brandon), Lucia (Matthew), Andrew (Katlyn), Grace (Brennan), Victoria, and Thomas; and his 18 great-grandchildren Bernadette, Nora, Elijah, Nicholas, Ruth, his “birthday buddy” Casimir, Matthew, Olivia, Rose, Adelaide, Josephine, Steven, Beatrix, Greta, Luke, Georgia, Matilda, and Margaux, and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was greeted in heaven by his wife Ruth, his daughter Christine, his sisters Gloria and Jeanine, and his son-in-law Eric Steven Bower.

His family would like to thank Papa for being simply the best father and grandfather one could ask for. He was an attentive listener, gave the gift of his time, and offered wise counsel. He loved his family unconditionally- a more loyal friend, none could find- and we loved him unconditionally. We are grateful for his life; a life well lived.

One of the last things Francis said, in regards to his beloved Ruth:

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

Visitation will be held at Theis-Gorski 3517 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, on Friday, July 8th, from 4:00 PM – 8:30 PM. Rosary vigil at 8:15 PM. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Viator, 4170 W. Addison, Chicago, on Saturday July 9th at 10:30 AM, followed by interment at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, IL.

The family would like to thank his caregivers and Fr. Radley Alcantara, Monsignor Robert Dempsey, and Fr. Michael Grzesik for meeting his spiritual needs as he prepared to enter his eternal home. In lieu of flowers, the family simply requests prayers for the repose of his soul. Donations in his name are welcome to St. Mary of Providence and Misericordia, both of Chicago.

Published by Legacy Remembers on Jul. 8, 2022.

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