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Mary Lee (Wilczynski) Szany

Obituary
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MARY LEE SZANY (NEE WILCZYNSKI) Mary Lee Szany (nee Wilczynski), 65, passed away Tuesday, March 1, 2011, from cancer. Mary Lee was a strong, vibrant woman who was fiercely loyal to her family and deeply loved her four sisters: Cindy (Leonard) Czapla, Debbie (Paul) Burrell, Sue (Ed) Mamrila, and Lucy (Michael) Cole. As matriarch, Mary Lee was more than comfortable in her role as Head Rogaliki Baker during the family’s Christmas cookie baking marathon, an all-day affair that annually produces some 1,800 traditional Polish cookies – and plenty of laughter. Mary Lee had a bold sense of humor and a penchant for golden oldies, puffins, black coffee, ice cream, surfing the Internet, quiet neighbors, freebies, her swimming pool, Christmas trees, tie-dyed shirts, Webkins and slot machines. She was also a talented accordion player. Mary Lee knew who she was. She had a steadfast character and unmistakable opinions, which she shared freely with family and friends, neighbors, strangers and customer complaint hotlines. As one of her nurses wryly noted, she had “her own way of doing things.” She was always there to lend a helping hand. Every Thanksgiving, she played “sous chef” to her sister Debbie’s head chef, spending two days peeling, chopping and stirring to feed 20 to 30 hungry family members and friends. Her own potato salad and green rice casserole were among the most popular dishes at family gatherings. Every Christmas, she made hundreds of spritz and snowball cookies to trade in the sisters’ cookie swap; no one will ever make them quite like she did. Before retiring, Mary Lee worked at a number of jobs, including as a keypunch operator at Time magazine, Inland Steel and LaSalle Steel; dispatcher at Unthon Trucking Company; and manager of her sister and brother-in-law’s ice cream shop, Chumbley's, and bartender at their restaurant, Milo’s Eatery and Pub. “She really enjoyed talking to people, and the customers loved her,” said Sue. Mary Lee did not have children, but she was a devoted aunt to her nine nieces and nephews: Tony (Marina) Burrell, Mandy (Brian) Booth and Jenny (Andrew) Burrell, Nick (Lyndsy) and Cheryl Czapla, Maggie Cole, and Michael, Alex and Theresa Mamrila. She was an awesome godmother to Tony and Theresa, and she doted on her grand-nieces, Besiana Burrell and Lily Costello. She was also a dear friend to Ruth and Sue and to her neighbors, Tony, Cindy, Wyatt and Thor. She was preceded in death by her brother, Martin Wilczynski, her parents, Stanley and Lucille Wilczynski, and her husband, Louie Szany. Funeral Services for Mary Lee will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. at the Anthony & Dziadowicz Funeral Home, 9445 Calumet Ave. (at 45th St.), Munster, IN with her nephew, Tony Burrell officiating. Entombment will follow at Holy Cross Mausoleum in Calumet City, IL. Visitation Friday from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of the Calumet Area.

Published in The Times from Mar. 3 to Mar. 4, 2011
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