November 29, 1929 – June 18, 2020
In 1947, the spring of her senior year at Nazareth Academy, Alice Maiers caught the eye of Jack Polivka one Sunday during Mass at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in LaGrange. Jack arranged to meet Alice through some mutual friends, they dated, and they were married on June 24,1950 -- in the same church where God first brought them together.
God blessed Alice and Jack with six children: Mark (Jane), Andy, Bill (Liz), Peg (Dave) Iglehart, Tom (Sue) and John (Kathy), bringing them the love, laughs, and tribulations that come with a big family.
When she wasn't busy caring for her children and partnering with Jack in his various business ventures, Alice lived her faith by serving St. John of the Cross Church and school in Western Springs in various capacities as a founding member of the parish. She also volunteered at the Community Mental Health Association in LaGrange, with the local BEDS program, at a Chicago soup kitchen, and she was a member of PEO Chapter JJ.
When grandchildren started coming along, Alice and Jack jumped whole-heartedly into the role of grandparents and turned their home into a kid paradise. In the summer, there were picnics and epic 4th of July celebrations with zip-lines, go-cart rides, Wiffle Ball games, Slip-n-Slides, blue gill fishing, and "Aunt Emma's fudge." In the winter, there were sledding, Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve, oodles of home-baked cookies, and day-long "grazing" through Alice's huge Christmas spread. Year-round there were coconut cream pies, Grandma's famous pretzel jar, a bottomless M&M dispenser, and bingo games with 25 cent cash pay-outs.
In many ways, Alice was a woman for all seasons. She was a church league bowler, tennis player, and skier – and she and Jack enjoyed season tickets to the Bulls throughout "Michael's" career. But Alice was also a lover of the arts, maintaining an annual membership to the Art Institute and season subscription to the Shubert Theater. She also loved gardening and was a voracious reader. She shared all these passions with her children and grandchildren during special outings and exhibits. Grandma especially impressed the grandkids with her daily completion of the Tribune crossword and how she used her crazy-good word skills as a competitive force in Scrabble and Boggle.
Alice and Jack also shared a love of travel, both on family vacations and alone as just a couple. During their travels, they scoured shops, estate sales, and auctions for antiques and other collectibles, filling both their home and the big red Willow Farm Dairy barn at 47th and Plainfield in Brookfield where they held their annual "Barn Sale" one weekend every fall for over 25 years.
After Jack's debilitating stroke in 1995, Alice proved her undying love by devoting the next 16 years to caring for the love of her life until Jack's death in 2011. They were finally reunited with Alice's passing on June 18, 2020 at the age of 90.
Alice is preceded in death by Jack, her parents Matthias and Clara (Weber) Maiers, her sisters Sr. Joan Clare Maiers CSJ, Betty (Hugh) Skidmore, Marian (Tom) Finneran, Joan (Bob) Thiel, and her brother John. Alice is survived by her sister Anne Schwerdt, her children and their spouses, her devoted daughter-in-law Maryann Polivka (nee Garbo), 17 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren, and dear friend Jean Culligan.
Because of Covid-19, the family will celebrate Alice's life with a private funeral Mass at St. John of the Cross. Memorial donations may be sent to The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 1515 Ogden Ave., LaGrange Park, IL 60526 www.csjoseph.org
for their service to God and the community, or Genesis Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, 2546 Tech Drive, Bettendorf, IA 52772 www.genesishealth.com
for their compassionate care of Alice during her last few weeks.