Josephine Lilak, known as “Jo” to her family and friends, died peacefully at age 96 on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at the Brook, a caring and loving assisted living community in Gaylord, Michigan. Born in Cheboygan, Michigan, to Mieczystaw (Michael) and Katherine (Debski) Pietrzak, she was the oldest of eight children.
Jo grew up in Cheboygan and following graduation from Cheboygan High School was employed as a secretary for the firm of Shepherd and Berry. She married Joseph Charles Lilak in Cheboygan on September 16, 1950. She has lived in Gaylord since 1952 and worked at the Gaylord State Bank for 13 years. Jo also worked as a volunteer for the Michigan State Police at the Gaylord post and was a volunteer with RSVP since its inception. She was also a member of Zonta, a professional women’s organization, as well as a member of St. Mary Cathedral and the Altar Rosary Society. She loved to garden and read and was known for her cooking and baking.
Jo’s deep Catholic faith was a hallmark of her life, as was her love of family and pride in her children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. She was known throughout her entire life as an exemplary wife, mother, and grandmother, as well as for her deep faith and as a loyal supporter of the St. Mary’s Diocese. Even later in life, Jo embraced each day with positive enthusiasm and warmed the hearts of everyone around her with her smile, her sense of humor, and her appreciation and thankfulness for all of the good in her life.
Left to honor Josephine and remember her love are her five children, Patricia (Thomas) Kitchen, David (Stephanie) Lilak, Robert (Laura Pearl) Lilak, James Lilak, and Donald (Lisa) Lilak; twelve grandchildren Jason Kitchen, Nicholas (Elizabeth) Kitchen, Sara Kitchen, Samuel Lilak, Joseph Lilak, Zoe Lilak, Kieran Allison, Alexander Lilak, Vanessa Lilak, Hayden Lilak, Gabrielle Wilson, Ford Braun II, Richard Pearl, and Diana Pearl; one great-grandchild: Liam Wilson; two sisters Anne Ausbon and Teresa LaRocque; one brother Theodore (Joanne) Pietrzak; and many loved nieces and nephews.
Josephine was preceded in death by her parents, Michael and Katherine Pietrzak; husband Joseph Charles Lilak; daughter Joanne Lilak; brothers Francis and Raymond Pietrzak; and sisters Barbara Vanier and Alice Mason.
A special thank you is extended to the staff and volunteers at the Brook, the Hospice of Michigan staff and volunteers, and all of her friends and family who helped her live each day to its fullest.
Although Jo will be sadly missed on this earth, we celebrate her memory and her eternal life with our Lord.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary Cathedral on Friday, April 27, 2018, at 11am. Visitation at the Nelson Funeral Home will be held on Thursday, April 26, 2018, from 3-8 pm with a Rosary Service at 6 pm. Visitation will continue Friday, April 27 at St. Mary Cathedral from 10am until the time of the service. Memorials may be made in Josephine’s name to St. Mary Cathedral or United Hospice of Michigan in Gaylord.
Interment will be held at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan.
Arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.