Lilak, Josephine

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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.

27 comments on “Lilak, Josephine”

  1. Jodie and Tim Samkowiak

    We are so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a very classy lady and Was always so kind to me when I cared for your sister. She would always take time to stop and visit with us at church. You are in our thoughts and prayers

  2. Charmaine Boughner

    Jim , Patty and rest of Jo’s family I am so sorry for your loss. Jo lived the best life I think anyone could live.
    I fell I love with Jo when I had the privilege of taking care of her , she was beautiful inside and out , a very kind, gentle soul!
    Caring for her never felt like going to work, I was just helping my friend.
    She is going to be missed by so many.
    My heart is broken 💔

  3. George & Grace Rowley

    Dear Lilac Family, We have seen your dear mother every day since we arrived here at the Brook at Christmas.
    She would say “hi George & Grace ” (Rowley) Now she is with Joanne and your Dad. What a
    beautiful lady.. You each have our sympathy. Love, Grace & George Rowley (Mary Kay’s parentsl)

  4. David, Patty, Bob, Jim and Donny

    Please accept my humble condolences with the passing of your mother

    Regards, Jerry Thompson

  5. Jim and Barb Lappan

    Our sincere condolences during this time of life’s celebration, may her memories and stories be forever.

  6. Vaughn and Bonnie Goodenow

    You were fortunate to have your special Mom in your life for so many years, Jim. You will miss her but you know she is in a better place.

  7. mary Ellen ans Bill Tholl

    Dear Lilak Family. Have known your mother and father for many years She was a special lady. our privilege to have know her love to all of you. Bill and Mary Ellen Tholl

  8. Dave, Jim and the Lilak family. I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. You will all be in my prayers as you go through this difficult time. Loss is not easy but the reality of where she is now is the comfort you can be assured of. Prayer for you all. Pam (Weber) Gallup

  9. My life is forever changed being a part of your mom’s life. Thank you for allowing me to be there for her; She definitely had a wonderful full life and you her family brought so much happiness into it. The bond you shared is forever. Prayers to all of you.

  10. To the Lilak and Kitchen clans, my heart felt sympathies to you all with the passing of your dear mother and grandmother. She lead quite a life and raised
    a beautiful family. My prayers are with you at this time. I have fond memories of the time I was blessed to be part of your family. Jo set an example of how to ive a life well lived. She will be missed.

  11. Christine Padgett Wells

    Dear Lilak family, I’m so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. She graduated with my mom from Cheboygan high school and they would attend the high school reunions together, with them living only a few blocks from each other here in Gaylord. My mom was Pearl Walsh Padgett. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. God bless.

  12. Tim & Lisa Amthor

    Patty, Dave, Bob, Jim and Don,

    We are so sorry to hear about your loss. Your mom was so kind to my dad during his illness. Her kindness and caring for everyone around her will always be missed. We hope you take comfort in knowing your mom touched so many people’s lives and always lifted up everyone she came into contact with. May our Lord comfort you during this sad time.

  13. Amber Theriault with The Zonta Club of Gaylord Area

    So sorry for your loss. Please know her Sisters in Zonta mourn her loss and will carry a yellow rose in her memory at the next Zonta International District 15 Fall Conference in October as well as the International Convention in Japan this June. Jo Lilak was a charter member of the Zonta Club of Gaylord Area volunteering for many leadership positions including President. Jo was an outstanding woman. May your cherished memories help your heart find peace.

  14. Our prayers and thoughts are with you Aunt Jo and family, may god bless each of you and surround you with gods grace and comfort. Love, Clare, Pat and girls 💜

  15. Mary (Podgorski) Kujawa

    My sincere condolences to the Lilak Family, I remember your mom as a child as my dad and mom, Henry and Millie (Hudak) Podgorski from Cheboygan were friends of your mom and dad. Dad (died 11/18/2004 79 years of age) Mom (died 12/20/2015 91 years of age). Dad and Mom spoke very highly of your parents. May the Holy Spirit give you strength during this difficult time.

  16. Pam and Don Smith

    Patty, David, Bob, Jim, and Donny,
    Your mom was such a strong and caring person all these years.
    She was a long time passenger on the “Train of Life”; and now she has reached her station, given up her seat, and stepped down.
    She has left behind such wonderful memories.
    She was so proud of her family.


  18. I’am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of your mom. I had the wonderful pleasure to work for her several years ago. Her love of life & family was truly inspirational!!! Her energy & motivation level sometimes would put me to shame, always going, doing or trying a new task by herself before asking for help, I loved that about her. My time shared with her always included short stories & much laughter. She was an amazing woman, wife, mother & grandmother, with a beautiful soul & spirit!! I simply ADORED her! I am so blessed that our paths crossed! She will truly be missed by so many!! She will be the most beautiful addition to Heaven!!!!!

  19. Dan & Barb Hacker

    We are sorry to hear of your loss and extend our condolences to your entire family. Although I only visited with “Jo and Joe” a handful of times over the years, their true kindness and caring always shined through. May happy memories help ease the sadness of your loss.

  20. So sorry for your loss. We were thankful that Jo was able to attend the 40th reunion of the Zonta Club of Gaylord. It was so good to see her.
    We treasure her contributions to Zonta and the Gaylord community.
    May she rest in peace.

  21. Sally Brown Avery

    My deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother. I had the joy of growing up not far from your parents. They always had a smile and kind words for everyone. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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