Marjorie Ann Crnkovich

Marjorie Ann Crnkovich died  in La Grange, Illinois with her beloved husband of 66 years, Nick, by her side. Marge was born in Dayton, Ohio to Joseph and Alvina Wittmann.  Times were lean for a tailor’s family during the Depression, leaving Marge with a lifetime aversion to the food staples of noodles and canned tomatoes. While her parents worked in the tailor shop, she was responsible for the care of her younger brother Tom, to whom she has always been devoted. She contracted polio at age 17, and the “never say die” attitude she adopted to beat polio is something Marge carried with her the rest of her life.   She went on to study accounting at the University of Dayton, where she met her future husband, Nick, who fell for the girl who was the “smartest in the class.”   They married in 1952 and soon began contributing to the baby boom with five boys followed by a baby girl. Marge managed the family adeptly and with great love.  Not unlike other women of her time, she cooked and sewed, and mastered the fine art of organization of a large family in a modest home with no basement, making admirable use of any spare corner or hidden nook.     Each day required seven freshly ironed and starched shirts for Nick and the children’s school uniforms. Of course feeding the family was a continual challenge as well. Her favorite time to grocery shop was at midnight, when she was free to maneuver the aisles with two carts in tow. If raising a family ever got hard, Marge could always look forward to their summer vacations in the back woods of Canada, where the family of eight shared a two room fishing cabin with her parents and where she prepared meals for ten on a two-burner gas hotplate and baked in a wood burning stove.   As the family grew and college tuitions loomed, Nick thought Marge could put her proven management skills to work running a new business, Nutra Foods South. Marge was at the forefront of the growing interest in health food in the seventies, and went on to run two successful stores for over twenty years. She was an expert on gluten before gluten was a “thing.”   Her devotion to family remained at the center of her life, perhaps best captured by the annual Christmas Eve party she put on for many years. As many as 40 friends would return to the Crnkovich home after midnight mass for her famous mushroom pancake casserole.  The party would wrap up just about in time for Marge to pop the Christmas turkey in the oven and prepare for Santa.  Just when she thought she was finished raising her six children, Karl, the son of Nick’s cousin from Croatia, arrived.  While completing his high school and college education in America, Karl became Marge and Nick’s seventh child and was lovingly whipped into shape and thoroughly embraced as one of their own. When spouses and grandchildren began to arrive on the scene, Marge opened her arms even wider. She and Nick adopted a sacred duty to attend every baptism, first communion, confirmation, and graduation for their sixteen grandchildren. She also enjoyed spending time with the grandchildren in Canada, now equipped with a real stove and oven as well as indoor plumbing. No vacation was complete without Grandma’s pancakes with wild blueberries picked by the kids. And Christmas was a sight to behold where she entered into full competition with Santa. The piles of wrapped gifts enraptured the kids and left Grandpa shaking his head. The latter years afforded Marge the opportunity to pursue some of her own interests. She took up tennis and golf and played in leagues both in Dayton and in their much-loved winter home in Naples, Florida. There she had time to play bridge and organize gatherings in the building, creating a sense of community previously absent. Everyone looked forward to the Crnkovich annual Super Bowl party and Marge’s gumbo. Chapters of the Christ Child Society—both in Dayton and in Naples—were lucky to claim Marge as a volunteer.  As treasurer of the National Organization, she played a large role in the establishment of the Naples chapter, where she would go on to serve as local treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee. She also greatly enjoyed participating in a Christ Child literacy program for low-income students in Immokolee, Florida as well as sewing clothes for premature stillborn babies so they would be buried with dignity. In 2015, Marge and Nick left their lifetime home of Dayton to move nearer to a concentration of their children in the Chicago area. Even as Marge began to slow down and lose some mobility, she made new friends and took up new hobbies like knitting and mahjong. She enjoyed watching cooking shows on T.V., perhaps bringing her back to those years of family celebrations where Nick would eye the overflowing table and inevitably ask, “Who else is coming?” In addition to her husband Nick, Marge is survived by her brother Tom (Carol); her sons, Philip, father of Sean and Nicole; Mark (Debbie), parents of Jessica, Kirsten, and Nick; Peter (Kay) parents of Sarah, Matt, and Brian; Paul (Dina), parents of Alexis, Tori, and Sofia; and Andrew (Jackie) parents of Sam, Alex, and Nick; and daughter, Carla Carry (Lee) parents of Evan and Peyton. She was also loved by sisters-in-law, six great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.            Marge’s life will be celebrated with a visitation on Friday, February 1 from 4-7 pm  and Saturday, February 2, 8:00 a.m. until time of funeral 9:00 a.m. at Gibbons Funeral Home, 134 S. York St.,(1/2 mile North of Saint Charles Road) Elmhurst.  Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, February 2 at 9:30 at Immaculate Conception Church, 134 Arthur St. in Elmhurst. Interment will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery. If you wish to make a donation in Marge’s memory, the family suggests gifts be sent to the Christ Child Society Naples P.O. Box 770179 Naples, FL 34107-0179.  For funeral information please call 630-832-0018 or www.gibbonsfuneralhome.com

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VISITATION

Friday

Feb

1

4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Gibbons Funeral Home
134 South York Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126

VISITATION

Saturday

Feb

2

8:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.
Gibbons Funeral Home
134 South York Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126

FUNERAL SERVICE

Saturday

Feb

2

9:30 a.m. at
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
134 Arthur Street
Elmhurst, IL 60126

INTERMENT

Saturday

Feb

2

Following Mass
Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery
1400 South Wolf Road
Hillside, IL

MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS

If you wish to make a donation in Marge’s memory, the family suggests gifts be sent to the

Christ Child Society Naples P.O. Box 770179 Naples, FL 34107-0179

6 comments on “Marjorie Ann Crnkovich
  1. Michael Tsoukalas says:

    Crnkovich family, we are so saddened to hear the passing of Marge. May her memory be eternal.
    Love Michael & Malcolm

  2. Tom and Maureen Pedrick says:

    Mark and family, may your many fond memories with your Mom give you comfort at this sad time. Please give your Dad a warm hug for us.

  3. Judi Burgdorf says:

    Dear Pete and Kay,
    Roger and I send our most sincere sympathy for your loss.
    Judi and Roger

  4. Lynne Deal says:

    Marge was just the best. I will really miss her. Christ Child of Naples will not be the same without Marge’s smiling face.

  5. Winnie Cleavenger says:

    Blessings to the entire Crnkovich family as you deal with the loss of a fabulous female who was far ahead of her time. Great role model for all. It was an honor and a pleasure to have known Marge.

  6. Bernadette and Michael McDonough says:

    So hard to lose your Mom at any time. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all. Love Bernie and Mike McDonough

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