Loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend are words that nicely blend to describe Edwina Rutkowski.
"She was a really strong woman," said her daughter, Cynthia Matczak.
After her husband, Albin, died, she lived at home for many years until health problems prompted her to live at Lowell Health Care, her daughter said.
Edwina M. Rutkowski, 91, of Crown Point, formerly of the Southeast side of Chicago, died Dec. 15.
In the 1940s, she was a beautician on Halsted Street in Chicago.
Women often visited her at the shop and spoke code words for items such as nylon stockings, chocolate and cigarettes -- all hard to acquire during the war effort, Matczak said.
Rutkowski helped them buy the items from an acquaintance known as the "Italian Lunch Lady," Matczak said.
Rutkowski later was an assistant manager for 35 years at Woolworth's in South Chicago.
She was known as "Edna" by her co-workers and "Evlyn" at home.
"She had a lot of aliases," her daughter said with a laugh.
Whether a member of St. Michael's church in Chicago or St. Mary Magdalene in Chicago, Rutkowski was very active.
"She was always involved in the mothers' clubs," Matczak said.
Of late, she was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Crown Point.
When growing up, Matczak said her mother often invited friends of her brother, George, to visit.
"They called us the 'Ping Pong House,'" because of all the fun things to do.
She also invited the priests at St. Mary Magdalene over for dinner often, Matczak added.
Rutkowski loved when her great grandson, Nick, would visit her, Matczak said.
The same went for her four grandchildren: Becca, Nick, Eve and Joe.
"She was a loving grandmother," her daughter lovingly said.