Longtime Lake County government employee Irma Aguilera was kind, loving and generous.
“She was just an all-around awesome person,” said Rebecca Sanchez, her daughter-in-law.
Sanchez loved spending time with her mother-in-law, whether shopping, having lunch or eating at Chicago’s Gayety’s Ice Cream Parlor.
“She introduced me to Gayety’s ice cream,” Sanchez said. “She would tell stories of Chicago when she was growing up.”
Aguilera, 78, of Hammond, graduated from Chicago’s Bowen High School.
As a teenager she helped her dad raise her three sisters, one of whom became a professional ballerina. She was a beauty queen, participating in pageants.
Passionate about her family, Aguilera loved spending time with them especially her granddaughter Carrie, Sanchez said.
Aguilera began working for county government as a clerk during the 1970s in East Chicago. She worked for former Lake County Prosecutor Jack Crawford, Judge Steven Bielak and most recently for Lake County Treasurer John Petalas. Close to the Bielak family, Aguilera was godmother to one of his daughters.
“She basically was a clerk taking care of people who were paying their taxes,” Sanchez said. “A lot of people would ask for her because of her patience. She did her best to answer their questions. She was a very special person there, too.”
Aguilera enjoyed reading and loved shopping with her granddaughter.
“She introduced my daughter early on to the finer things,” Sanchez said.
Aguilera had friend all over the country, including Las Vegas and Hawaii.
“She was very well known as far as politics,” Sanchez said. “Everyone loved her.”
Sanchez said she misses her mother-in-law’s voice.
“I miss being able to sit and talk with her,” Sanchez said. “She was just a really wonderful person, a loving person, a very special person who always made me feel like I was an important part of her life.”