Sarah Gerenda cooked up some great moves on the dance floor and performed like a ballet dancer in her kitchen.

"She was passionate about cooking and dancing," said her daughter, Deborah Starkey.

Everyone loved watching her mother and father (the late George) dance in Whiting, including dance contests.

Sarah L. Gerenda, 95, of Whiting, died Aug. 25.

"The last dance she had was with her great-granddaughter, Riley," Starkey said. "She then told me 'that was my last dance.'"

Gerenda's limited mobility did not stop her from dancing in her chair and moving her arms around," her daughter fondly recalled.

"She would sit down in her chair to 'Lawrence Welk'" reruns, she said.

Gerenda also "waltzed" around her kitchen — especially during the holidays, when everyone would gather at her house.

"She would have all her children, all their children" and everyone else, Starkey said.

Taste buds would begin watering as Gerenda rolled out her chiffon pumpkin pie, Starkey said. She recalled how her mother tried to teach everyone to make it, but nobody could quite duplicate her magic touch.

Gerenda made lots of nut rolls and "everybody would look forward to her Polish dishes."

Not surprisingly, Gerenda always made holidays times to remember.

"At Christmas she would buy everyone a gift," her daughter said.

"The look on her face — she got so much joy from watching us."

Gerenda was religious and always gave money and dedication to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

Starkey said her mother was a very loving and caring woman. "She made our lives memorable."

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.