Visitation for Virginia A. Gilski, 93, of Hoffman Estates, will be held Sunday, December 20, 2020 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home 201 N. Northwest Highway, Palatine. The Visitation will continue Monday, December 21, 2020, also at the Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Prayers at 9:45 a.m., then proceeding to Holy Family Catholic Church, 2515 Palatine Road, Inverness, IL 60067, for a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. To register for the Funeral Mass please use the following link: http://bit.ly/GilskiVFuneral. The Interment will be held in Maryhill Catholic Cemetery, Niles.

Virginia (“Virg” or “Grams” as her family affectionately called her) was born on August 1, 1927 to Frank and Anna (Lasak) Laboda in Chicago, IL and was the 5th of the seven Laboda children.  She passed away peacefully the evening of December 15, 2020 at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge surrounded by family.

She was the beloved wife of the late Chester J. Gilski; loving mother of the late Diana Reczek (William), Anthony (Kathy) Gilski, Donna Gilski, Ann Marie (Terry) Meyer, the late Barbara Gilski; Robert (Cassandra) Gilski and Daniel (Christine) Gilski; loving grandmother of 14 grandchildren, Lauren (Michael) Owen, Krista (John) Fiedler, Jackie (Chad Wire) Reczek, Jessica Reczek, Jenna (Patrick) Natale, Ashley Gilski, Kaitlyn Gilski, Lindsay Gilski, Eddie Nowakowski, Nick Nowakowski, Zach Nowakowski, Lucas Nowakowski, Ryan Gilski and Michael Gilsk; as well as 6 great-grandchildren, Madelyn Owen, Reese Owen, Charlotte Owen, Vivian Natale, Anthony Natale and Lincoln Wire.  She was a cherished aunt to many nieces and nephews.  Beloved by all who knew her including extended family and friends.

Virginia grew up to be a stunning beauty with flaxen hair and piercing blue eyes and loved to dance as a young girl.  She met Chester after he came home from WW2 and married in 1948 in Chicago at St. Helen’s Church.  Far from a stay-at-home mom, Virg was an entrepreneur, opening her own beauty shop in Chicago on Milwaukee Avenue where she continued to grow many friendships. Virginia and Chester had a wide social circle and were members of the “Penguins” – a group of Chester’s neighborhood friends whose wives were known as the “Penguinettes” thus leading to Virginia’s vast collection of penguin figurines!

Virginia loved traveling and spent time with Chester and her family at Camp Channing in Michigan, and also in Florida where countless memories were made.  Following Chester’s death, Virginia moved to the northwest suburbs to be closer to her children and their growing families and indulged in her penchant for swimming by joining the “Mermaids” at the local community swimming pool.  More friendships made.  She also loved to sew and was always happy to make a costume for a school event for one of the grandchildren.

The holidays were always a joyous time as it was the opportunity for her family to enjoy the many Polish recipes in her arsenal, including pierogis (cheese and sauerkraut filled being the favorites), kolaczki cookies, polish bread (leftovers which would be fought over) and “meat stuffing” (which was way more meat than stuffing!).  Over the years she passed on her love of cooking to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will continue to enjoy these recipes including the most recent batch of pierogis she made with them for Thanksgiving.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Virginia’s name, to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or www.stjude.org.