Roxane Muzyka (nee Turek), age 64 of Brookfield, formerly of Chicago. Beloved wife of Edward, loving mother of Luke and Matthew (Sandee), cherished grandmother of Joel, dear daughter of Olive Turek (nee Klein) and the late Edward Turek, fond sister of Norman and Richard Turek.
Roxane Muzyka, who died May 31st at home, made of the most of her 64 years on Earth. The Brookfield resident, who spent most of her life on Chicago’s Southwest Side, had a great sense of adventure, a wide range of interests and a love of people.
She could play the organ, French horn, trumpet, mellophone and cornet, which her husband, Ed, discovered attractive about her when they first met in 1974 at Boston Pub in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. He was 20 and she just 19.
“I liked everything about her,” Ed noted. “She had beautiful eyes and I liked her long hair. She was into music. She wore her personality on her sleeve. You could tell who she was right away.”
They married on September 25, 1976. For their 40th wedding anniversary, their two sons, Luke and Matt, sent them on a trip to San Francisco, where they enjoyed spending time with Roxane’s cousin, Keith Gorlen and his wife, Carol Weisner.
Growing up in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, Roxane Turek and her family lived above the Social Center at St. Michael’s Church her father, Ed, helped build. The center had a roller rink where a young Roxane learned to roller skate, a skill she later passed along to her two sons, Matt and Luke.
Roxane, born April 6th, 1955, enjoyed travel, ranging from jumping on public transportation to visiting downtown Chicago to driving cross country to see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. On a lark, the family bought plane tickets to go to a maple syrup festival in Vermont. When her two sons were younger, Roxane and Ed would spend winters in Wisconsin.
“She liked to go out a lot,” Matt said. “She took me and Luke everywhere.”
With her sons in tow, Roxane hopped on the bus for a variety of adventures, like going to Brighton Park for the Archer Avenue sidewalk sales, Chinatown and the Loop for lunch with Ed or to 47th and Damen so the boys could visit their grandparents.
Bicycles led to another source of escapades as they would ride to Marquette Park. She’d pack a picnic basket with lunch and a blanket, according to Luke.
“This gave Luke and I an appreciation and excitement more for the city, especially since she would do it afoot, on bikes or public transportation,” Matt recalled. “So, it was more of a close lens view of things.”
If she couldn’t find anyone to accompany her, Roxane would go solo, like the time her husband had no interest in going to a Bonnie Raitt concert at Grant Park.
“She just went by herself,” Ed recalled.
This very habit also got her into the front row of a Jack White concert at the Chicago Theater in 2014 and to Grant Park for the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory rally in 2015, just two months after surgery for pancreatic cancer.
Roxane’s interests ran the gamut from tiki arts to Svengoolie, who she went to see for an autographs on her own in February. She also watched Antenna TV for old movies, the Pink Panther and James Bond. Roxane enjoyed Motown, Jesus Christ Superstar, Charlie Brown and Peanuts, Paul McCartney and much more.
She was a cultural enthusiast and collector of precious things. Roxane brought people into her orbit of interests and then shared them freely. Luke recalled his mother giving personal gifts to people. When she took ill, Roxane would explain the significance of each item to Luke so he could mail or deliver the gifts to various people she had on her mind.
Roxane cherished time with friends and family. She was close to her cousins, Theresa Havel, Coral Smith and Mary Ann O’Connell. She impacted the lives of nephew and niece, Lewis and Twyla Turek, and relished spending time with her beloved only grandchild, Joel.
“Roxane was a favorite aunt on my side of the family,” said her husband. “My nieces were small when I first started going out with Roxane, so they knew her. She spent a lot of time in recent years being a good influence on Lewis and Twyla by taking them places. She was very generous with her time.”
Roxane also enjoyed making pizzas from scratch, chicken soup and cucumber sandwiches. Baking was another passion with creating lamb cakes at Easter. She liked decorating for all holidays and particularly was fond of the Fourth of July and Christmas, according to Matt.
Roxane graduated from St. Joseph High School in Chicago. She worked for Epstein Architects, which designed the Harold Washington Library and the Stone Container building, and then later for American Freightways in Summit for nearly 20 years.
Roxane overcame breast cancer in her early 40s, then was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014. She soldiered on until this year when Roxane suffered a series of strokes that led to her passing. Most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only live less than a year. Roxane made it to five years.
“She tried to keep up a good face,” Matt remembered. “She always had energy and kept on going, like the time in February she went to get Svengoolie’s autograph.”
Roxane received plenty of support from family and friends. The kitchen was covered with over 75 get-well cards and her husband’s Facebook page received numerous messages of love and encouragement.
“What an extraordinary woman,” said her husband, Ed, of 42 years. “She’s the only hero I’ve ever known. It’s hard to lose your personal hero. There’s no one to step up to take their place. It was the way she was opposed to bigotry.
“She was a person open to different cultures. She was so selfless and always there for people. People who came to know her certainly knew decency, generosity, a passionate interest in life and a commitment to love.”
A Mass will be held at noon Saturday, June 22nd, at the Czech Mission of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, 9415 Rochester Avenue, in Brookfield, followed by a private celebration of life gathering.
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