Jennie Helen Ciembronowicz
After nearly 96 years of living as a gentle, kind, and loving handmaid to the Lord, Jennie Helen (Makosh) Ciembronowicz was called home to the eternal joy and love of the Holy Trinity on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 2023. For her family and friends, she embodied the path of practicing sainthood in the everyday tasks of life.
She was born in Rockford, IL, on July 28, 1927, to John and Frances Makosh, the second of four children, and baptized in St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, where she was a life-long member. She attended St. Stan’s School from 5th grade on, and graduated from Muldoon Catholic High School, after which she worked at Camp Grant and Barber-Colman. On August 9, 1947, she married Edmund “Muni” Ciembronowicz, the love of her life, and they moved to Winona, Minnesota, so he could finish college at St. Mary’s. After graduation, they returned to Rockford where Muni joined his family’s meat-packing business.
Over the course of their 53-year marriage, they welcomed eight children, and while the children were growing up, Jennie served as treasurer of St. Stan’s PTA and the Women’s League, was a member of the Rosary Sodality, and baked up a storm for school fairs, various bazaars, and Polish Fest. Once the children were grown, she went to work with her husband at Penguin Foods. All her life, she preferred to put others in the limelight and to support them. She embodied the call of our Lord Jesus Christ: she was here not to be served but always to serve others.
The high points of her life were attending the canonization of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Rome by Pope John Paul II, her wedding, the births of her children, and attending the various events of her grandchildren. In particular, she loved the beauty of the Polish language, remarking, “Sometimes when I am by myself, I will just speak some Polish just to hear how lovely it sounds.” In 2014, she was named Polish Woman of the Year in Rockford.
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Bernadette Furon; eight children, Christine (Bainard) Cowan, Patricia (David) Estes, Mary (Chip) Geiger, Tom (Vickie) Ciembronowicz, Linda (Michael) Jones, Catherine Ciembronowicz, John (Camie) Ciembronowicz, Joe (Peggy) Ciembronowicz; 28 grandchildren and their spouses; 51 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, and their families.
Jennie was preceded in death by her husband, Edmund; parents, John and Frances Makosh; father- and mother-in-law, Joseph and Veronica Ciembronowicz; brothers, Chester and Edward Makosh; sister, Lottie Fitzpatrick; brothers-in-law, Mike Fitzpatrick, Matthew and Chester Ciembronowicz, and Lester Furon; and sisters-in-law, Ann Makosh and Marion and Nellie Ciembronowicz; nephew, Matthew Ciembronowicz, Jr.; grandchild, Lucy Cowan; and great-grandchildren, Avery Jennie Bartel, Samuel Bartel, and Trenton Pace.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the charities that were closest to Jennie’s heart: the Edmund and Jennie Ciembronowicz Scholarship at the University of Dallas (www.udallas.edu and enter the scholarship name in “Other” on the donor page or send to University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Dr., Irving, TX 75062); the Colettine Poor Clares, Corpus Christi Monastery, 2111 S. Main St., Rockford, IL 61102; or Sam’s Sweet Heart (https://samssweetheart or send to SAMs SweetHeart, 10125 Long Chant Blvd., Belvidere, IL 61008).
The family sends heartfelt gratitude to the loving caregivers Peg, Jenna, Josetta, and Mary, who watched over Jennie during these last years and treated her with kindness and grace. We also send special thanks to OSF physical therapist Mario, to OSF palliative care nurse Wendy, and to the OSF hospice caring staff, Melissa, Becky, Carrie, Crystal, and America, all of whom showed such compassion and respect to our beloved mother. Our hearts are forever grateful.
Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at St. Stanislaus Church, 201 Buckbee Street, Rockford, IL. Burial in Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Visitation from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Delehanty Funeral Home, 401 River Lane, Loves Park, IL.