Dolores Irene “Dee” Urkewich, formerly of Granite City, Illinois, died on July 14, 2021 at Providence Hospital in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 76.
Dee was born in Chicago Illinois to Florian H. (Floyd) Zdroik and Edith G. (Marie) Wheeler on December 17th, 1944. She attended school in Schiller Park Ill., where she met Joseph P. Urkewich. They married in Chicago Ill. on August 30th, 1961. They had three children together—Richard, Victoria, and Karen.
Dee managed Town & County Apartments in Granite City, Ill. for over 20 years and was known for her sense of humor and the many delicious meals she prepared for staff and friends, which would often include her family’s Polish specialties. She retired in 2019 and moved to Estacada, Oregon, to be near her daughters.
She loved nothing better than cooking and celebrating with others. She had an extensive collection of party decorations and serving dishes that covered most holidays. Any dinner at her house would result in a full meal with leftovers to take home. She loved all kinds of foods—especially a big spread with a variety of appetizers.
Dee was also known for her love of games, gambling, and competition. She really liked to win. Poker games always involved getting out the change jar (poker chips with no stakes would not do). The start of a typical phone call with her would involve hearing about her recent bingo winnings.
However, as a lifelong Chicago sports fan, she knew the pain of losing. She did finally get to celebrate the end of the Cub’s 100+ year World Series drought in 2016 and the Bears’ first Super Bowl win in 1986 after 23 years.
Dee loved to travel and had special memories of time she spent in Portugal, Ireland, and England with Joe. She would often talk about the wonderful food and places she visited. Most of her travels were closer to home though. She loved camping and visiting the Oregon coast with her family. When her children were young, the family traveled thousands of miles across the U.S. in a Ford station wagon, to almost every state in the union.
When her children were in elementary school in Addison, Illinois, Dee was very active in the PTA, even serving as local president for a while. She was instrumental in bringing a hot lunch program and ice cream to her children’s school. She always made sure people were also having fun.
Dee loved animals, including the many dogs she shared her life with. They loved her too—especially since she always made sure they got a taste of whatever she was cooking.
She loved to laugh and had a great spirit. Even through adversity, she was able to find humor in almost every situation. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.
Dee is survived by daughters Victoria Haynes and Karen (Kay) Stark; sons-in-law, Ed Haynes and James (Jamie) Stark; brother Kenneth Zdroik; granddaughter, Maria Rohde; and many extended family members and friends.
Dee is preceded in death by husband Joseph Urkewich, son Richard Urkewich, brother Donald Zdroik, granddaughter Natasha Urkewich, and grandson Patrick Rohde.
A celebration of her life, memorial service will be held on Friday, September 17th, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Irwin Chapel, 3960 Maryville Road, Granite City Illinois. Burial will follow at Sunset Hill Memorial Estates in Glen Carbon Illinois at 11 a.m. on September 18, 2021. Arrangements are by Irwin Chapel.
An informal potluck picnic in honor of Dee will be held at Riverside Park, 10220 SE Jennifer St., Clackamas Ore. On August 15th, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. Contact Kay for further details.
The family of Dee Urkewich wishes to extend our sincere thanks to the doctors and nurses who took care of her at Providence Hospital in Portland Ore. for their excellent care.