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Catherine “Millie” Kunas

October 4, 1926 - May 25, 2022
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Geisen Funeral Home
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Marcia and Dick Tracy
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Rich Spurr
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Amisha and hinesh
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Michele Kaminski Loupee
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Sharon Kelley Light a candle
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Arrangements starting at $35

Visitation
Geisen Funeral, Cremation & Reception Centre
606 E. 113th Ave.
Crown Point, IN 46307
Friday 6/3
Cemetery
Calumet Park Cemetery
2305 West 73rd Avenue
Merrillville, IN 46410
Mass
St. Mary Catholic Church
321 Joliet Street
Crown Point, IN 46307
Saturday 6/4, 10:00 am

Prayers will be said at the funeral home at 9:15 AM on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

Funeral Mass to follow at 10:00 AM at St. Mary Catholic Church.

Catherine “Millie” Kunas (nee Orgon), age 95, of Crown Point, IN, passed away on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. She was born on October 4, 1926 to John and Mary (nee Martin) Orgon. She married Andrew E. Kunas at Holy Trinity Church in Gary, IN on July 2, 1949. Catherine was preceded in death by herContinue Reading

Tribute Video

Marcia and Dick Tracy left a message on July 8, 2022:
So sorry to hear this. Thoughts and prayers to your family.
Richard Kunas left a message on June 13, 2022:
Tribute to Mom My mother struggled with her health over the past few months, requiring more care as the days progressed. At her last doctor’s appointment, the nurse suggested that it might be time to consider hospice. Knowing that the move would likely hasten her demise, mom lowered her head for a moment thinking, then calmly looked back at the nurse and said “I’m ready”. Tears welled up in my eyes as my mom stood stoically, determined and without reservation. The physical, mental and spiritual toughness she displayed that afternoon was remarkable and unforgettable. On the drive home I remembered a motivational speech that Duke basketball coach Mike (shih-ZHEF-skee) Krzyzewski once told his players after an extremely exhausting practice. He said,” I never saw my Mom sick. When I grew up, I woke up every day and my Mom was there. I took it for granted. She was never tired – or if she was, she never showed it. Be as tough as your mothers…they show up all the time… and we need to show up all the time. Be as tough as your mother.” Mom’s determined grit, her unselfishness, and her dedication to her family are qualities that many of us can relate to with each of our moms. My Mom developed these qualities early in life. Living through the Great Depression left an indelible mark on my mother’s character and values. As a child Mom witnessed her father lose his job, his savings, and his home due to the calamity. As a consequence, Mom became a much stronger and more resourceful person. Times were tough but she was thankful for what she had, and never dwelled on what she didn’t have. Mom was “green” decades before the term was ever coined. As a child she made Christmas ornaments out of gum foil and walnuts. She made artificial flowers by twisting strips of tin cut from cans and then going door-to-door to sell them with her out-of-work father. Later as an adult, Mom made clothes out of paper patterns and canned peppers and tomatoes in the basement. Ziploc bags were washed and re-used while plastic shower caps often served as bowl lids. Every bottle of shampoo was rinsed to make sure every last drop could be used. Saving was a virtue – from saving buttons, scraps of paper, rubber bands to plastic containers. When she started grade school, Mom spoke a mixture of Czech and Slovak - a blend of her father’s western Slovakian language and her mother’s eastern Slovak dialect. When called upon to speak in kindergarten Mom often stuttered, causing her to be self-conscious, which in turn caused her to stutter even more. To help Mom succeed, her parents agreed that going forward, English would be the primary spoken language in the Orgon house. From that Moment on, Mom thrived in the classroom as well as the athletic field. Mom was a member of the Sokols track and field club which competed at numerous events throughout the country. Don’t let her walker fool you, in her day, she was quite the sprinter, long jumper and softball thrower. At age 17 during World War II, Mom became part of a vanguard of young women entering the workforce for the very first time - breaking long held gender barriers and stereotypes in the process. Later in 1949, Mom married Andrew Kunas, a young Slovak man she met on the bus on her way home from working at U.S. Steel. The couple subsequently bought a new home in Glen Park near the Village Shopping center. Two years later, Mom first became pregnant and was forced to leave her job. In those days, mill policy required pregnant women to leave the workforce within the 1st trimester. Sadly however, in her ninth month of pregnancy, Mom lost her unborn infant when the car she was riding in was broadsided on Thanksgiving Day. Spinal vertebrae injuries suffered from the auto accident impacted Mom’s health for the remainder of her life. Adding to her sorrow, a couple of years later Geralyn’s twin infant sister died prior to birth as a result of an ectopic pregnancy. Mom was a life-long learner and believed education was the key to greater opportunity and bettering one’s life. In 1959, she used a belated wedding gift of $100 from her parents to attend classes at the local I.U. Northwest campus. Eight years later, Mom became the first female in the family to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees. She became a teacher in the Lake Ridge School system - and subsequently the family’s primary bread earner when Dad lost his vocal chords due to esophageal cancer. Before macular degeneration took its’ toll, mom was an avid reader. She enjoyed reading everything – magazines, newspapers, fiction, and non-fiction. Mom never failed to watch the nightly news in order to keep up with current events. Mom also felt that travel was an important component to learning and becoming a well-rounded person. She traveled to Europe multiple times… and generously treated her children and grandchildren to various trips and cruises. Mom’s primary focus in life centered around her family. She took care of our home and everyone in it including her husband, four children and a dog or two. Each day on the way home from school she always made sure to check in on her mother. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much”. Mom felt the same. Mom believed it was not what you do for your children, but what you teach them to do for themselves that was most important. Both mom and dad promoted personal responsibility, believing self-reliance was the greatest gift parents could give their children. Mom was “old school”. There was little room for tantrums or bad manners. She made sure all of her children towed the line. Contributing to the household was important. Everyone had assigned chores to do no matter your age. Mom pushed her children to be well-grounded. to extend themselves to others, and encouraged them to live within their means. Mom found purpose and meaning in all of her relationships--- including the family she was born into… the family she created … and the many families she made through the people she chose as friends. Even as her mobility declined, Mom continued to entertain friends, play bunko, go out to lunch with her Emerson schoolmates, Lake Ridge teachers, and bridge club friends. I am so thankful for all of these ladies who have been so kind to my mother over the years. I may not have yet met all of you here today, but I can assure you, I KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU and your families via my daily phone calls with my mom. Mom was good natured and laughed easily… even when the joke was on her. But I suspect the main reason her relationships thrived for decades was that Mom was a superb listener. As the primary peace maker in the family, she used her fair and balanced skillsets many times to lower the stress level within our household. Faith was very important to Mom ever since she attended Holy Trinity Grade School as a youngster. When I cleared out the house, I must have come across a dozen or more rosaries of which she would recite daily - along with her Alexa device. For years Mom was a member of the Saints Peter and Paul Rosary Sodality Society sewing circle. And if you were lucky, you might have been the recipient of one of her knitted dish clothes. Another of Mom’s interests was genealogy and she spent many years researching, collecting and sharing family tree information and history. Mom was proud of her Slovak heritage and traditions. She served as an officer of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, or Jednota. Over 100 years after her father John immigrated to America, mom’s family continues to celebrate Christmas with traditional ethnic foods including the Oplatki blessing, and the singing of Slovak Christmas carols. You could always count on receiving a holiday or birthday cards from Mom each year. Mom’s signature gift, a crisp two-dollar bill was usually enclosed. Often Mom would include a home town news clip, or a scribbled note on a yellow Post-It, just to let you know she was thinking of you. You never fully realize how much your mother loved you until you explore her closets or clean out her basement...and find every postcard or letter that you ever wrote to her, every paper lace Mother's Day card, every sports program, faded news clip, or collection of report cards since the first grade. Over the years, arthritis, congestive heart failure, and leukemia took their toll on Mom. But it was the loss of her eyesight that weighed on her most during her final years. Despite these challenges, Mom never lost her positive attitude. She refused to become defined or debilitated by her situation. Mom continued to live independently with the assistance from Andrea, Diana, and her sister Emma. In the end, mom died much like she lived, – calmly and with dignity, with no drama, and no apparent fear. Even in death, Mom continues to pay it forward. Future generations of women will reap the rewards of Mom’s 30-year participation in the largest and longest running Women’s Health Initiative study ever conducted by the National Institute of Health. Gratitude begins with the realization of what we have received from others… and what it cost them. It deepens our appreciation for what we have and the people who helped us through life’s challenges toward becoming a better and more resilient person. Thank you Mom - for the multitude of selfless sacrifices you made on my behalf. Thank you for watching over me and caring for me. Thank you for being a good teacher… for your wisdom and clarity of thought. Thank you for giving me the confidence to achieve, to be productive, and to contribute. Thank you for being proud of me and for being my biggest fan. Thank you for your strong sense of family, your strength, perseverance, character, and the core beliefs which you have tried to instill in your children and grandchildren. Thank you for sharing your stories and unforgettable lessons. Thank you for worrying about me and praying for me. I wish there was a way I could repay you for all of the things you have done for me. But there is nothing great enough in this world, to repay the greatest Mom of all.
The Rada Family left a message on June 4, 2022:
The Rada family sends their condolences to the Kunas family. Your Mom and Dad were truly special people who will be missed dearly. We are so sorry for your loss.
Theresa Devitt left a message on June 3, 2022:
Our deepest condolences, Millie was such a good friend, I will miss our daily conversations. Rest in peace Mil Tre
Georgeanne Limbach left a message on June 3, 2022:
I was fortunate to meet Millie at her granddaughter Grace's bridal shower. How I wish I had known her longer! She had a wonderful smile and hearty laugh and immediately made me feel welcome. Her son Richard and his wife Sharon are dear friends and spoke of her lovingly and often. I felt that we were kindred spirits and my brief time in her company will be a treasured memory. Sending condolences and love to her family.
Peace of mind is a call away. We’re here when you need us most.
Rich Spurr left a message on June 3, 2022:
In memory of Catherine "Millie" Kunas, Rich Spurr lit a candle
Amisha and hinesh left a message on June 3, 2022:
In memory of Catherine "Millie" Kunas, Amisha and hinesh lit a candle
Michele Kaminski Loupee left a message on June 1, 2022:
In memory of Catherine "Millie" Kunas, Michele Kaminski Loupee lit a candle
Anne DE SALVO left a message on June 1, 2022:
My family had the good fortune to know Millie for many years. We met Millie when we became friends with her son Richard and his wife Sharon. Over the years we were included in several family vacations and got to spend such enjoyable moments with Millie. Those times were so special to us and even though we were not family, Millie made us feel so welcomed and loved. She was generous with her time and her kindness. We will miss Millie greatly and send our deepest condolences to her family.
Judy Murphy left a message on May 31, 2022:
I met Millie at IU Northwest. We shared several classes and became friends. She told me her husband said she could go to school as long as nothing changed about their life. So sometimes we would go to her house in Glen Park during a break and she would wash the kitchen floor while I would quiz her before a test or she would get dinner started. We lost touch over the years. Always enjoyed her.
Diane Mann left a message on May 31, 2022:
I was honored to meet Millie last fall when I was a guest at her granddaughter Grace's wedding shower. True to her reputation, Millie was warm, welcoming, cheerful and a delightful conversationalist. I had not met the extended Kunas family before, and Millie made me feel most welcome amid the large gathering of friends and family. I had to leave early to catch a flight, and Millie was thoughtful to send me home with a batch of her lovely homemade baked goods. I treasured her kind and generous gift, and the opportunity to have known her, if only briefly. Millie was a remarkable and accomplished person whose grace touched many people, including me, over her long life. I am holding the Kunas family in my heart, and sending prayers for peace and comfort at this time of great loss.
Dharti Patel left a message on May 29, 2022:
Ms. Catherine was so sweet and just one meet with her was so memorable. Wishing the family peace, comfort, courage, and lots of love at this time of sorrow.
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Dharti Patel left a message on May 29, 2022:
Ms. Catherine was so sweet and just one meet with her was so memorable. Wishing the family peace, comfort, courage, and lots of love at this time of sorrow.
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Rick Parker left a message on May 29, 2022:
I taught with Millie at Lake Ridge. What a wonderful woman and friend. Sad to hear of her passing.
Dan and Sherry Dorulla, Rockford MI. left a message on May 29, 2022:
Please accept our condolences on your loss. So many great memories of this amazing hard working family. The Dorulla’s Rockford MI
Sharon Kelley left a message on May 29, 2022:
In memory of Catherine M. Kunas, Sharon Kelley lit a candle
Geisen Funeral Home left a message:
Please accept our deepest condolences for your family's loss.
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