Carol Lynn Wiklund (nee Zielinski), age 76, of Sun City West, AZ passed peacefully on January 11, 2023 after hospitalization for respiratory failure due to Covid pneumonia.
Carol was born on December 24, 1946 in Chicago, IL. She was the beloved wife of Robert Wiklund, mother to Letitia Hicks (Parker Bennett), and Adam Hicks. “Grammi” to Carter and Reeve Bennett. Sister of Robert Zielinski (the late Gale), Marie Hagman (Carl). Sister-in-law of Karen Thomas (the late Tom) and Lynn Boehne (Tom). Aunt to ten Nephews and Nieces, and Great Aunt to eight. Doggie mom to her sweet Toula. She was preceded in death by her parents Bruno and Helen (Wilczek) Zielinski, mother-in-law Irene Marek, her daughter Lisa Marie Hicks, and her recently departed, beloved spirit sister, Ruth Heim.
Carol spent her early childhood on Fry Street in Chicago’s old Polish neighborhood where she attended grade school at St. John Cantius Parish and helped at her Grandmother Wilczek’s corner delicatessen. When the family moved to Olcott Street in Edison Park, she completed grade school at St. Juliana Parish. She graduated high school from St. Patrick Academy in Des Plaines, IL. Later, Carol completed her Associates Degree while living in Colorado and received a paralegal certification.
In the 70’s, Carol was a leader at The Parents School, a cooperative alternative school her children attended. As a single mom, she worked at the John G. Shedd Aquarium behind the scenes doing photography and creating exhibits. She also played in the vibrant Chicago theatre scene, where she met and married Bob.
They moved to Colorado and bought their first home. She continued working in the photography field and the family enjoyed spending time together camping at their little piece of land in the mountains.
Next they moved to Minnesota, where Carol created and ran workshops for the Home Link Program in St. Paul, helping many first-time buyers become homeowners, especially in the Hmong community. She was there for her brother’s children when their mom passed.
After many years of Minnesota winters, they had another brief stop in Colorado, and then on to Arizona, to create an amazing “Grammi” headquarters for her grandsons and family in Sun City Grand and later in Sun City West.
Carol was president of the Grand Dems, and loved being a part of the Red Hat Society, her book clubs, and the “Lunch Bunch”. She organized the neighborhood watch, was famous for hosting many wonderful parties, and loved her wonderfully devoted neighbors.
Family and friends were everything to Carol. She always put everything ahead of herself for those she loved, through whatever challenges she or anyone faced.
For so many she was the person to call first, the person who believed in you most, and would always be there to welcome you with a warm and loving heart, no matter what.
She had “a Taste” for things… good food, setting a beautiful table for loved ones to gather around, and arranging her home so that visitors would feel welcome there. Wherever she lived, she put her heart into making the world a better place for everyone.
For over 40 years in all of these places, she and Bob were together through ups and downs, thick and thin, his beloved “Gert” leading the way and by his side.
She will be missed.
There will be a Celebration of Life Ceremony and Gathering in Sun City West, Arizona on
Saturday, Feb 25 at 11 am MT. Email email@example.com for further info and to RSVP.
There will be a Celebration of Life Mass in the St. Juliana Parish Chapel at 7200 N. Osceola Ave. in Chicago, IL on Saturday, April 1 at 1 pm CT. A gathering will follow. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further info and to RSVP.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Malea’s Mission, a 501-C-3 non-profit company dedicated to providing administrative and daily money management assistance to seniors, regardless of socio-economic status. It is a cause Carol personally believed in deeply and will ensure her spirit of making the world a better place for everyone lives on!
Donations can be made here: https://link.roserevenue.com/widget/form/npM3FfYy33iObT7zq4hRhttps://maleasmission.org/
Text to 602-755-4970 to indicate it is for Carol.
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