Dr. Rute Medenis, 84, Pediatrician
Before her death, Thursday, June 15, 2006 at the age of 84, Riverside resident Dr. Rute Medenis was still practicing pediatrics by conducting research on pediatric HIV programs, educating medical students and consulting for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Because of her abundant energy, her family referred to her as the bunny who never quits but just keeps on going.
Dr. Medenis was born in Riga, Latvia on Nov. 29, 1921. In 1941, she began her medical studies at the University of Riga. After World War II, she fled to Germany, with the goal of reaching the American-occupied zone. Through her work assisting other refugees, Dr. Medenis was awarded a scholarship by the British government to study medicine at the Medical Academy in Dusseldorf, Germany, where she graduated in 1948.
She then worked in refugee centers for two years. After her marriage to Vidvuds Medenis, M.D., she immigrated to the United States in 1950.
Her first two years in the United States were spent working in a candy factory. In 1959, Dr. Medenis completed her pediatric residency at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, before beginning her career at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at the university, she established the Genetic Laboratory for Chromosomal Analysis and she published many articles on genetic and metabolic disorders in children.
During her more than 35 years at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Dr. Medenis served as the head of the outpatient pediatric clinic. She trained hundreds of medical students and medical residents. She was honored with the establishment of the Rute Medenis Award for Excellence in Pediatrics, which is awarded annually to one UIC medical scholar.
Although her life’s work was pediatric medicine, Dr. Medenis advocated living a well-rounded life, with appreciation for history, literature and the arts. She frequently lectured her students on developing interests far beyond medicine. An avid opera fan, Dr. Medenis held season tickets for the Lyric Opera for many years up until her death. She greatly enjoyed exposing her grandchildren to opera, ballet and, especially, literature. Every holiday or birthday gift included a book.
Survivors include her former husband, Vidvuds Medenis, M.D.; her daughter, Ismene Munch Hearlston; her sons, John (Joanne) Medenis and Peter Medenis; and her five grandchildren, Kathryn, Larissa and Michelle Medenis, and Alex and Evan Munch. She was preceded in death by her sister, Mirdza Nedzveckis, and grandson, Derrick Munch.
A funeral service was held June 20 at Kuratko Funeral Home, North Riverside. Memorial contributions were appreciated to the Illinois Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 150 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 400, Chicago, Ill. 60601. The organization’s Web site can be found at www.cff.org.
Rex W. Eineman, 71, Purchasing manager
Rex W. Eineman, a resident of Brookfield for 29 years, died June 2, 2006 at his home. He was 71.
Mr. Eineman was born in Athens, Ohio on Jan. 31, 1935 to Otto and Helen (nee Lamborn) Eineman. He spent 10 years in the United States Air Force and was later employed as a purchasing manager for companies in the California and the Midwest. He spent many years with Superior Bank at their corporate office and three years with HSA-Home Security Administration in Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.
Mr. Eineman is survived by his wife, H. Jeane Eineman (nee Behne) of Brookfield; his daughter, Carol; and his grandchildren, Matthew and Rachael. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his grandchild, Louisa.
Funeral services were private, followed by interment at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill.
Hitzeman Funeral Home, Brookfield, handled arrangements.
Gene A. Sowinski, 80, Retired industrial salesman
Gene A. Sowinski, 80, a 25-year resident of Riverside and former 40-year Berwyn resident, died June 13, 2006.
Mr. Sowinski was born March 28, 1926 in Chicago. A veteran of World War II, he enjoyed a long career in industrial sales prior to his retirement. He was also a tireless coach and teacher to many youths in baseball and basketball, which provided him great joy and fulfillment.
He is survived by his wife, Josephine Sowinski (nee Gormley); his children, Patricia (Gregory ) Fix, Margaret “Mag” Sowinski and John Sowinski; his grandchildren, Alexandrea, Matthew and Emily; his sister Phyllis Sowinski; and his sisters-in-law Catherine McNamara and Theresa Gormley. He was preceded in death by his sister, Evelyn Ellis.
Interment was at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside. Memorial contributions were appreciated to the Misericordia Home North, 6300 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60660.
Conboy-Westchester Funeral Home handled arrangements.