Ellen J. Frantzen (nee Butkovich), 69, of LaGrange and formerly of Brookfield, died July 5, 2014.
Ms. Frantzen was a longtime resident of Brookfield who ended up taking ownership of the family’s tavern on 47th Street, which
was built in 1939 by George Butkovich, who was the father of Ms. Frantzen’s uncle, Michael, who ran the bar until he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II.
Michael Butkovich, a medic, was killed in action, and the bar was taken over by Ms. Frantzen’s father, Joe, who renamed it Joe’s Saloon and worked there until the age of 88. He died in 2002 while working behind the bar.
“He went the way he wanted to go,” Ms. Frantzen told the Landmark in 2009.
Ms. Frantzen, grew up in the second-floor apartment above the tavern, and worked there from the time she was a child.
“It was fun growing up here,” she said. “We were pretty much night owls, especially on the weekends. Customers were like family.”
But as she grew up, her father didn’t encourage her to stay in the business. In fact, he didn’t think his daughter should work in a bar.
“I couldn’t serve a beer for him,” Frantzen said. “My dad always felt women should be home with their husbands and kids.”
But after her father’s death in 2002, Frantzen bought the tavern from her father’s estate and restored the roadhouse to its original glory, stripping the wood paneling and walnut bar.
Ms. Frantzen was the wife of Ted Frantzen; the mother of Ginger, Kathy and Ed (Amanda) Frantzen; the grandmother of Terrance, Maxwell, Emily and Zander; and the sister of Ruth (Dennis) Harast.
Services have been held. Interment was private.
Memorial donations are appreciated to the American Cancer Society.
Hallowell and James Funeral Home, Countryside, handled arrangements