Dolores Frances Bilek (nee Blucker), 88, died peacefully at home on April 3, 2019 after a challenging journey with heart disease.
She was a longtime resident of North Riverside, moving there with her husband, Ray, in 1963. Her later years were spent at Concord Place Senior Living in Northlake.
Ms. Bilek became well known in North Riverside as the owner of The Polar Bear Ice Cream stand in the 1970’s and early 1980s. Located at the corner of Cermak Road and Forest Avenue in North Riverside, The Polar, as she called it, was a busy and favorite gathering place every summer for local families. She was proud to hire area youth, giving many their first jobs.
The Bilek family and the surrounding neighborhood marked the start of spring and the end of summer with The Polar’s annual openings and closings. She looked forward to seeing her customers on a regular basis, often surprising them with new ice cream creations and menu items. In the winter, she helped her family sell Christmas trees on the property.
Ms. Bilek was a 1948 graduate of Leyden High School. A fan of opera and show tunes, she attended Elmhurst College and the American Conservatory to study voice before she married.
While raising her children, Ms. Bilek worked at Riverside National Bank. She was an avid reader of all genres, a longtime election judge, a skilled cross-stitch artist, and a member of the North Riverside “In Between” social club. She also enjoyed her friendships with her husband’s Western Electric co-workers and their spouses.
Ms. Bilek was the mother of Darice Ann Cronin (Steve), Steven James Bilek (Maryellen) and Bruce Bilek. She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Frances Blucker (nee Stevens); her brother, Carl Blucker; and her husband, Ray.
A funeral services was held April 8 at Ascension Lutheran Church in Riverside, where she was a member for 56 years. Interment was at Fairview Cemetery.
Kuratko-Nosek Funeral Home, North Riverside, handled the arrangements.