Cecilia Evelyn Trisilla (nee Gutowski) went home to be with her loving God and her beloved husband Joe on Sunday, October 13, 2019. Evelyn was 97 years old.
Evelyn was born April 2, 1922, in Chicago to Walter and Bernice Gutowski and was the 2nd youngest of four children including two brothers, Walter and Chester and one younger sister, Harriet. She was married to Joseph Trisilla for 64 years before his death in 2009. Evelyn is survived by three children, Carol (and Frank) of Batavia, Joseph (and Judy) of Lemont, and Anthony (and Beth) of Galesburg; three grandchildren, Chris (and Kellie) of Batavia, Natalie (and Joel) of Washington, D.C., and Nina (and Hani) of Peoria; and three great grandchildren, Emily, Chloe and Lincoln.
Evelyn met her late husband Joe while they both worked at Admiral in Chicago and they were married at St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church in Chicago, May 19, 1945. Evelyn was a devout Catholic her entire life and served the church in many ways including cooking meals for priests and serving in the Altar Guild and Rosary Society at Corpus Christi Church in Galesburg. She was a highly accomplished homemaker who loved gardening, interior decorating, crafting, and cooking traditional Polish meals for her family. She was described by her granddaughter Nina as the perfect combination of Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, and Joanna Gaines. She inspired creativity, upheld traditions, instilled confidence, encouraged us to explore our unique talents, and loved us all unconditionally. She passed on her love (and skills) of cooking to her granddaughter Natalie, and through her patient and loving teaching has enabled Natalie to continue the many culinary and holiday traditions that bind us together as family.
Visitation will be 9 to 10 a.m., Tuesday October 22, 2019 at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral Directors and Cremation Services Galesburg Chapel with a funeral mass at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Galesburg at 10:30 a.m. the same day with burial at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Galesburg immediately following the service.
Instead of flowers, we ask for memorial donations to be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Evelyn’s name (www.stjude.org/ways). Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com.
The world is a sadder place today because she is gone, but Evelyn was one of the last true family matriarchs. She gave so much to each one of us that we can never repay to her, but can hopefully pay forward to the rest of the world as her legacy. We love you Evelyn, “unconditionally” and forever. Rest in Peace and well done, good and faithful servant.
In Our Own Words. A Tribute to Our Beloved Grandmother. By Chris, Natalie and Nina
Confidence, Poise and Pride. A Grandmother’s Gift to Her Sunshine Girl.
By Nina Wadi (Nee Trisilla)
Although I'm sad she is gone from this earthly home I am trying to remind myself that she is in her eternal home with Grandpa, free from pain, suffering and loneliness. And I'm recalling just how blessed I am to have had her by my side for my entire childhood and well into my adult years. There is no doubt in my mind her presence and influence shaped who I am in so many ways.
When I think about Grandma, I see her as a combination of Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart and Joanna Gaines. She was a woman of many talents; an excellent chef, an innovative interior designer, a talented seamstress and extraordinary gardener. Something I always looked forward to was creating my halloween costume with Grandma T. We would start planning in August and nothing was too hard for her expertise skills, the sky was the limit! She engaged my creativity and opened my eyes to all forms of The Arts. I can still hear her singing along to Frank Sintra's catchy melodies as they filled the hallways of her house. As I grew older, I enjoyed decorating my apartments and home and often channeled her ingenuity and gathered inspiration from her home. She was the master of celebrating holidays, no holiday was too small or insignificant to be celebrated. She had a way of making things so magical, and the detail and thoughtfulness she put into to these celebration created such a memorable atmosphere for our family to enjoy and cherish. Grandma Trisilla also reminded me not to compare myself to others but to lean into and nurture the unique talents and gifts I was given. Grandma T encouraged me to explore my creativity and cheered me on when projects turned out beautifully and we laughed together when they didn't. This was extremely foundational in forming my confidence and poise as a young woman. Her love and appreciation for her Polish heritage and hearing of her own parents journey to achieve the "American Dream" gave me a sense of deep pride for my ancestry while also instilling a patriotism for my American roots.
Although the days ahead without her physically here on this earth seem to be dreary days I will do my best to continue to be her "sunshine girl" and smile when the sun peeks through the clouds and think fondly of her.
Love you more Grammie, Your Sunshine Girl
Family, Faith and Traditions. Life Lessons from Grandma that Shaped Me into Who I Am.
By Natalie Trisilla
It’s hard to select a few favorite memories of Grandma Trisilla because there are so many happy and meaningful ones. She shaped so much about who I am and what I value--family, faith, and the satisfaction of knowing I've given my best effort.
She imparted numerous life lessons, not so much the kind taught in school but the kind she learned from decades of life experience. She reminded me to be kind to people, especially strangers, because "you never know what they are dealing with." She taught me that "everything is good in moderation," so much so that my college roommate and I posted a sticky note with that phrase on our snack drawer. Perhaps most importantly, she always encouraged me that I could be whatever and do whatever I wanted in life as long as I set my mind to it, contributing to my self-confidence and empowerment.
Grandma Trisilla bought me my first cookbook, which kick-started my life-long love of cooking, baking, and eating. She would often let me help her in the kitchen with tasks of increasing difficulty as my skill level improved-- first teaching me how to stir without spilling all the contents of the bowl onto the counter and the difference between baking powder and baking soda, then showing me how to slice tomatoes without slicing my fingertips and then how to make Chicago-style hot dogs, pierogis, and her famous lamb-shaped pound cake for Easter.
I always loved listening to Grandma Trisilla tell stories of growing up in Chicago in the 1920s and 30s. Being born and raised in a small town myself, Grandma Trisilla's stories of life in the big city were a window to another, more interesting and exotic world. When I was in college, my Grandma Trisilla and several other of my family members, visited the house she grew up in on Homer Street in Bucktown in Chicago-- a kind of modern day, familial pilgrimage. When we finally arrived at her childhood home, she almost fainted from joy. Listening to her relive childhood memories and re-tell stories, in front of the house where so many of those moments happened, is a memory I will always cherish.
All my love always,
I Love You Unconditionally. How Grandma’s Unconditional Love and Polish Stubbornness Saved My Life
By Chris Tratar
The thing that has always meant the most to me about Grandma is how she always signed her cards to me. Christmas cards, Easter cards, graduation cards, birthday cards; always the same. “I Love You Unconditionally.” When I was young, I usually overlooked it, but as I got older, I understood how powerful those four words really were. No matter how hard, or dark or painful life is, there were always those words and the true feelings behind those words that were and are a beacon, a lighthouse in an ocean of hard times.
She was always there for me. She was the Matriarch of our family. She was the glue that held everything together and wove our lives together through magical holiday celebrations, traditions, and our proud Polish heritage. Like Natalie, I too, will always cherish the memories of our family pilgrimage to Homer street and Lottie’s pub, which used to be her father’s corner store before it was Lottie’s speakeasy and is now an extremely popular neighborhood bar. Hearing that history, hearing about her childhood and how she became who she became is something priceless that I will always hold close. It is something that is part of me now in very deep ways.
Sure we had our great times together. Every summer break I visited her and we always found trouble to get into together, whether it was riding Misty, her St. Bernard, like a horse around the house, or building forts out of blankets and couch cushions or having water fights in the back yard, we always had something to do and it was always fun. We also shared an epic road trip from Chicago to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to pick up my uncle Tony when he was discharged from the Marines. So many good memories from that trip.
One of her favorite memories that we shared was when I was staying with her. I had gotten sick and was very uncomfortable. Of course she helped make things right and after I was feeling better, I told her, “Grandma, you saved my life.” We joked about that day even into the last few months of her life in Nazerethville. That phrase has such a deeper and more profound meaning to me today. Our heritage, our traditions, her “unconditional love” and the world famous Polish stubbornness our entire family shares, (characterized by the “Gutowski Swat”) are the things that are the unshakable core of who I am. They are the roots of my life, that often save my life when things are at their darkness and most painful. Those are the gifts I am eternally grateful for and can never repay. “Grandma, you saved my life!”
I miss you and I love you unconditionally.
To send flowers to Mrs. C. Evelyn (Gutowski) Trisilla's family, please visit our floral section.
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