Maureen Cunningham Naprstek, born March 18, 1929, died peacefully, surrounded by children and grandchildren, on March 14, 2023 in Eagle, Idaho.
Raised in Ascension Parish, Oak Park, Illinois, Maureen won a full-tuition piano scholarship to the Ursuline Academy, a boarding school in Springfield, IL. Due to homesickness, she returned to Oak Park mid-year and graduated from Providence High School in Chicago, where she loved the ethnic mix of new girlfriends. She then studied two years toward a degree in Spanish at Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, IL.
On 4/17/1950, Maureen married Frank Nichols Naprstek, a fellow Oak Parker and visual artist, who preceded her in death 25 years ago. They had five children: Nancy Nichols, Caroline (David) Evans, Joseph Naprstek (deceased), Ginny Cunningham, and Neil (Angela) James. Thirteen grandchildren ensued: Jefferson, Dana & Casey; Jason (deceased), Zachary, Luke, Amy (deceased), Ben, & Amanda; Corey, William “Kelly”; Keira; and Elitza. Great-Grandma Maureen loved to hold each of her 17 great-grandbabies and to pet her Idaho granddogs: Ty, Chief and Yetti.
Gardening was Maureen’s lifelong avocation. Ginny fondly remembers our mom pulling her in the wagon, surrounded by gardening supplies, walking a mile to each grandparent’s home to flower-power their yards, too. When Nancy began piano lessons, taught by Maureen’s Ascension teacher, Mother Columba, our grandpa bought us a used upright piano. From then on, our home was filled with Mom playing her favorite classical and popular pieces. Caroline and Ginny also caught the piano bug and continued to play into adulthood. Maureen kept her relationship with Mother Columba, treating her to ice cream at the best local parlor. Unlike parish priests, the nuns shared one old station-wagon and were not allowed inside eating establishments at that time. Mom did her cheery best to perk up her cherished teacher with ice cream in the car.
As children, we saw many examples of our mother’s kindness to others. A very elderly man, living on Chicago’s skid row, walked our suburban neighborhood selling aprons door to door. Mom always invited him in, asked him about himself and made him a cup of tea. A sandwich or slice of her home-made coffee cake or pie went with it. We often visited our Great-Great Aunt Irene and her pet canary Mitch, bringing her lunch and hugs.
Our brother Joe lived his life with Mom, reciprocating her dedication to his toddler needs for leg casts, followed by high-topped shoes connected by a curved bar between them, thereafter learning to walk again. Baby brother Neil surprised us all when Mom was 38. He was a wheel rider and wheeler/dealer from an early age, who later loved sitting Mom in his speed boat, bouncing over Lake Michigan waves, and who followed Dad’s early training as a small plane pilot.
Fifteen years ago, Maureen and Joe moved from Geneva, IL to Eagle ID, settling near to Caroline, Ginny, and Neil. Mom loved her new home and neighbors. When Joe died, grandson Corey moved in and brightened Grandma’s spirit immensely. They continued to enjoy worship and friends at Legacy Life Church in Meridian. Four days shy of her 94th birthday, we salute our mom, Maureen, and our father Frank, whose remains will be buried with her now. We will keep them in our hearts, always.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am, on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at Bowman Funeral Parlor, 10254 W. Carlton Bay Dr. in Garden City with visitation beginning at 10:00 am. A private family committal will take place at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
To watch the funeral service, please visit: https://vimeo.com/817984068?share=copy
Arrangements are under the direction of Bowman Funeral Parlor of Garden City.
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Debby Burns saysMarch 26, 2023 at 4:16 pm
To all of my cousins and their families, I am deeply sorry for the loss of your mother, who I loved calling Aunt Maureen. The earth has lost a gentle, loving, kind, positive, devoted wife to your father, mother to you, and grandmother/great grandmother to your children. Heaven has gained a faithful servant and child of God. You are fortunate to have had her in your lives for so many years. I will always treasure my memories of her, all good, especially those made in her house in Oak Park. I appreciated her sweetness and her caring ways, her lightheartedness, and strength. I will miss my Aunt Maureen. Sending love and hugs, Debby Burns
Lora J Poucher saysMarch 28, 2023 at 4:09 pm
Maureen was well-loved and respected at New Life/Sanctuary Church in Batavia and was sorely missed when she and Joe relocated to Idaho. My husband and Frank liked to talk trains. Bible study leader, encourager, and prayer warrior describe her life and lifestyle. To know she is with Jesus is great joy; those left on this earth will miss her so much because of who and Whose she was. Heaven is richer with her graduation. Lora Poucher
Carmen R Bruce saysMarch 28, 2023 at 8:24 pm
Maureen was very special to me. I moved to Batavia 21 years ago and she was one of the first people that I met at Sanctuary Church. When I lost my Mom, Maureen sort of helped fill that space by always remembering my birthday by inviting me and my grandson (4 or 5 years old) over for lunch .I have missed her since she and Joe moved to Idaho but I loved her. She had a sweet spirit and a love for the LORD that she shared with everyone she met. I’m happy that she is with our LORD. Those of us left here on earth will miss her very much because of who she was and Whose she was as Lora said. My prayers are with you and your family and everyone that knew her Carmen Bruce
Kathy Joyce saysApril 13, 2023 at 9:29 am
Nancy and Ginny,
I know that you will miss your mom, but I also know that she had expressed her desire to depart from us mortals on earth. She was ready! How nice to hear that a person can arrive at that point after a very long life.
Ginny I applaud all of your’s and Cory”s caretaking. What a service!
Forevermore Nancy, your mom will be enjoying your gardening which she passed on to you.
What wonderful memories you have ………. Love you. Kathy
Chris Scott saysApril 20, 2023 at 5:58 am
As I sit here in front of 1612 Jay Ln. St. Charles Illinois I have fond memories of Maureen and the Naprstek family. I know that Maureen and my mom, Patsy Scott are partying in heaven at the right hand of the Father. I remember toasted cheeses in the Naperstek kitchen. I remember watching Baretta in the basement with Neil and Joe and Joe always having a stash of pop and chips. I remember Neil blowing off firecrackers in the basement (but we don’t talk about that) haha. Neil remember riding to Downers Grove to church, we called our moms “carismaniacs”. I remember Maureen and my mom going to the Kane County Jail and witnessing to the inmates on a regular basis. What I remember most is their unweilding faith. I, to this day, have never met two people that believed more! That’s what I’ll miss most about your mom, grandmother and great grandmother. God Bless, Chris