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Mary Katherine Pontikes

October 27, 1965 December 17, 2019
Mary Katherine Pontikes
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Obituary for Mary Katherine Pontikes

Mary Katherine Pontikes, age 54, of Lombard, beloved sister of Evelyn Burdick, Sandra Saldaña and the late Steven Pontikes, and proud and loving aunt of Andrew Burdick and Alex and Spencer Saldaña, died peacefully at Rush University Medical Center in the care of her sisters on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 following a courageous battle with cancer and unexpected complications. She was preceded in death by her brother Steven, and her mother and father Merlyn and George Pontikes. During what was a simultaneously short and long illness, Mary taught all of us what faith and grace truly mean. Day after day, she embodied God’s love and strength at home and throughout each hospital stay.

Mary was a gifted creative design artist, accomplished research and pharmaceutical chemist, dedicated literacy tutor, and cherished children’s ministry teacher at Grace Lutheran Church. Blessed with many talents, God’s plans for her included several vocations, first as a scientist after graduating Elmhurst College (BS Chemistry ’86) for companies such as Searle, Pfizer, LyphoMed, and Hospira where she worked on various products and drugs used in everyday life. Her graduate degree from Temple University (MS ’02) in Federal Regulatory Affairs led to her subsequent role with FDA regulatory compliance and quality assurance. Mary exemplified what a life-long learner is and went on to complete her Master of Arts in Teaching at Concordia University Chicago (MA ’05). Her most recent professional calling was as a talented graphic artist and writer serving as the director of creative services at Concordia University Chicago.

An early fan of Downton Abbey, Mary loved all things British, especially Jane Austen. She loved flea markets and antiquing, scouring the booths for vintage ornaments to add to her ever-growing collection of Shiny Brites. Taking in the artistic exhibitions at the Morton Arboretum was a favorite tradition for her. At family gatherings Mary was known as the most thoughtful giver of gifts and a dominating force in competitive board games. No kinder, gentler, giving, selfless soul there was than Mary.

Her passion for teaching was evident during the more than twenty years she served as a Sunday School teacher at Grace Lutheran Church. She always gravitated toward teaching the youngest children — preparing lessons and crafts weeks in advance and introducing each year’s class to a menagerie of stuffed animal characters — God’s creatures that reinforced each week’s lesson. Mary requested that in lieu of flowers, a fund be created to benefit the Sunday School program so that costs associated with this ministry are perpetually funded. Donations may be made to the “Woolly Lamb Fund” by check payable to Grace Lutheran Church and noting “Woolly Lamb” in the memo section.

“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.”
— Jane Austen, Emma


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Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

28

Dec

9:30 AM 12/28/2019 9:30:00 AM - 10:30 AM 12/28/2019 10:30:00 AM
Grace Lutheran Church

7300 Division St.
River Forest, IL 60305

Grace Lutheran Church
7300 Division St. River Forest 60305 IL
United States

Funeral Service

Saturday

28

Dec

10:30 AM 12/28/2019 10:30:00 AM - 11:30 AM 12/28/2019 11:30:00 AM
Grace Lutheran Church

7300 Division St.
River Forest, IL 60305

Grace Lutheran Church
7300 Division St. River Forest 60305 IL
United States

Memorial Contribution

Grace Lutheran Church

7300 Division St.
River Forest, IL 60305
Woolly Lamb Fund
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