Lois Kransz 1925-2011

Vol. XXII No. 1 - SPRING 2011

By: Gloria Evenson

The last surviving member of the Kransz family who lived in Edgewater has died. Lois Mary Kransz passed away February 13, 2011, after suffering a stroke shortly before Christmas. Lois was well-known as a descendant of Edgewater’s first permanent settler, Nicholas Kransz, who built a farmhouse at Clark and Ridge in the 1840s and later developed much of the surrounding land. She was also granddaughter to Peter Kransz, Counsel General to Luxemborg.

Lois, however, was an interesting person in herself. She was born to Alois and Agnes Kransz on October 4, 1925, and grew up at 5888 N. Ridge, which shared a yard with 5896 N. Ridge, where grandfather Peter built the first brick house in Edgewater. She had one brother, Peter A. Kransz, born 1919, who died in 1979. Her childhood memories include practically living at the 1933 World’s Fair where her flamboyant grandfather had a booth as Counsel General. Lois attended Hayt Elementary and Senn High schools. She later graduated from North Park and Augustana colleges, majoring in history with a music minor. Her family means did not require her to work. Lois, however, served for many years as clerical manager and booking agent for the Apollo Music Club in Chicago, where she sang second alto. According to a fellow chorus member, she really did EVERYTHING, and did it all pro bono.

Lois was well-read, well-traveled and an avid photographer. A member of the adult forum discussion group at Immanuel Lutheran Church, where Lois worshipped since 1959, recalls “She didn’t travel to the usual kind of European places – she had to go to Mongolia or someplace you hardly heard of.” Lois was an active, opinionated participant at Immanuel study groups, and often led them, displaying a jovial, sharp wit on a wealth of topics. She ran a popular camera club at the church and, of course, sang alto in the choir. Lois never married.

She moved to Niles in 1964, but returned to Edgewater circa 2000. An interesting note on that: Lois once recalled a visit to a relative on the 23rd floor of a newly-built Sheridan high rise. Lois had to go home and sit in the basement to stabilize. The 2005 Immanuel Lutheran Church directory, however, lists her at the Malibu Condos, 6007 N. Sheridan Road, Unit 23A! Lois had guts. Lois is survived by many cousins. She will also be remembered and missed by her many friends at Immanuel Lutheran Church, the Apollo Music Club and the Edgewater neighborhood. She is buried in St. Boniface Cemetery.