On Jan. 2, 2021, Anna Victoria Matthei passed away peacefully at the age of 92 after a long fight with Alzheimer’s. She was the beloved wife of Richard Fred Matthei, who preceded her in death in 1984.
The youngest of seven children, Anna was born in Pennsylvania to Polish immigrant Stanley and Catherine (Novobilski) Gorel. After the death of her mother when Anna was six days old, Stanley married the late Catherine McCabe, and Anna eventually gained five younger half-siblings.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by siblings John Gorel, Stanley “Stash” Gorel Jr, Frank Gorel, Catherine Yusko, Mary Connor, and Millie Griffin. She is survived by siblings Sophie Homa of Connecticut, and Florence Bishop, Loretta Barrese, Joseph Gorel, and Andrew Gorel, all of Pennsylvania.
Anna personified resilience, perseverance, and courage. She overcame challenges with substantial hearing loss from illnesses at an early age and taught herself how to lip read. A creative problem-solver, Anna’s indomitable spirit kept her moving forward.
At 23, Anna moved to Chicago with virtually nothing to take a job in a lamp factory. She then met Richard on a blind date, and they married in May 1952. In June 1953, she gave birth to her only child, daughter Ann Marie.
Anna lived a full life as a devoted mother and grandmother who loved to cook, crochet, and garden. She also enjoyed watching old Western movies and loudly cheering (or booing) the Chicago Cubs.
After her initial Alzheimer’s diagnosis eight years ago, Ann Marie became her primary caregiver, with support from husband, Robert, longtime family doctor Dr. Kim Albright, and JourneyCare.
Anna’s heart gleamed with love for God, her family, and animals. Her strong will and sense of humor lives on through Ann Marie and Robert Davis, as well as grandchildren Andriana Davis and Aaron Davis.
Anna will be remembered for her fierce strength and love for her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
Her family is comforted that Anna knows who she is again and is finally reunited with Richard in heaven. Services and interment will be held privately with immediate family.
“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 5.8
For more information, contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-338 -1710 or visit slmcfh.com.