Saturday, March 2, 2019
11:00 AM EST
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
22430 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn, MI 48124
Gathering from 10:30 AM until mass begins.
Life Story / Obituary
Lynn Gniewek was a loving sister, wife, mother and grandmother. She was a caregiver by nature and people were drawn in by her sense of humor, infectious laugh and positive outlook. Her house was where all of the kids chose to congregate, and she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Lynn had the ability to make everyone feel welcome and special. She was, as her family described her, the best kind of person.
On November 16, 1949, Arthur and Irene Steinert welcomed their first child, Lynn, into their Detroit home. She was later joined by siblings Ilene, Gary, Laura and Greg. The family grew up in the “old neighborhood” of Detroit where it was common for families to live close by, many on the same block. This was definitely the case for Lynn’s family where two sisters and a brother married two brothers and a sister, making for a very interesting family tree!
Lynn’s nurturing personality started at a very young age. Sadly, her mother passed away when Lynn was only seven years old, and she stepped up to help raise her brothers and sisters. Even at the tender age of seven, she was willing to help her family in any way necessary, a trait she carried through her entire life. Eventually, the family went to live with her Aunt Dolores and Uncle Ed and their seven children in a small, three-bedroom house in Allen Park.
Not surprisingly, one of Lynn’s favorite toys as a child was her doll. She lovingly cared for it just as she did her family. Long before most young girls were even thinking about their future and a family, Lynn talked about wanting children and grandchildren of her own one day. As a youngster, Lynn could also be found playing her violin, with her two of her favorite songs being, “My Grandfather’s Clock” and “The Merry Widow Waltz”. Her Uncle Ed gave her a Stradivarius violin which became one of her most treasured possessions.
By the time Lynn was a teenager, her family had moved back to their old Detroit neighborhood. It was nice to be surrounded by family once again, and Lynn spent many hours hanging out with her cousin Kathy. During this time, Lynn volunteered at the local Boys’ Club and worked at several jobs including at Dairy Queen. Her favorite job was working at the Senate Sweetshop near Michigan and Livernois, where she eventually worked her way up to Manager.
For her freshman though junior years, Lynn attended St. Hedwig High School and then moved to Western High School for her senior year, graduating in 1967. Following graduation, Lynn worked as a money counter at the Federal Reserve Bank in Detroit.
While Lynn was working as a bank teller with her sister-in-law Juanita at the National Bank of Detroit, a young man named James Gniewek would come in to cash his paycheck. Each time, he would ask Juanita about Lynn. Finally, Lynn agreed to go out with him, and he treated her to dinner at Machus Red Fox, the same restaurant that Jimmy Hoffa disappeared from just a few days later! As fate would have it, James and Lynn hit it off immediately. Lynn and James, or Jimmy as she always called him, were married on April 22, 1978 at St. Francis di Assisi in Detroit. Despite the snowy weather, their guests did the Grand March through the alley during their reception, clanging pots and pans in true Polish tradition.
Lynn and Jimmy were later blessed with two children, Cheryl and Mike. Lynn loved being a mother even during the trying times. Her children, and later in life, her grandchildren, were the loves of her life. She was the type of mother who wanted to be involved in her children’s activities. One of the things she often said about motherhood was that the knees of her jeans were worn out from playing on the floor with her kids. She didn’t give her kids things to do; she did things with them. Cheryl and Mike were blessed to have their mom home with them while they were young. When they started school, Lynn started working at Oakwood Hospital as a nursing admin and later at the Detroit Free Press office in advertising. The kids benefited from the office supplies Lynn would bring home from the office, and she even helped them set up a classroom where they could play school with neighborhood friends.
Lynn had a knack for getting just the right job at the right time. She was a dedicated and dependable worker who was loved by her employers. In 1991, she began working at United Technologies as an admin where she remained through ownership changes retiring from IAC in 2008 as a Sales Coordinator.
Traveling with her family was one of Lynn’s greatest joys in life. When the children were young, the family would camp every summer at Burt Lake State Park in Northern Michigan. There were also memorable trips to Cedar Point, Sea World, King’s Island, Virginia Beach, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Disney as well as day trips to the lake. Sometimes a simple Sunday drive was the perfect getaway as a family. Their trips to St. Pete’s Beach in Florida touched a special place in Lynn’s heart, as this was where she and Jimmy honeymooned. After the kids were grown, Lynn and Jimmy enjoyed visiting casinos, once even taking a leisurely drive around the state of Michigan, hitting several casinos along the way! They continued to travel as an entire family as well, one time enjoying a Disney cruise with Cheryl and her family, meeting up with Mike and his family at Disney World when they returned. In 2017, they all enjoyed a week at Burt Lake together.
After she met her husband, Cheryl moved to Pittsburgh for several years. Lynn came to enjoy traveling alone, listening to Motown and Oldies during her monthly trips to visit with her daughter, and she was proud of her ability to navigate the complicated streets of the big city.
Faith was an important part of Lynn’s life, and she was a devout Catholic. She found comfort in prayer and loved to pray to the Virgin Mary. Family gatherings were another important part of Lynn’s life and she loved celebrating old traditions during the holidays as well as creating new ones. She was famous for her meatball and pickles and her heritage was very important to her.
Most of Lynn’s family members, as well as some friends, were lucky enough to have had a beautifully decorated cake made for them for special occasions.
Lynn loved being a mother, but there was nothing better than being a grandmother. She adored her “babies”; and her only regret was that she didn’t have as many years with them as she would have wanted. She treasured her time with them whether it was just snuggling at home, taking day trips to the zoo or going on a vacation. She found a way to create a special bond with each of her grandchildren. Her favorite hobby was anything that included her beloved grandsons.
Throughout her illness, Lynn never complained nor felt sorry for herself. She never wanted to stop fighting, choosing instead to take her diagnosis as an opportunity to make every moment count. She spent as much time with her family as possible, and she looked forward each morning to the calls from her kids.
Lynn and Jim happily celebrated their 40th anniversary last year. Their family says their union was the perfect example of what a marriage should be. They were always happy together, through the good times and the bad, and they complemented each other perfectly. What a beautiful legacy to pass down to their children and grandchildren.
Sadly, Lynn passed away on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. She will be remembered for her fierce love for her family, her strength, generosity, kindness and positive outlook on life. Her memory will live on in the hearts of the husband she cherished, her beloved children and the grandchildren she adored, as well as, the many others she touched throughout her life.
Lynn Irene Gniewek, 69, passed away February 19, 2019. Beloved wife of James. Cherished mother of Cheryl (Nick) Schian and Mike (Lindsey). Dearest grandmother of A.J. Schian, Ben Schian, Max Gniewek, Mason Gniewek and the late M.J. Gniewek. Loving sister of Ilene (Bob) Nelson, Gary (Kay) Stienert, Laura (Matt) Hain and Greg (Debbie) Steinert. Adored aunt of numerous nieces and nephews. Memorial visitation Friday 2-8pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 45100 Warren Road, Canton. A memorial Mass will be held on Saturday 11am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 22430 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn.