Posted on Friday, 16th June 2017 | Seattle
Eileen Dolores Heeren Kranz, 96, formerly of Kankakee, IL passed away on Friday, June 10th, 2017 from complications following a stroke. She was a resident at Riderwood, an independent living retirement community in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she moved in 2001 after the death of her husband of 58 years, William W. “Bill” Kranz.
Eileen was born in Gillespie, Illinois on May 28, 1921 to Harry and Margaret Schmidt Heeren. The family moved to Chicago when she was in grammar school. She graduated from Austin High School in 1938 and worked as a comptometrist (bookkeeper) at Western Electric in Chicago, a predecessor of AT&T. She married William Kranz in 1942 when he was serving in the Army Air Force in the Pacific theater during World War II. They moved to Kankakee in 1953, and ran their own business, Kranz Electric, until 1980. They were longtime members of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and the Kankakee Country Club. They moved to Ashton, Maryland in 1993 to be close to family.
Eileen’s independent spirit, can-do attitude and warm heart inspired family and friends throughout her life. When her neighborhood high school did not offer college prep courses, she went on her own to the alderman’s office asking for permission to transfer to Austin, which he granted. She convinced her husband’s younger brother not to quit high school, which he later described as a life-altering decision. She was like a second mother to many nieces, nephews and friends of her children. In later years, she was a surrogate grandmother to dozens of children of friends and extended family in Illinois and Washington, D.C. She never forgot anyone’s birthday, sending cards that always included a check in her distinctive handwriting. She lived a full and active life to the end, and was lucky to celebrate this Mother’s Day with her month-old great-granddaughter.
She is survived by her brother, Vernon Heeren of Barrington, Illinois; her daughters Pamela Kranz LaGrassa of Royal Oak, Michigan, Christine Kranz Smith of Washington, D.C. and Patricia Kranz of Bronx, N.Y.; sons-in-law Stephen LaGrassa, Jim Smith and Shaun English; grandchildren Joe LaGrassa, Nick LaGrassa, Annie LaGrassa, Danny Smith, Molly Smith Molloy (Matt Molloy), Shaun English and Kaley English; and great-granddaughter Margaret Eileen Molloy.
A funeral mass will be celebrated for Eileen at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Washington D.C. at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14th . Burial will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, in Silver Spring, MD. A luncheon to celebrate Eileen’s life will be held at Columbia Country Club, Chevy Chase, MD following the burial.