Ridge Funeral Home


Rita Ann Milcarek

March 16, 1941January 17, 2021

Rita Ann Milcarek MARCH 16, 1941 – JANUARY 17, 2021 Rita A. Milcarek passed away on January 17, 2021. Ms. Milcarek was an accomplished law professional and benefactor of many causes. Her passions were helping others, animal welfare, the city of Chicago and her nephews and great-nephews. Ms. Milcarek served with distinction as a paralegal at two large Chicago law firms: Lord, Bissel and Brook and McDermott, Will and Emery. During that time, she served as Secretary of the IL Paralegal Association and the Chicago Legal Aid Foundation. She helped countless families navigate the legal system and improve their quality of life. Ms. Milcarek was a devout Catholic, becoming the Secretary of Catholic Women at the Our Lady of Snow Church. There she continued working to help others, especially underprivileged children in families in the Brighton Park/Midway area. Ms. Milcarek was a staunch supporter of Brookfield Zoo. She volunteered there in various capacities, and was a beloved member of the Zoo community. Her love of animals extended to the many cats she housed over the years. Her dedication to her nephews was consistent and unflinching. She assisted them as children and adolescents as well as early in their adulthood. That love has extended to her great-nephews, whose educations she has helped finance for over 25 years. Ms. Milcarek was a graduate from DePaul University for both her undergraduate and graduate studies. She also was a proud Alumnus of Daley College in Chicago. Her love for the Blue Demons basketball team and Chicago professional sports teams were legendary. One of her highlights was attending Games 1 and 2 of the Chicago White Sox World Series victories in 2005 with her nephews. Ms. Milcarek is survived by her twin sister Jeanne Lamping, niece-in-laws Jean and Kimberly Monocchio, nephews Joseph, Richard and Ronald Monocchio, and great-nephews Mitchell, Anthony, Dominic, Nicholas, Scott, Jacob, and Nathaniel Monocchio.

All who knew and loved Ms. Milcarek, as well as those who desire to pay their respects, are invited to do so and join the family at Ridge Funeral Home, (Edward A. Tylka, Manager) 6620 W Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60638 from 2:00 – 7:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please donate to an animal shelter of your choice commemorating Ms. Milcarek’s love of animals.

Ridge Funeral Home will adhere to current COVID restrictions in the state of Illinois, which allows 25 or fewer guests at a time. Proper social distancing must be practiced and all guests will be required to wear face masks at all times. No food will be allowed at the funeral home. Thank you for your understanding. For info: Please call 773-586-7900 or


  • Memorial Visitation

    Friday, January 29, 2021


Rita Ann Milcarek

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Mark Freedlund

January 31, 2021

Rita was a dedicated volunteer and friend at the Hamill Family Play Zoo! She was always reliable and made sure to be there for her volunteer shift. She wanted to share her love of animals with the families and children that visited the zoo. No matter the species, Rita loved the animal and wanted kids to see it up close. She would go point by point over what was remarkable about the animal she was holding, and children would spend over 30 minutes sitting with her! Rita also had a way of focusing her attention on each individual she met. It made each child that talked with her feel so important that Rita truly listened to them. I remember many discussions with Rita and count myself lucky to have learned from such a great teacher! She loved her church, family, sports teams, and all her friends -animals included!

Susan Kozicki

January 28, 2021

As a long time parishioner of Our Lady of the Snows I had the pleasure to get to know and spend time with Rita in many capacities.
She was kind and loving. She was so very intelligent although humble always. She was faithful and gave her all to her roles in the parish community and brought others along with her, on the various initiatives to help pets as well as other charitable causes. Her love was contagious.
I will miss her deeply and keep her in my prayers always.
May she be at peace, enjoying her rest and eternal reward.
With love, Susan

Ruth Petkewicz

January 28, 2021

If it weren't for Rita's cats, Francie and Pawlie, I would never have known her. She always brought them to The Cat Practice where I work as a receptionist. Through the years, I got to know and love Rita as one of the few people that I can honestly say was an absolutely lovely person. You would have to try very hard NOT to like her and I never met anyone that didn't love her. It was a pleasure to know Rita and I will always miss talking with and seeing that feisty little lady.

Ethel Kikoler

January 25, 2021

I met Rita in 2006 as a volunteer at the Children’s Zoo at Brookfield Zoo. She loved each animal as though it was her own. We both were sports fans and got along well even though she was a White Sox fan and I was a Cubs fan. She was De Paul and I was Michigan. We respected each one’s team and opinions. We had many discussions about the trials and tribulations as well as the joyous victories of our teams. Rita cared and respected others as well as animals. We continued corresponding by email after she retired from the zoo. She was so proud of her grandnephews. I will miss her.
May your memories help the family through this difficult time.

Donna Prepejchal

January 23, 2021

I met Rita as a volunteer at Hamill Family Play Zoo. She put the welfare of the animals first. I aspired to be like her.

Yvonne Waite

January 19, 2021

Let me tell you about my dear Friend Rita.
How she touched my life and I'm sure many of you have felt the same about this outgoing and loving Lady!
I known Rita for about 20 years.
Helping her with her kitties over the years as a visiting Veterinary Technician.
She was such a kind hearted soul.
Like I, Rita loved Animals!
We became good Friends over the years.
She loved Chicago Sports!
And knew about all the players.
And What a strong and intelligent lady!
Even with some health issues.
She would keep on going on.
She would still do what she wanted to do.
She really liked to get to know people and wanted to hear about their lives.
She always tried to help. Ether with Family or Friends. And ofcourse giving generously to Animal Organizations. She was a volunteer at Brookfield zoo for a while and gave to the children zoo. She was a Graduate of DePaul University. She was so proud of that!
She always encourage the young to go to college. Knowledge is the key to a better way of life! She had a lot of Friends and made her mark on this world.
Rita, I wish you safe traveling on your new journey. Pawlie and I will miss you very much!
We where blessed to have known you in our lives! Until we meet again on the other side.
We will always remember you!
Pawlie🐈🐾 and I 👱‍♀️ send our Love!💓🔔🕯✨💐 Your Cat Auntie and Dear Friend
Yvonne Waite CVT.RVT.

Donna Broz

January 19, 2021

I met Rita through her volunteering at Brookfield Zoo/Hamill Family Play Zoo. She was so devoted to the animals there, delighting in introducing them to visitors. She regaled all the staff with stories about her cats Francie and Paulie. She was also a diehard sports fan: the White Sox, Blackhawks and her beloved DePaul Blue Demons. I will treasure time spent with her forever.

Deborah Doucet

January 18, 2021

I met Rita when I was a Vet tech at a all feline practice. Prob 1987. She was a cute red haired woman who loved her cats and LOVED to talk and tell stories. She would say Hon all the time. I loved when she would come in.
She was one of my first clients I cat sat for. She didn't go away much but when she did she was a nervous wreck about her fur babies. She would leave pages of notes and had cabinets labeled etc.
I was with her through many passings of her dear cats.
She adopted a beautiful white cat that I found abanded in a carrier. Loved her with all her heart.
I know she is up there with all her purring cats greating her and begging for tuna.
Love you Rita, Debbie