Rita Anne Polek

September 11, 1954 - August 30, 2020

Rita Anne Polek (Yurko), 65, peacefully passed away on Sunday, August 30, 2020, at her home in Batavia, Illinois.

Rita was born on September 11, 1954 to George and Frances Yurko in Chicago, Illinois. The second of eight children, Rita worked diligently at Cupid’s Candies to afford a Catholic High School education. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rockford College (now University), where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the United States. True to the Phi Beta Kappa motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life”, Rita spent a great deal of her adult life furthering her education, seeking knowledge, and deepening her love of learning. In June 1986, while working as a Respiratory Therapist at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Rita met the love of her life, Wayne Polek, when they both responded to a cardiac arrest. The two were married March 28, 1987 in Chicago, Illinois. She went on to earn her Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and later, Masters in Education (M.Ed). Rita taught Creative Writing for her younger two children while they were in middle school at St. Patrick School in St. Charles, Illinois. More recently, Rita worked as a School Psychologist in Cicero District 99 for several years and Indian Prairie District 204 for several months before being diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Rita was an active part of her children’s lives, shuttling them to sports games, Boy and Girl Scout events, and gatherings with friends. She was her daughter’s Girl Scout troop leader from grade school into high school and received the St. Anne medal presented by the organization. She enjoyed spending time with her husband in Galena and travelling internationally. Rita fiercely loved her family, especially her grandchildren, was unassumingly wise, immensely courageous, gracefully spoken, undeniably kind, and had a remarkable talent for hosting family and friends and redecorating her homes. She enjoyed chocolate (M&Ms) and was known to graciously accept a Grey Goose martini, especially when handmade by her husband. Rita had a strong relationship with her Catholic roots and was a devoted and faithful servant of the Lord.

Rita is preceded in death by her parents, George and Frances Yurko, brothers, John and James Yurko, and nephew Ryan Emich.

Rita is survived by her husband, children Scott Elliott, Elizabeth (Cory) Nash, and James Polek; grandchildren, Meghan, Jessica, Emily and Sean Elliott and Colton Nash; siblings Teresa Morowczynski, Richard (Joyce) Yurko, Barbara Emich, Mary (Alan) Dempsey, and Christine (Alan) Brown; and numerous nieces, nephews, friends, and colleagues. She will forever be missed.

Visitation will be held 4:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at Moss Family Funeral Home, 209 South Batavia Ave. Batavia, IL.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated 10:30 A.M. Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 6N491 Crane Road St. Charles, IL 60175.  Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, 37W210 Fabyan Parkway Geneva, IL. 

Due to Covid-19, the family requests that all attendees wear a face covering and maintain social distancing while attending the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Misericordia Heart of Mercy, a home for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Please include Family Reference Number 2522 when making a donation.

Guest Book

  • Paul Meehan Our sincerest sympathies and condolences for your family’s loss. Gail and I became next door neighbors and friends in Rockford Illinois in 1989. Our daughter, Michelle and Wayne and Rita’s daughter Beth became close friends. Our families enjoyed many neighborhood moments together. Backyard parties, block parties in our cul-de-sac and just everyday conversations. Rita was incredibly special, her laugh, her smile and her calm, serene approach to life. Michelle, Gail and I are so sorry to hear of her illness and passing. Our prayers are with you as you find strength, comfort, and healing. Peace and love to your entire family.
  • Mike and Judi Prunicki I met Rita at Mich Reese Hosp--and was a resident with Wayne. We were at their wedding and met up with them occasionally. Rita was the nicest person, with compassion for everyone--always a pleasure to see her. Our prayers are with you and your family.
  • Karen Rensa My deepest sympathy to Rita's family. I had the pleasure of working with Rita at St. Patrick Catholic School. She was one of the most gracious women I have ever known. Her professionalism was always evident: respectful, supportive, and cooperative. I will hold Rita and her family in my prayers.
  • Stephanie Marsala I am very sad to hear of Rita's passing. I had the pleasure of being her classmate at National-Louis University and one of her fellow school psychologist at Cicero 99. When we saw each other at the start of every school year I'd remark that I was surprised she was back (since Cicero was such a far drive) and she'd jokingly say that it was my fault she was there to begin with (because I told her to work at the district). She was such a kind person with an understated sense of humor. She was the utmost professional and worked very hard to make sure things were done correctly. I will always cherish the memories I have of her. My deepest condolences to Rita's family and friends.
  • Melissa Zbinden My deepest condolences. Rita is an amazing colleague and friend I will dearly miss. She has been and will always be an inspiration.
  • Janette OBrien Dr Polek, My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. You are thought of often in Labor & Delivery at Delnor. You will be in my prayers.
  • Elizabeth Elliott Our sympathies go out to Wayne and family. Rita welcomed me into her family and made life easier during the years of visitation with Scott. She was a loving women and will be greatly missed
  • Beth Richard Dr. Polek I am sorry for the loss of your wife Rita. I pray that family and friends gather around you and celebrate her life with amazing memories. When you were here with your Delnor family I always enjoyed chatting with you about your children and new grandchildren. I traded girl scout stories with you and loved hearing all about Rita's. I know you are deeply connected with your children and grandchildren who will love and support you always. Blessing Beth RN L&D
  • Tracey Etheridge Dr Polek, Im so sorry to hear of your loss. We, at Delnor Labor and Delivery, are thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. God Bless, Tracey RN
  • Josie Nash and John Coffey We have been blessed to have had Rita as part of our extended family when her beautiful daughter Beth married our son Cory. We didn't know her for years and years but in the brief time that she was a part of our life we were able to experience her kindness and compassion in every interaction we had. The love of her family shined through her eyes and her sweet smile. She is an amazing women who touched so many lives. She will be greatly missed and forever remembered.
  • Michael Mazzacano Rita was a lovely person, who will be deeply missed. You and your family are in my thoughts as you grieve this loss.
  • Etta Avila My deepest sympathies to Rita’s family. I had the great pleasure of working with Rita in Cicero. She was always kind and a joy to be around. Her love of her profession and the families she worked with was always evident. She will be missed by all who knew her.
  • Jill DeGrado I am so sorry to hear this very sad news. My condolences to Rita's entire family and friends. I worked with Rita at Columbus West school in Cicero. She was a wonderful person and I will keep her in my memories 💖
  • Megan O'Malley My thoughts and prayers go out to your family. You were a large help to me during my first year of teaching in Cicero. Something I never forget. You will be greatly missed.
  • Tracy Mack I will miss you Rita! You were a wonderful colleague and connection for me in Cicero. I am so very glad we got together for a lovely lunch before the pandemic hit. Thank you. My prayers are with your family. I will remember you now every time I eat M&Ms!
  • Ginelly Perez I had the pleasure of working with Rita briefly one summer. She was a very kind person. I am so sorry for your loss.
  • Frances Petkiewicz My sympathies go out to her family and friends.
  • Amber Heffner I am Rita’s former coworker at d99. So sad to hear of her passing. She was an amazing person.