Mary Ellen Kadlec



August 4, 1923 - January 5, 2018


Mary Ellen Kadlec, age 94, of Washington, Iowa, died Friday, January 5, 2018, at the United Presbyterian Home in Washington following a lengthy illness.


Celebration of life services were held at 2:00 p.m. Monday, January 8, 2018, in the Main Dining Room of the United Presbyterian Home with Fr. Bernie Weir officiating. Interment will take place at the All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Ill., at a later date. Memorials have been established for the Memorial Garden at the United Presbyterian Home. Online condolences may be sent for Mary's family through the web at


Mary was born August 4, 1923, in Ballina, Ireland, the daughter of John Kelly and Catherine Irwin. She spent her early childhood in Ireland before sailing to the United States. She arrived in New York City on May 28, 1935, at age 12. She graduated from High School in Chicago and attended Business College in the Chicago area. Mary was united in marriage to Gale Elmer Howard in November of 1946. He preceded her in death in 1969. Mary was later married to Robert Kadlec in 1975.


Mary worked as a nanny while in high school. She later worked at a Fur Company in Chicago and owned and operated Kelley Hats and Millenary in Des Plaines, Ill. She was the first woman to own and operate her own business in Des Plaines, Ill. Mary later worked as a secretary for Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook, Ill., until her retirement. She was a member of St. James Catholic Church in Washington, and was associated with Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Ill.


She is survived by her son, Daniel Howard and wife Stephanie of Mundelein, Ill.; son, James Howard and wife Cheryl of Mundelein, Ill.; daughter, Kathy Cuddeback and husband Larry of Brighton, Iowa; eight grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.


Mary was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Gale Howard in 1969; and husband, Robert Kadlec in 1990.

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